Aside from trusty Amazon, I have only ever tried online shopping from the US once before. It was a godawful event that was enough to put me off ordering from the US for a looong time. Even ordering goods through Sephora is tricky as the stores have cracked down on shipping to freight forwarders. When a brand I’ve always wanted to try, Tarte, announced on their website that they would finally start shipping internationally, I couldn’t wait to start hauling. And then I saw the magic massage:
YAAAAAAS! The thing is, I’ve wanted to get Tarte for two years already, so I’ve been doing my research. The closest country to the Philippines that sells Tarte legally is Sephora Singapore. It’s been a huge bummer that Luxola didn’t carry Tarte, and now Sephora Philippines still doesn’t carry the brand (yet). Unless I ask Singapore vacationing friends to do me a solid, the easiest way to get my hands on Tarte products is by purchasing them myself from the site. So I contacted a couple of friends who also wanted to try the brand, and we pooled our orders together.
Here’s what you should know:
- The top part of the site announces free shipping on orders PHP 5,500 (+/-) and above. This rate fluctuates from time to time, depending on the exchange rate of that day. However, the published prices in PHP of the individual products are constant.
- Said free shipping pertains to duty and taxes unpaid for the package’s final destination. If you read the terms and conditions for international shipping, the site indicates that the package is subject to local clearance procedures. It’s unclear whether or not the package will be intercepted by the post office/customs. I wasn’t willing to take the risk, so we decided to just split the international shipping fee according the the percentage of total bill our orders took up.
- Not all items sold in the US site are also on the Philippine site, sadly. The holiday sets from 2015 that were on sale at the US site were not available locally.
When the time came to proceed to checkout, I did encounter some trouble with the site forms. It took me about five times to finally complete the order as the site has wonky fields. The first name field for the shipping details accepts more characters than in the billing field. I have two first names, so I eventually had to eliminate the second name to fit it all in. I feared that my credit card would get rejected due to the removal of the second name, but the sale went through. I encountered something similar with the address forms, but I was also able to figure it out in the end.
After completing the purchase, I got an e-mail from Tarte reviewing my order. After five days, I was e-mailed the tracking information via DHL. The ETA to my doorstep listed on DHL was initially five days from when the tracking started. Amazingly, the purchases arrived three days earlier than expected (Friday… or should I say Fri-yay)! It was super helpful that the package status was being constantly updated by DHL daily. From the time I made the order, it took 7 days to get to my doorstep. Not bad at all…
And now, here’s the haul post:
The package was contained in a simple cardboard box. I was surprised to learn that the only protection the contents had came in the form of three sheets of Tarte’s printed tissue paper. But in all fairness, everything came in perfect condition.
- For V: Amazonian Clay 12-hour Blush in Exposed, Rainforest After Dark Colored Clay Eye & Cheek Palette
- For Rae: Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Airbrush Foundation in Medium-Tan Sand
- For B: Lights, Camera, Lashes Double-ended Lash Fibers -in-& Mascara
- For me: Limited Edition Tartelette Tease Clay Palette, Tartelette 2 Tartlette in Bloom Eyeshadow Palette
I shouldn’t neglect to mention that Tarte is technically being sold in the Philippines, but through numerous online sellers. I did some canvassing before making the purchase, and I was able to weigh out the pros and cons between ordering from the US and pre-paying taxes vs. finding the cheapest online seller. With the friends and family sale discount and the share in shipping, the overall bill was slightly cheaper than if I had bought from an online seller (mark-up and all) + local shipping fees. This did not apply to all items as the Tartlette in Bloom palette was about the same price (or was it P100 cheaper from one of the local sellers). However, not all of Tarte’s offerings are being sold by the same seller, so the local shipping fees will also rack up if you had to get stuff from various vendors.
Verdict: Still waiting for Tarte Cosmetics Philippines! But for the meantime, it’s not a bad alternative to pool orders with friends when there’s a sale. I like the idea of getting stuff straight from the source for big discount offers.