Hope everyone’s having a stupendous week so far! I just got back from a 5-day break in Hong Kong (thus the lack of updates here). Will blog about my trip sometime next week after I’ve repaid my sleep debt. Meanwhile, allow me to share something that almost every Singaporean, who had read my MAC lipstick reviews, had asked me about.
“How do you buy lipsticks from MACCosmetics.com?”
M.A.C is known to be one of the best mid-end cosmetics brand in the world, offering a wide selection of high-quality cosmetics at very affordable prices. Their lipsticks, for example, range between US$16 (S$22) for permanent collections and some celebrity-endorsed ones, and US$30 (S$40) typically for collaborations with renowned designers on their website. Other brands sell for more than triple the price when their quality may not necessarily be as good as M.A.C’s. But of course, products sold on the main M.A.C website are only available to shoppers living in the Americas (you lucky people!). And to top it off, their orders get to be shipped for free.
Sadly for the rest of us living outside the U.S., we have to rely on imported products which prices are usually inflated. A US$16 M.A.C. lipstick can cost as much as S$30 here in Singapore. That’s $8 more than what I’d pay on maccosmetics.com. Very pricey, don’t you think? And it gets worse for products that are in high demand.
Hence, people started organising sprees to online shops that do not offer international shipping. But no one would be so foolish to help without expecting anything in return, There must be something in it for them. Thus, some started charging exorbitant exchange rates on top of an unreasonable handling fee per item. It’s so ridiculous, you might just end up paying a few dollars less than you would in the retail store. Plus, I don’t think it’s worth the wait (as spree organisers have to compile orders and setup a meetup event for all the buyers).
So after much contemplation, I figured that I’m better off buying the items online on my own. And I’ve been doing that ever since making my first U.S. purchase (it was my M.A.C x Lorde lipstick actually, not too long ago) through a freight forwarder.
A spree participant and still not convinced to make the switch? Here are some more reasons:
- Cheaper in general
- You get to confirm your orders immediately
- You get to track your own orders
- Shorter waiting time for your parcel to reach you
- The more you buy in one shipment, the lesser you pay for shipping (chargeable to forwarder)
- The exchange rate is fixed by the bank
Not sure on how to go about ordering from maccosmetics.com? Simply follow these steps and you’ll be fine! 🙂
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1. Create an account with your desired freight forwarder.
Here are some freight forwarders that ship to Singapore:
- ComGateway (U.S. orders only) – For this tutorial, I will be using CGW’s service.
- vPOST (U.S., China, Japan and Europe orders)
- Borderlinx (U.S. and U.K. orders)
- 65Daigou (U.S., Taiwan and China orders)
Do ensure that you’ve fill the form out correctly.
After registration, you should be given your own U.S. address.
2. Create an account with M.A.C.
On the left menu bar, click “My M.A.C” and another panel would appear beside it. Click “Register“.
For more details on how to fill out the registration form, please refer to images 2d and 2e.
Alternatively, you can register after checking out your shopping cart like what I’ve done below:
M.A.C. accepts international credit cards. For the page reflected on image 2d, key in your own credit card information. Check the first box if you wish to make this credit card your default payment option, or the second if you want to save the details in your account. (I actually checked both)
Before you click “Save Changes”, you may want to add your address first. Refer to image 1 for the address.
Make the address your shipping address as well. Otherwise, the order will not go through (as it’s not a U.S. address)
Likewise, if you’re paying via PayPal, do ensure that the reflected billing address is your U.S. address. Failure to do so would lead to an error message.
Once you’re done, you would be back on your Billing Information window. Click “Save Changes“.
3. Submit final order
You are now directed back to your checkout page. Verify your billing and shipping addresses (they should be the same), your payment method and your shipping method (mine was overnight shipping because I applied a discount code. Otherwise, it should be standard).
You should also receive an order confirmation via e-mail. M.A.C. will provide you your DHL tracking number (hyperlinked to the DHL tracking page) once your order has been shipped. This could take 2-3 days for Standard Shipping (the free option), and about a week for the parcel to arrive at your U.S. address. The tracking page is pretty accurate. No delays for me so far.
4. Parcel arrives at your U.S. address
If, upon viewing the merchant invoice, you found out that your orders are separated into two parcels (happens if you order a lot of stuff and they can’t possibly fit into one box), you can wait for the other parcel to arrive at your U.S. address. You’re entitled to store your parcels with CGW for free for 30 days (60 days for Prime Members).
5. Shipping to Singapore
Once all your parcels have arrived (you will also be notified via e-mail), you may proceed to ship them to you.
You have the option to collect it from Cheers/FairPrice Xpress if you know that you won’t be home during time of delivery (usually between 12-3pm for me but you can call and arrange for a re-delivery if you’re not around to receive it). Delivery is also done over the weekends. Quite amazing!
The above shows how much I had to pay to ship 2 parcels containing 8 lipsticks in total from M.A.C, in US dollars. Yup, CGW charges in USD. Please do the conversion yourself! 🙂
Again, this doesn’t just work for M.A.C. If you know of any U.S. online shops that accept international credit card, this method will still apply.
NOTE: If your purchases exceed S$400, you are liable to pay 7% GST
The cost of shipping generally differs according to the weight of your parcels, which would be measured by the freight forwarder when your parcel reaches your U.S. address. Hence, you will not be able to know how much your package weighs until then. The freight forwarder, however, may indicate on their website how much it charges for the first and subsequent 0.5kg.
If you feel that you’re being overcharged, chances are your merchant had used a very big box to contain your stuff (thus the weight). You may request for a repack (except vPOST as they don’t offer this service) if it’s available. This service is chargeable though.
I hope this is useful for you ladies! Feel free to drop me a comment if you have any other enquiries. I’m not an expert myself but I’ll try my best to help!
If time permits, I may also do one on Taobao.
Thanks for reading 🙂