Jessica DeLuca, cofounder and chief executive officer, said her site was born out of the disappointment she felt about the half-used products accumulating in her bathroom.

“They just didn’t live up to what they said they were going to do,” she recalled, adding that she didn’t feel she had access to the kind of information that she needed to make informed decisions.

This story first appeared in the July 17, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“I saw Jennifer Aniston on the red carpet looking fantastic and, obviously we’re not genetically blessed like Jennifer Aniston, but this girl had some really, really good information that she was getting, [people] who were advising and informing her purchases and her beauty regime. I wanted to get to that level of advice,” she said.

She wanted the site to be information-driven, with a panel of more than 50 experts who help stars such as Aniston get ready for the red carpet — one of the few places where stars and makeup artists can’t rely on Photoshop.

Cult Beauty sells between 120 and 130 brands, and companies that sell on the site agree to let DeLuca and her team make a curated edit of their offerings, right down to specific shades.

She listed privacy — and the chance to make a decision in your own time — as one of the biggest advantages of shopping for beauty online.

“I think traditional beauty in retail can be high pressured and online is an opportunity to have as much or as little information as you want. You can read more on blogs or you can be on mobile and choose to ‘buy now and send it to me every month for the rest of my life.’”

On the other hand, she added that one of the biggest disadvantages is that “obviously you can’t smell the perfume.” She says that it’s important not to try and make the online shopping experience something that it’s not.

“It’s not an in-store experience or a makeover, but we find that our get-the-look content is some of the highest converting content because it’s educational, it’s accessible, and we can demonstrate how to do something.”

DeLuca is adamant that her experts remain as objective as possible. “We don’t allow any of our experts to recommend any products that they are financially tied to, to make sure that every recommendation is completely independent. One of our experts said the most brilliant thing. He said: ‘It’s not about the sponsorships I get paid for. It’s about what’s in my kit bag.’”

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