For the past two weeks I’ve been on a bit of a mission: seek out the best of the US beauty buys. How did I prepare for my brief? Well a good dig around Sephora certainly helped; but I’ve been trialling and testing all purchases in my stash that hail from the other side of the pond collated from my last NY trip, a swap with the lovely Elle and my past US visits. It’s been a good two weeks. The conclusion of my findings cover a few points. Firstly, when the hell is a Sephora going to open in the UK? *climbs off soapbox, puts down mic* Secondly, the drugstore aisles house some absolute gems and are well worth a browse and finally if you’re heading to America anytime soon you may wish to start saving now. May I suggest a few items that are well worth adding to your shopping list? No worries, read on – I’ve even noted where they’re available and their price – I’ve got your back…

THE MAKEUP

Make Up For Ever Full Cover Extreme Camouflage Cream – $32 – from Sephora. Though you can get MUFE in the UK, it’s a little hard to find, but pop into any Sephora and you’ll find a well stocked counter. I’ve now tried a few bits from the brand, but this comes up trumps; a little-goes-a-long-way concealer that works equally well under the eyes or on top of blemishes. Think of it like Laura Mercier’s Secret Camouflage but in liquid form and emollient enough for those bags.

Tarte Amazonian Clay Long-Wear Blush in Tipsy – $26 – from Sephora. Easily one of my favourite blushes I own. A densely pigmented formula that brings a healthy bout of colour to the cheeks in one quick tap and pat whether I’m paler in the winter months or more tan in the summer – it’s a good all-rounder. The perfect blend of peach, pink, red and coral, that stays put all day long. Exposed and Blissful are worth a swatch too.

L’Oreal Infallible 24hr Eye Shadow in Amber Rush and Bronzed Taupe – $8.49 – from Walgreens. Some of the most gawjus drugstore eye offerings out there. Now in the UK we have a limited range of colours available but in the US they have them all and damn are we missing out. The two mentioned are definitely worth picking up. Both coat the lid with a long-lasting sheen that can be built up and smoked out with just the pad of your fingertip. Easy peasy.

Maybelline Full ‘N Soft Waterproof Mascara – $7.99 – from Walgreens. L’Oreal Telescopic Waterproof Mascara is my go-to for a full-on flutter, but when I fancy something a little more low-key on the lashline, this is what I go to. It’s nothing special formula or brush-wise; but it holds a curl and there’s no smudgey business. Plus, it’s VDM Mum approved – and that’s a rare occurrence.

Buxom Full-On Lip Cream in Creamsicle and White Russian – $19 – from Sephora. I’m not a huge gloss girl, but after hearing many the rave on these I lugged these back with me last year and I’m glad I did. A big dose of colour, with an even bigger dose of tingle I find these do have a little bit of plumping action and look rather fab when paired with a parred down base and lashings of mascara – Creamsicle, I’m looking at you.

Maybelline Colour Whisper in Pin Up Peach and Coral Ambition – $7.49 – from Walgreens. I know – yet another tinted balm offering from a drugstore brand, but hear me out. These are pretty awesome. With a punch more colour than you’re expecting and a petty sheen, I’ve been lobbing these in my bag and they’ve fast become a bit of a daily go-to. I’m sure they’ll find their way to UK shores soon, but for now it’s one to add to the list.

THE SKINCARE 

Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil and Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil Light – from $14 – from Sephora. FAVOURITE ALERT. I’d be tempted to say that if there’s one thing you need to pick up while on US soil – it’s one of these. I’ve been using the 100% Argan Oil for about a year, on everything from cuticles to hair to skin to feet, but the newly released ‘Light‘ version is equally dreamy. I use the Light formula in the morning before moisturiser and the original version in the evening for the same step. A full review is in the works.

Kate Somerville Goat Milk Cream – $55 – from Sephora. The Caroline Hirons favourite is now in my possession. And yes it’s good. It’s real good. It’s still early days, but this light-weight no-fuss AM/PM moisturiser has been ticking all the right boxes so far. Layered over the aforementioned Josie Maran oils things have been feeling nicely nourished complexion-wise.

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 55 – $11.99 – from Walgreens. Anything from the Neutrogena SPF range is worth a look-in. High quality, high SPF formulas for a bargain basement price. I’ve tried quite a few of their offerings and none have ever been too heavy or difficult to blend or leave a white-case behind. I’ll be slapping this on everything from shoulders to my chops. Oh and the slight sunscreamy scent reminds me of holiday. Ahhhh… 

THE BODY & HAIR BITS

Tarte Brazilliance Skin Rejuvenating Maracuja Face and Body Self Tanner – $37 – from Sephora. Well isn’t this lovely? A dark, caramel coloured lotion that when left on limbs to develop for a few hours leaves a sunkissed tinge behind. Nothing too crazy or dark, just natural and without too much of a whiff too. Plus it leaves things feeling nice and nourished – a repeat purchase of this will definitely be on the cards next time I visit.

Perfume Rollerballs – from $20 – from Sephora. When I ask my friends if there is anything they’d like from the US, a travel-size EDP is always top of their list. It is seriously madness why these aren’t more readily available in the UK; 10mls of your favourite scent bottled up in an easy-to-apply rollerball form. I currently have miniatures of Stella, Lady Million and Fresh’s Brown Sugar swimming around at the bottom of my handbag.

Oscar Blandi Texture and Volume Spray – $25 – from Sephora. Oscar Blandi haircare is gooood. Aside from the cult favourite Volumising Dry Shampoo (also worth of a place on this list), the Texture and Volume Spray is worth a sample spritz if you’re into the whole messy hair, second day style look. No crispness or dryness and delivered with a citrusy fresh scent.

THE MISCELLANEOUS CATEGORY

Allure Magazine – $3.99 – from everywhere. Ah common’. You knew this would be here! I always get a tad excited to spot this in-store because it works out a little cheaper than buying it in the UK and it means you have some beauty-stuffed pages to read on the journey home. Win, win.

The cute minis from around the Sephora checkouts – $Go Wild – Sephora. Easily the best bit about shopping in Sephora. The tills are lined with the cutest dinky beauty bits, value sets and mini try me’s that I tend to happily throw in my basket unaware of the impending ‘How much?’ moment when all my buys are summed together. Three things I picked up on my most recent trip: Josie Maran Bear Naked Nail Wipes, a mini Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturiser SPF 40 and the tiniest bottle of NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser I’ve ever seen.

Phew, it’s worth adding that I attempted to cut this list into a ‘Top 10′, but there were just too many damn good products. A final piece of advice – don’t fill up your suitcase to its full volume on the way there, you’ll need the space on the way back…

  • AgentSmyth

    Wow what a list, sounds like my dream! I’m dying to get my hands on that Kate Somerville cream, glad you like it. I’m yet to read a bad review about it actually! x

    Claire | AgentSmyth

  • Shrutilaya

    Nars Tinted Moisturizer will be mine the second I can get myself to a NARS counter.

  • hazel mae

    Why don’t we have Allure here?! :(

    Slightly Skint Blog

  • Ellen Findley

    The Buxom lip cream and the Josie Maran argan oil are two of my favorite products!

    Since I’m from the US, I always love hearing which products you and other lovely British beauty bloggers love. I’ve made a list of the things I want to get in the UK, and it’s kind of neat to know that you do the same for the US. uwu

  • A Stubbs

    Waaa how I wish this had been written up before I went to Vegas this summer! :( Would have loved this guidance!

  • http://www.chloewitty.com/ Chloe Witty

    well i am building up my wishlist right now. only 8 and a half months to go. never too early right?

  • http://Gracious-silhouettes.blogspot.co.uk/ Jade Waterfield

    THAT BLUSH! So nice. Would love to go back to the States for a beauty shopping trip.

    -Jade
    Gracious Silhouettes

  • Ketie Arber

    I guess Jossie Maran Color Stick didn’t make the cut…
    It’s so interesting how we all want what we don’t have! I live in San Francisco, California and I can just drool on some of the products that are available in the UK/ Europe… Some of the drugstore brands that you guys have are true gems! (Bourjois, sleek, MUA, etc.) and high end brands?! Woooh… Don’t get me started!
    A few months ago I “popped” to London for a brief weekend (literally only to shop beauty products) and lets be honest spent way too much money than I planed… But it was worth it! :)
    One upside to the US, I can get some of the products online that will ship to the US, but that will cost you…

  • Holly Cooke

    Sounds like you picked up some amazing bits, will definately be keeping my eye out when I got to America next summer! x

    holljc.blogspot.co.uk

  • Millie Robinson

    I picked up a Tarte blush when I was in the states too, I love it!! Love the other things you picked up :) ♥

    http://abeautyromancee.blogspot.co.uk/

    http://abeautyromancee.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Jeanette Thong

    I wish this list was out when I was at the states. :(

  • Julie

    My best friend flew over to the states for his holidays this morning. He’s got a hell of a wishlist from me.. Lovely post! I’m really looking forward to trying some of this :)
    Lots of love
    Julie

    http://www.dreamjulies.blogspot.de

  • Stef C

    Wow you picked up some great products! When I lived in Canada I was always in Sephora, we need to start a petition for them in the UK!

    Stef x

    Northern Dimples

  • PeonyandPeach

    Thanks for doing this post, it’s incredibly useful. I’ll definitely be referring back to this when I next go to the States, if only that was sometime soon, *sigh* Glad you didn’t narrow it down! Do they do the mini Nars Tinted Moisturisers in all the shades?

    http://www.peonyandpeach.blogspot.com

  • http://falafelwaffle.wordpress.com/ Niamh

    I can never understand why sephora are all over the rest of the world, and not in the UK and Ireland. Though it sounds like nothing beats the US ones.
    Lovely, helpful post :)

  • Emily Allen

    I was on that soap box with you haha, we should all just make a partition or something :p Most of your picks are what I already wish I could get my hands on, especially the buxom lip creams, tarte amazonian clay and of course the maybelline colour whispers :p xx Emmi

    http://emmihearts.blogspot.co.uk/

  • http://ivysmaquillagecove.com/ Ivy Vijay

    well Sydney is short on Sephora too! how cruel is that :(
    it is so much fun to have a look at someone else’s buys that too from tarte and sephora! thoroughly enjoyed reading the post

    ivysmaquillagecove.com

  • Parisian To Be

    Even though I live in the US, there are so many things on this list that I want to try now! The Josie Maran Argan Oil takes tops. Ridiculously amazing post! P.S. Maybelline Full N’ Soft is my everyday lash jam. So happy it has your seal of approval, too.

    xo Lillian from parisiantobe.com

  • Megan Roisin

    When I eventually go to America Sephora will be my first port of call!

    Megan x | MeganRoisinn

  • DeeDee

    Sephora were in the UK. But pulled out a few years ago..the stores were nothing like the states though.

  • Heather

    Would LOVE a full review of the Kate Somerville Goat Milk Cream as well. I’ve been ogling it for ages now :)

    Great reviews!

  • kirsty thompson

    Wish i could try tarte!! X

  • http://themacaronaddict.blogspot.co.uk/ TheMacaronAddict

    This list making me want to go to the US! I think I am most interested in the kate somerville goat cream since its a Caroline Hirons favourite!

    themacaronaddict.blogspot.co.uk

  • Victoria

    Anna did you end up buying the Tarte self tanner after I gave you samples?! You’re so funny! I’m glad you enjoyed the beauty in NY. xo

    -Victoria (Tarte Makeup Artist)

  • Martyna

    oh, that tarte blush looks amazing xx

    Martyna | NEON MIZZLE

  • Sinead O’Reilly

    I’m going in November, so excited though my list of wants has exceeded $200 :s

  • Gita Bončina

    Aaaah, Anna, thanks for that! It will definitely come in handy :) !

    xx

    http://gita-oddsandends.blogspot.com/

  • Catrin

    I’m going to New York in February, I’m definitly going to try and pick up some of these!
    catrinteleri.blogspot.co.uk

  • Maddy Cane

    Tipsy is such a beautiful colour and I think my wish list has just grown by about a mile! x

    Maddy from UNSTITCHEDD

    ♥

  • http://raeey.tumblr.com/ Rachel

    I will literally buy anything you suggest, ahah well I suppose within reason. I’m keeping my eyes open for the L’Oreal mascara and eyeshadows. I hear you rave about them all the time and it’s just fuel to the fire for this drugstore girl!

  • lisa_carbone

    Excellent choices! I love the L’Oreal Infalliable shadows and have both those colours….they are awesome and are worn often! I also love the Buxom glosses and have both you mention…I rocked the Creamsicle all Summer long, it was aways the right choice. I’m from Canada and often the U.S. drugstores have shades we don’t even see here…hence I am also a “drugstore junkie” when shopping over the border. If you ever need an exclusive from Canada, do not hesitate to ask!
    Cheers, Lisa

  • Tubbs

    Sephora used to have shops in the UK, but they left, not sure why. Thing is, even if they did come, we might not get all the Sephora wonderfulness we crave as many of the brands we want to buy there don’t have European distributers – Tarte, Lorac. You can order from the French website – which ships all over Europe. Two big snags, the website is only in French and they charge a lot fortune for Shipping.

  • Christina Abdilla

    I know this may be boring for you, but could you do one of these for London? I will be coming to the UK from Malta, and many brands are not stocked here!

    Thanks :D

    http://tinasbeautyscrapbook.blogspot.com/

    x

  • http://buyingcrueltyfree.com/ Catherine

    Oh my goodness, the Tipsy blush is gorgeous! I have one of the pink Amazonian Clay blushes and it’s lovely but a bit light for me. This looks like a wonderful shade. I’ve had Exposed on my “to try” list forever as well

  • Jennifer

    The ABOVE is one of the reasons I want to live in the US!

    http://tigerlillyyy.blogspot.co.uk/ xx

  • Amber Hunter

    Living in the US, I love seeing what products others would recommend! The ones I have from your list I really love!
    Amber
    Lovely Notions

  • Shulamite Wong

    which would you like best for covering up blemishes, makeup forever or laura mercier? thanks, great post xx

  • Melissa

    So happy as I am going to USA in a month…. have been listing stuff that i want and this helped a lot! shweeettt!

  • http://xsimplynitax.blogspot.com/ Nita

    I have been dying to get my hands on the Makeup For Ever concealer! I have been a little spotty lately, so maybe it’s time for me to pick it up :)

    -Nita
    xsimplynitax.blogspot.com

  • Nicole

    Anna, please do a swap video! I’d love to see what you got from Elle and vice versa :)

  • Chrissabella

    Great post, and you are so right … Sephora what are you waiting for

    http://www.chrissabella.blogspot.com

  • Becki & Jess Dunn

    We almost didn’t want to read this post as it will make us soooo jealous! But it happened and yes we are green with envy hehe. Jess visited NY for the first time this year and she said it was love at first sight!

    Becki & Jess xox

    http://www.lifelooksperfect.com

  • Mardi

    I’ll be in the US in 3.5 weeks and I love lists like this. My credit card, however, is happy that I don’t buy brands that test on animals so I won’t be buying EVERYTHING on your list :)

    I love the little bits and pieces at the Sephora checkout. It’s the one place I hope there’s a long queue so I can have plenty of time to look at it all.

    Oh and just to make you jealous, we can get Kate Somerville in Australia heehee!

  • Hannah Burrows

    I’m going to come back to this post next year when I’m going to America so I can take note.. Great post, super helpful! :)

    http://www.blogthiswithhannah.blogspot.co.uk

  • Maja

    Allure Magazine – a literary triumph! I recommend the Ipad app subscription – it works out much cheaper than buying the imported hard copy.