For me this is an easy one, I love shopping for beauty products online. It means I am able to make more considered purchases and there is no pressurised selling. I can add items to my virtual basket and come back to them days or even weeks later (I frequently create wish list baskets when trying to avoid revision/essay writing).
The downside is that the colours of products shown on many websites are really inaccurate. However, that is where beauty blogs come in. Since I discovered them I am far more adventurous in what I will buy online. I love reading about how others have found the products and seeing different photos and this all adds to the overall online shopping experience.
I would never have spent £35 on a lipstick had I not seen how beautiful the Tom Ford shades looked on Grace London or searched endlessly for Estee Lauder's Surreal Violet Nail Lacquer if I hadn't spied the swatches on Lipglossiping. Beauty blogs have really opened my eyes to so many more brands that I can now look for online. I don't feel I am missing out so much by not living near a Selfridges!
I must stress that I do live out in the sticks in Kent and my nearest department store is about 40 minutes away and that has a very restricted range of brands on offer. My nearest Space NK is Bluewater (well over an hour away) and I haven't been there for over 4 years. If I lived or worked in a city where I had beauty departments at my fingertips I might be more inclined to spend my money in store and get the expertise of staff, but for now, I keep the postman busy with my online orders.
Which do you prefer? Do you love chatting to counter staff or do they have you running for the hills? Will you only buy a product if you have seen it in person? What online retailers do you find the best for beauty purchases?