Buying cosmetics online in Switzerland, easy and effective

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Most of us are used to buying skincare and make-up products in-person. You can talk to a salesperson, and maybe try a tester on site. In COVID times, many sales moved online — with quarantine in place and many shops closed, ordering online is often the only option.

Another reason to shop online is pricing. Someone must pay for all these colourful shopfronts and sales staff wages, and that would be you and me, the customers. Often, you can get exactly the same product online 30-40% cheaper and have it shipped to your doorstep, saving time on store visits.

Finally, no physical shop can stock all the variety online dealers can have in their warehouses. More often than not you are greeted by the same stands from the same brands, and then a 100 square meters of fragrances in each and every shop.

Schweiz Online Beauty Shopping Packungen

But there are drawbacks too. Unless you know exactly what you want, you can get overwhelmed by long online listings with literally thousands of products. And there are so many online shops now, maybe too many. Which will ship the fastest? Which has the best deals? And if you are outside of the EU, e.g. like me in Switzerland, you would also want to know which orders will go through the customs adding extra taxes and fees to pay.

In this article I’ll share my personal experiences with several online stores I made orders within the last few months for personal shopping. I hope my notes would be helpful and you would open new shopping opportunities for yourself.

I am also adding some links to stores and products below. If you’d like to support us, consider buying products using these links, we’ll get a small commission for each purchase. Still, I always recommend stores that I had the best experience with, regardless of their affiliate programs.

Douglas

Douglas Packung

I put Douglas first here, as this is my first stop for beauty online shopping. With prices already very attractive, they have regular deals, sales, and free product offers.

I made over 10 orders with them, the shipping was free every time (you need to spend just 29 CHF), and the products usually arrived within a week. They have 3 different but very similar websites for DACH: douglas.ch, douglas.de and doulas.at with varying offers and pricing. For me, I always use the CH site, where I pay in CHF and incur no extra charges.

Speaking of charges, they dispatch products from Germany but take care of the customs and any taxes and fees, thus adding nothing on top of the price you see at the checkout. None of my orders (small and large up to ~300 CHF) I had to pay any additional taxes for.

Hint: while Douglas doesn’t provide you a tracking number, you will receive an email from Swiss Post once they have the package. It helps to know what day the package arrives as it’s usually just left it in the milkbox. Make sure you have an account with die Post!

So why look at any other shops you may ask? The one reason for me is, while the number of products at Douglas is impressive, they stock mostly mainstream and popular brands. If you happen to look for something rarer, or new to the European market, chances are you would need to search somewhere else. But at least The Ordinary is always in stock 😉

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Shipping:free from 29 CHF (CH) / 25 EUR (DE) / All orders (AT)
Taxes and fees:handled by the sender
Delivery time:~1 week
Assortment:wide range, mainstream

Galaxus

Galaxus Packung

If you live in Switzerland, you don’t need to read another word about this shop. They sell everything from paper clips to Mercedes-Benz cars, and if there is anything they don’t, their partners do.

When it comes to the cosmetics, I am not impressed with the assortment though. While I order dog food and diapers over and over again here, skincare products I want are just not on the list. You can always get Johnson’s Baby and Kérastase quickly but for a price. It’s great if you need something they stock delivered tomorrow and you are willing to pay extra for it.

Shipping:free from 50 CHF, 9 CHF surcharge for smaller orders
Taxes and fees:n/a (in CH)
Delivery time:from next day, depends on the seller
Assortment:limited to the most popular brands

Lookfantastic

Lookfantastic Packung

My second go-to online shop, when something is not available on Douglas. They are based in the UK and stock a wide range of brands overlooked in Germany, and I am talking products like The Inkey List or Kate Somerville, or First Aid Beauty skincare.

So far my experience varied. The very first order I made got delayed for weeks, to the extent I forgot about it — something was out of stock blocking the whole order. But the next two shipments came timely for an abroad shop (~3 weeks). They even issued me a 10 GBP coupon for the delay, so no hard feelings.

Speaking of delivery, they are shipping from the UK and that means they have two customs lines to cross now, I believe Netherlands and Switzerland. This adds not only to the time but also to the customs fees. Thus, I stick to orders under CHF 65 with them (including shipping!) to avoid processing fees.

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Shipping:6 CHF (free from 60 CHF)
Taxes and fees:Swiss taxes and processing fees for orders over 65 CHF
Delivery time:~3 weeks
Assortment:wide range, some uncommon brands

BeautyBay

Sorry, I’ve recycled the box already, and I only had one. I have a thing on my wishlist though…

They have a fancy website, they call their orders “hauls”, and they offer you to collect “tribe points” on your orders. It’s the first reseller I go to when I can’t find what I am looking for at my usual places. Often, they have better prices than elsewhere but they ship from abroad, that means I have to stick to orders under 65 CHF again.

I have to say I only made one order with them so far — for the reason above, and for the fact it took multiple weeks to receive the order. The shipment was not tracked so I had no idea where it was.

Anyway, this may be my shop of choice the next time I need something from Aesop or Origins not in stock elsewhere.

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Shipping:ab 3.95 CHF
Taxes and fees:Swiss taxes and processing fees for orders over 65 CHF
Delivery time:~3 weeks
Assortment:some common and some rarer brands

Clomes

Clomes Packung

Clomes doesn’t immediately come to mind when looking for a skincare product. They focus on fashion and style, and have just a short section for beauty. That’s why I was surprised when I found exactly what I was looking for from Herbivore there!

The first experience was very pleasant, the box came very fast, it was well-packed and included a hand-written thank you card. The shipping was also free and originated from Switzerland so one thing less to worry about. I just wish they extended their product range.

Shipping:free
Taxes and fees:n/a (in Switzerland)
Delivery time:~3 days
Assortment:some common and some rarer brands

Breuninger

Breuninger Packung

Breuninger is an old (since 1881) German store chain that’s recently become available online in Switzerland. They are mostly into fashion but they have a beauty section too and I was very happy to find some Paula’s Choice products there!

My order came in timely (~4 days), with tracking, and originating from Switzerland. What I also liked, there was a pre-printed sticker for a free return in the box — I can’t remember returning cosmetics was that easy before (not that I needed it, but still).

I have to say the service comes with the price, and the prices are not the lowest here. But hey, it’s still much cheaper than flying to the US for that toner bottle!

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Shipping:free
Taxes and fees:n/a (in Switzerland)
Delivery time:~4 days
Assortment:some common and some rarer brands

Manor

Manor Packung

In my mind Manor is a classic and somewhat outdated establishment. A shop you drop by to quickly get a shower oil or some Clinique product as you visit a mall for your weekly grocery shopping.

Imagine, they are the only online shop that sells Youth to the People in Switzerland today? And while you are there, you can also grab that Cerave Moisturizer and browse through the Sephora assortment you’re missing since the flights to the USA are no longer a thing?

I tried to order that YTTP cleanser online but was shocked the second time—shipping was 9.90 CHF. Well, luckily they have a “click-and-collect” option and I could pick my order up for free from a physical shop in two days (ironic for an article about online shopping, isn’t it?). All in all, for some brands there is just no alternative and I am happy to pay a little extra to be able to obtain those products.

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Shipping:9.90 CHF (free on orders over 100 CHF)
Taxes and fees:n/a (in Switzerland)
Delivery time:~3 days (click and collect)
Assortment:mostly common range with some gems

Marionnaud

Marionnaud Packung

Hands down the most expensive online shop I used. For this reason I only made an order once, and when I had a discount voucher. One brand you may want to turn to Marionnaud for is Kiehls, they have an impressive stock and somehow it’s hard to find elsewhere in CH (update, it just arrived on Lookfantastic).

They added a very nice M mammoth to the order though. This was quite thoughtful—a toy and a packing amortisation filler at the same time.

Shipping:6.30 CHF up to orders of CHF 120
Taxes and fees:n/a (in CH)
Delivery time:3-5 days
Assortment:mostly luxury brands

Brand-owned online shops

I seldom order directly from the producers. Mostly those are abroad and don’t have much experience sending orders to Switzerland. Those are the few I’ve tried myself.

Deciem

I got really desperate for some Niod and it was out of stock everywhere. So I went to deceim.com and found that they ship worldwide. I will not do this again, not only it took multiple weeks to arrive (from the UK), but I also had to pay CHF 26.30 of custom charges for the shipment worth 69 EUR.

L’Occitane

Not sure if this counts as an order or not. I ran out of my favourite Almond shower oil and tried to buy it directly from L’Occitane. After spending ~10 minutes trying to place an order I gave up, my address would not be accepted, then some other error occurred. No one got time for this.

Still, if you want to give it a try, support us and shop online with this link*.

Afterword

This list is obviously incomplete. There are literally hundreds of sellers and resellers online and I listed here only ones I tried myself. One notable brand missing here is Amazon—for the reason they don’t operate in Switzerland and I don’t have the first hand experience. Doing a quick search I was quite surprised by the high prices on their beauty offers so I would stick to more specialised online shops anyway.

Deals, goodies, discounts, vouchers

We now have a dedicated page where we collect the best beauty offers from our partners. Check out the deals page for discounts, goodies, and special actions in Switzerland, as well as in Germany and Austria (updated daily).


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