Beauty Sleuth is a website I came across a few weeks ago while searching for a face cream in yet another attempt to waste some of my student budget on products that I dont really need but simply have to have. While trying to find the cheapest price I used the Pricerunner site to see where the cream could be bought for the cheapest price and Beauty Sleuth was the cheapest option. Previous to this search Id never actually heard of the site but since making a purchase I feel its a site Ill keep going back to again and again. The Company Beauty Sleuth is a purely online shopping site and does not have any actual high street outlets, similar to a growing number of sites on the internet. The company itself was set up in 2004 by Fiona Miller and since it first started operating its customer base has simply grown and grown. The company apparently ships products to tens of thousands of UK residents every month since 2006. As suggested by the name of the company the range of products offered on the site are located within the beauty field/ The products they stock tend to be quite high quality and this is represented in the prices advertised on the site. The Site The homepage itself is fairly typical of any beauty site homepage with a menu bar running across the top of the page for easy navigation, a selection of options that are regularly updated falls down the left hand side of the page while the remaining sections are taken up with advertising brands and products the site sells. There are also links to other areas of the site including the Beauty Counter for each access. The background of the site is white which makes it quite pleasant to look at and unlike some sites there isnt too much of an information overload which again makes it quite visually pleasing. The main menu which runs across the top of the page is the easiest way to navigate around the site and will take you to all the main pages. The first option Home will quite simply return you to the home page. The following options include Hair, Make Up, Skin, Bath and Home, Smile, Men and Brand List. The first six options will each transport you to that particular selection of products while the final option will show you a list of all the brands sold on the site in case youre looking for a particular one. Each option has its own mini homepage as such which lists the categories of products to aid searching, for example hair products are split into shampoo and conditioner, styling and finishing and lastly hair tools. By clicking on any of these youll be taken to a new page showing products belonging to that category. As well as offering products you can buy each mini page also has a variety of articles on issues and products relevant to that category, for example on the hair page there is links to articles such as Most Wanted: Curls and Style with Staying Power. These articles are often quite explanatory from their titles alone and simply offer you tips and products suited to the title of the article. Each page also devotes the bottom half to show casing six featured products which are basically six either new or top selling products to try and tempt you to look further! Below the main menu on the left hand side of the page is a search box so if you know the particular product youre looking for you can access it easily. Below this is the brand selector box which is basically a drop down list of all the brands stocked on the site, similar to the Brand List above. Below this is a list of five Whats New options which will each take you to a new page which outlines a new area / brand / product on the site. The current selection includes Defy Your Skins Age which is an article outlining the best skin care regime to keep your skin looking young and it also offers links to some recommended products. Theres also a Cute Crops article which in linked with the current fashion trend of sporting a Victoria Beckham style bob, this page basically offers you some tips and again recommends some products suited for short hair. Below the Whats New option is the help section which will be discussed below in more detail. Brands As already mentioned the brands that are stocked on the site are at the higher end of the market and arent those youd typically find in a Boots and Superdrug store. This is of course reflected in the price where the average shampoo seems to cost anything from £7.00 right up to around £16.00. Just to try and tempt you to use the site heres a brief run down of the brands stocked: - Hair Bumble and Bumble, Kerastase, Paul Mitchell, Redken and Tigi. Make Up Eyeko, Fake Bake, ID Bare Minerals and Tigi. Skin Dermalogica, Korres, Murad and St Tropez. Bath & Home Arran Aromatics, Badger Balm and Burts Bees. Smile Carmex, Crazy Rumors and Janina. Men American Crew, Fudge and Sebastian. Most of the categories are fairly self explanatory as what youd find under them, the only one I would like to mention is the Smile category which not only contains lip treatments but also at home tooth whitening products as well. All in all the brand range is quite extensive and certainly from the top end of the range. Shopping Shopping on the site is a relatively easy experience; you can either search for a particular product using the search box or simply choose to browse the various categories. By clicking on hair and then shampoo and conditioners for instance youll be presented with a range of products on a new page. Each product is shown by a picture, the product name, a one line description, a price and a link to click on for more information. Each page shows 10 products in a list feature and by clicking on any individual product youll be taken to a new page which offers a larger picture, a more in depth description as well as additional features such as guidelines for usage, ingredients, etc. These little touches seem to make this site a bit different to other beauty sites at present, not many sites seem to offer directions on how to use the product or quite as in depth description as this site does. Once youve found the product you want you simply click on Add to Basket which can always be accessed by a small icon in the top right hand corner of every page of the site. Once youre happy with your products you can choose to Checkout where youll be required to either register or log into your account. The registration process is fairly straightforward, you need to enter your basic details such as name, address, etc. and youll also be asked for payment details. The site accepts all the usual cards including Mastercard, Solo, Switch and Visa as well as being part of the Veri Sign Secured group of sites which offers additional protection. The registration process takes about 5-10 minutes in total depending on your typing speed but once youve completed it you can simply log in using your email address and password on future visits to the site. Postage costs are a minimum of £3.50 regardless of how much you spend on the site. This is quite a high price in my opinion if you only want to buy one product, and if you do decide to buy additional products they are charged at 50p per item. As such before you purchase any item you need to remember that the price will always be 50p than what is stated on the site and this, I feel, is the main negative of the site really. Help Theres a small help section on the homepage which contains information regarding delivery as well as links to the customer services whereby you are given the option to either email or phone them with any problems you may have. Lastly theres also the option to send them your feedback on the site and the service they provide. The only other thing Id like to mention here is the option to Ask our Experts whereby you can email a question to the site and they offer the service of asking a specialist in that field. Ive never actually taken advantage of this feature so I cant comment on its reliability but its worth a try if you do have any burning questions! My Opinion I discovered this site a couple of weeks ago and have since made one purchase from the company (a shampoo and a face cream in case anyone is interested)! The whole transaction was easy and fuss free with the products arriving in perfect condition three days later. The products seem to be priced quite reasonably, a price comparison with my local hair salon showed that several of the Tigi hair products are actually cheaper on the site - even with the postage costs. Therefore Id have no problem in recommending this site to anyone looking for such products and the only negative Id put forward is the rather severe postage costs. Happy shopping! Thanks for reading.