Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Lookfantastic launches its Indian site--but wait, is that really good news?

Being a skin sleuth, I'm always on the lookout for great value in skincare/makeup, especially when I'm stalking browsing online shopping destinations for beauty products. A discovery I made yesterday was the Indian site of lookfantastic.com, a UK-based shopping site for hair and beauty products.

Now, you'd imagine me squealing in delight when I chanced upon the Indian counterpart of the popular website. My initial thought was that finally, we Indians can now access some of the most coveted beauty brands like Alpha H, Aromatherapy Associates, Eve Lom, Elemis, Omorovicza and others right here in India. No more stalking the international site.

The Indian website also says this proudly, "Bringing Lookfantastic to India'. Surely, this must be a godsend to us.

Sadly, not all things that appear promising in the beginning turn out so. And here's where I got down to some serious sleuthing. A comparison between the two sites. Warning: nerdiness ahead!

Lookfantastic UK
Lookfantastic India
Free worldwide delivery if you make a purchase over GBP 50, which thanks to Brexit is now INR 4518.

Free worldwide delivery if you make a purchase over INR 6,000. So, wouldn’t it make more sense to purchase from the international site? Just saying…

If you are spending less than GBP 50, the tracked cost for India is GBP 9.99, translating to INR 902.

If you are spending less than INR 6,000, the tracked cost is INR 1,000. So, there’s no clear advantage over the international site.
Prices are listed as prescribed by the brands
Same here, except that in some of the large-format Indian departmental stores like Lifestyle, Shoppers Stop etc., you’d find the same products for a lesser price! For instance, the Elizabeth Arden Eight-Hour Skin Protectant is priced on this website for INR 2,592 whereas the last time I checked in Sephora, Mumbai, it was priced at INR 1,800 or thereabouts. How is that even possible?!

Delivery times are listed as per UK delivery timelines

Same here, which baffles me because international delivery to India takes much longer, and longer still if the order gets stuck in customs. However, the wording on the Indian site regarding shipping/delivery is identical to the international site.

Which brings me to the false impression one gets that when you are shopping from the Indian site, you are getting the product from within India, hence, in a quicker timeframe. Not true! Your order will still be delivered to you from the UK, which beats the purpose of the Indian site.

Reviews—the all-important factor, next to price, that makes a buyer click ‘Add to Cart’. The reviews are left by international buyers, naturally as it is an international site.
Same here, which is logical to an extent, except that when buyers comment on shipping/delivery times, they are talking about their own countries.  
Indian buyers need to take this into account when reading the reviews that are automatically replicated from the international site onto the Indian site.

You get almost any brand that you can think of here, especially convenient when you are looking for specific products that are not yet released in India. For instance, the Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Oil, which I have had my eyes on for a very long time.

You don’t see all of the brands listed on the international site here. I was so hoping to see the Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Oil on the Indian site.

You can buy fragrances from the UK site. I had my eyes on the much-talked about Chloe.
No mention of fragrances here

The only good part about this whole branching out initiative is that your orders, be it on the international site or the Indian one, are synchronised so you can have a uniform record of everything that you do. If anyone can give me a valid reason as to why I should buy from Lookfantastic India, as opposed to Lookfantastic International, I'm all ears! For now, I'll stick to the international site, thank you!

Thanks for making it this far.

Have a lovely day!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Do you really need sunscreen on a cloudy day?

Image: monsoonsalon.com

Ah, the relief that monsoon brings—cool rainy days to beat the harsh summer heat, especially in a hot, humid city like Mumbai. While I know that friends in UK, US and other places are enjoying their summer and clear skies, for a change, we Mumbaikars are rejoicing the refreshing monsoon.

A change in the season usually indicates a change in skincare too. So, while I’m ditching the cooling ingredients that were my go-to in the summer, talked about in detail here, I’m more careful than ever about continuing using sunscreen.

Many people, including my beloved husband, believe that ‘no sun = no sunscreen’. Not true! Just because you cannot see the sun does not mean its rays don’t reach you.

UVB rays (which cause burning/tanning) and UVA rays (which cause ageing) are nasty things that must be avoided, not because you care about vanity but to prevent skin cancer.

On cloudy/rainy days, you may not get burned by the UVB rays as the clouds block them, UVA rays still manage to get through the cloud cover and cause skin damage. Experts even say that if the UVA rays bounce off the edge of certain clouds, their intensity increases. Furthermore, if the cloud cover is thin, they may not be able to block even the UVB rays.

Bottom line is ‘don’t forget your sunscreen’.

Enjoy your monsoon!