Review: Sassy Minerals
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- Company name: Sassy Minerals
- Presence: online storefront only
- Products: eyeshadows, blush, face powders, foundation, brushes, lip colors
- High points: site is very easy to use; good product labelling; good value; responsive customer service
- Low points: a few perennially-empty product categories, which looks odd; stated discounts that don't always get applied
- Would I buy from them again: as of April 2011, yes
The Store / The Site
Clean layout, basic navigation categories, clear photos, consistent styling and sizing, breadcrumbs on every product page, a site search utility...usability-wise, this site is spot on. I like that the main body of the page is on a white background, because I find it easier to read and I feel like I can get a better sense of the colors. Product categories are subdivided according to finish, letting folks easily avoid mattes or sparklies if that's something they emphatically don't want. Individual product pages show a good product photo, have easy-to-read size and cost information, list ingredients, and have clearly labeled options to add to your cart, add to your wishlist, share the product link (currently confined to emailing someone else, not a FB or Twitter share link), or move to the previous or next product in the category. I like the running-tally cart (left column) and the list of most recently viewed items (right column) that display to anyone, whether you're logged in or not. It's another nice way to let site visitors see their activity at-a-glance. And they have one of the more entertaining Terms and Conditions that I've read on any web site.
Under the "things I wish were a little better" heading (because there's always a list of items one would improve): I do wish that the "empty" categories weren't shown on the site until they were due to be populated, though. Navigating to Tools, Accessories, or even the subcategory Lipsticks has shown "Coming Soon" for at nearly a year, and that's always a bit awkward. The site body is fixed-width and floats in the center of the page, so possibly the inclusion of the additional categories - even if they're largely empty - was done for design purposes as much as preplanning. Still...it's awkward, and not great usability practice. I also wish that the individual product pages had information on quantities for the samples and for fullsize items.
The Shopping Experience
Shopping at Sassy's online storefront has always gone fairly well. Their payment processor is Paypal, which I've had rare problems with on other sites. For whatever reason - the chance alignment of the planets, perhaps? - I've never experienced a Paypal glitch when shopping from Sassy. I've placed four orders over the past ten months, and haven't had so much as a hiccough when checking out.
If you buy any three fullsize items, you get a 15% discount on those items, which is quite nice. The difficulty there is that this discount isn't taken when you pay. It's refunded to your account when your order is processed. On two of my orders I had to contact their customer service and say "Uh...where's my discount?" On the one hand I don't love saying that, because these are decently priced. On the other hand, if there's a stated discount and I fulfill all the conditions to get said discount, I want my discount. Customer service has always been very responsive, through email. I just wish that I didn't feel like I had to watch my Sassy orders so closely to make sure that my discount is, indeed, applied properly. If you order at least three full-size products from the same category (eyeshadow, blush, et cetera), watch your Paypal account to make sure that you eventually do get your discount. If you have questions or don't see the discount/refund, just email customer service if your full-size items are shipped and you don't get the partial refund.
Turnaround time is three to five business days, on average. My earliest order with Sassy had a longer turnaround time (a week), but my later orders were definitely processed faster.
Shipping and Packaging
I honestly can't recall if I received a tracking number with my Sassy orders - and I appreciate the tracking number. My orders have all been sent First-Class Mail, though there is an option to pay extra and get it shipped via Priority Mail. Domestic orders over $50 and international orders over $75 ship free - though if you're an international customer and want package tracking, you must pay for Express Shipping.
My orders have all arrived in bubble envelopes, and the jars inside were in a plastic-mesh bag held closed with a ribbon. The individual jars are all shrinkwrap-sealed, and the full-size eyeshadows and blushes have a sifter. I initially thought that the blushes might have a click-lock sifter like Everyday Minerals' blushes, but - nope. They do indeed use a broader, flatter jar, but just a regular sifter. The upside to those jars, though, is that they're a lower profile (better for packing) and if you use a large fiber-optic to just pick up a lighter dusting, you have ample room on the sifter and in the jar lid to swirl your brush without feeling like you're just twirling it in place.
The eyeshadows are sometimes a little sheer, but I haven't bought any that outright disappear. On the whole, I'd put these on par with Aromaleigh v1's mid-range performers or Bare Escentuals' more pigmented glimpses/glimmers, in terms of color payoff. Full-size eyeshadows are precisely 1 gram of product. (My totally unscientific method of comparing full-size products: how many FS jars does it take to fill one of my 10-gram jars? With Sassy, it takes 3 or sometimes 4. Many of the other companies I purchase from require 2 or sometimes 3 FS products to fill a 10-gram jar to the rim. Sassy requires 3 to get up to the sifter line.) The colors cover the range of shades. My favorites thus far are Flash of Brilliance, Jolt, and Ruby Slippers.
I've only tried five of their blushes, but what I've tried I've liked. They don't really have too many uber-bright blushes, so you won't find anything like Bare Escentuals' Hot Shot or Aromaleigh v1's Wildflower. However, they do have warm, neutral, cool, light, dark... They also have their "Deja Vu" blushes and eyeshadows, which showcase their colors that are highly similar to big-name items. Their Carefree blush, for example, is almost an exact match for Bare Escentuals' Heaven blush (I actually have both, so was able to verify that.)
Their site is extremely easy to navigate, the prices are good, the order turnaround time is pretty quick, and customer service is responsive. I wish there was a better method for ensuring that people get their discounts when purchasing three or more full-size items. The products that I have tried - 5 blushes and 17 eyeshadows - range from "average" to "excellent", with most getting a 4/5. The prices are good, from the full-size items to the samples (75 cents). I will be buying from Sassy again, and recommend them to anyone.