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…
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.
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…