Good ol’ Blighty. Who doesn’t love Britain? Well I could name a few, but understanding why is entirely different. What’s not to love? We have glamour, culture, history, David Beckham (swoon), amazing fashion and an insatiable thirst for tea. Britain is an amazing place to live, but there’s one category which falls short against all others. The one category that has made me question why I continue to live in the UK. The one category; which is at the forefront of my mind whenever I travel further west of the globe. No second guesses required here. It is of course, makeup.
Beauty enthusiasts, like me, will know how hard it can be to source those ‘must have’ beauty releases that our cousins across the pond get to enjoy freely. Extortionate shipping charges, ‘US postal addresses only’, hidden customs charges and not forgetting ‘please allow 15-21 days for international shipping’ all seem to be attached to anything which I have loved dearly. I’ve crossed hell and high water to get my grubby, makeup hoarding hands on the latest product release and that’s no exaggeration. Having once verbally threaten the post man for charging me a ridiculous £21.95 for customs charges whilst standing at my front door teasing the prospect of a new package in his hand, I realised very quickly – I have no shame.
It’s not hard to believe that Americans have a much wider choice in beauty products than us Brits. With Ulta, Ricky’s NYC, Naimie’s and Sephora (what I lovingly call ‘the motherland’) right at their doorstep, it’s a wonder how people manage to save money. Of course, their makeup indulgence doesn’t stop there. Their drugstore (high street) makeup surpasses ours by far. Sure, we have Boots and Superdrug (said in a toddler-like, unenthusiastic voice), but it seems as though those living across the ocean really are living the American dream.
During my mother’s travels over the summer, I decided to seize the opportunity by requesting a little drugstore makeup collection. Mostly because I didn’t want to pay a small mortgage on the shipping charges (I use Borderlinx for ‘US postal address only’ orders for anyone interested) and also because…well…I wanted it. With that said, I decided to share with you all the goodies that I got. A little disclaimer – the products mentioned below are not currently available for purchase in the UK from high steet retailers. I have placed links to websites under each product; which I have sourced for your convenience. The prices of each product vary, depending on the retailer, but I have also given you a rough estimation of cost with each product.
Maybelline Facestudio Master Fix Wear-Boosting Setting Spray
Described as a lightweight, translucent, oil-free mist; which boots the longevity and protects the colour of makeup. The travel-friendly bottle holds 100 ml of product; which goes quite a long way considering you only need a couple of spritzes. In comparison to the Maybelline Superstay 24h Setting Spray; which is readily available in the UK, it doesn’t hold onto makeup as well, but the finish is lovely. I love spritzing this on when I’ve gone a little too heavy on the powder and I want to take some of that away. It also works wonders at giving you the perfect balance between dewy and super-matte skin.
The Maybelline Facestudio Master Fix Wear-Boosting Setting Spray was pretty hard to locate in the UK. Amazon has a listing for £14.40 (inc shipping); which isn’t extortionate, but if you do get a chance to purchase it from America then Ulta stock it as well. I paid $12.99 (approx £10.00); which is slightly cheaper than Amazon’s listing, but…well…that’s life.
L’Oreal Studio Secrets Magic Perfecting Base
After using Bobbi Brown’s Vitamin Enriched Face Base for many years, I was intrigued to find a drugstore alternative. It’s received rave reviews from beauty gurus alike and L’Oreal don’t tend to get a lot of things wrong (said with slight hesitation) so I anticipated that this would be a hit.
Rather than a moisturiser, it’s used as a ‘filler’ between your skin and the foundation. Imagine, if you will, your foundation being a layer of wall paint. Applying this primer or ‘filler’ after your plaster (moisturiser) ensures that the paint glides over imperfections seamlessly – I deeply apologise for that analogy. I know nothing about DIY and I felt like I was in too deep to let it go. Basically – it minimises the look of large pores, fine lines and skin texture.
Although I still have my Bobbi Brown Face Base, I still reach for this primer on special occasions, because it really does what it says on the tin and it feels A-MA-ZING on the skin!
Very sell this primer at £14.99, although it has a different name and slightly altered packaging. Target also offer this primer for international delivery at £8.97, but I’m not sure of the delivery charges.
Hard Candy Take It Off Makeup Remover
The UK once had a brief encounter with Hard Candy many moons ago. The brand never really took off and was classed as a ‘teenage’ brand by many. However, after watching a demonstration of this makeup remover on YouTube one day, I knew that I had to give it a go.
This makeup remover is like paint stripper for makeup (can’t seem to let that DIY stuff go can I?!). It promises to remove stubborn makeup like waterproof mascara and certainly does keep to its promise! The consistency is like a really thick cream; which doesn’t dry out your skin. Applying a dollop of this between your fingers and smearing all over your face takes off every last bit of heavy duty foundation, glitter and liquid lipstick imaginable. A simple swish of water removes the residue from your face, however, I would go in with another product for a second cleanse (you know how I feel about clean skin). The packaging does look quite cheap and tacky, but it’s not a deal breaker for me as it’s incredible at removing those full on ‘drag queen’ makeup looks that I love so much.
You can find this at Amazon for £12.99 or various Ebay Uk listings for around the same price.
L’Oreal Paris Infallible Pro Glow Foundation
I’ve waited with bated breath for the UK release of this foundation ever since L’Oreal announced their final stages of production on Instagram. Months have passed since its US release in the summer and still nothing (the UK are usually 3/4 months behind the US). I’ve not anticipated the arrival of a beauty product so much since the release of Becca’s Champagne Pop so when this popped up on my online shopping spree I did the most rational thing that I could do – I panicked and ordered two.
This foundation is life, plain and simple. Much like its predecessor, Infallible Matte Foundation, the packaging is a travel-friendly squeezey plastic tube. Don’t be fooled by the word plastic, this foundation is heavenly. It gives you a ‘glow from within’ rather than straight up dew. The lasting power is pretty strong. I can’t say that it will last 24 hours as I’ve never kept my makeup on for that long (sober), but it lasts a very long time considering it’s not a thick, matte formula.
I’m not sure if the UK will ever be so lucky to receive this foundation as it wouldn’t make sense for them to release it during the winter months. It’s the perfect summertime foundation (thanks to the spf), but regardless, if you ever get your hands on this…do not hesitate! The shade selection is aweful; apparntly L’Oreal believe that there’s only 12 skin tones in the world. However, you could do what I did and mix two shades together to get your perfect blend (mine were 207 and 208).
Unfortunately I could not find any links in the UK that were reasonably priced, but, again, Target have all 12 shades in stock (£9.79) and offer international delivery.
Maybelline Eyestudio Color Tattoo Concentrated Crayon
We all know and love the Color Tattoo Cream Eye Shadows that already exist on our shelves, but did you know they also come in a stick form? Neither did I! I’ve always found those little pots a right pain in the backside to dig into, particularly with long nails. However, Maybelline have taken their genius formulation and placed it in the form of a stick. The same great long-wearing shades, but a lot faster to use. So why have they kept their shadow pots on the market? Well the sticks, unfortunately, do not have near enough the same colour selection and they tend to dry out a lot faster. However, with that said, these eye crayons are the best thing since stuffed crust pizza and do a wonderful job at giving you a smokey eye or a simple wash of colour in a flash.
I opted for the colours Barely Beige, Grey Crystal, Bronze Truffle (my fave), Lilac Lust and Creamy Chocolate. Each of these colours gives me a perfectly wearable look, day or night, when I want instant glam. I still use a primer with these despite their claims as I have pretty pigmented eyelids. If you do not have that problem then you can forgo the primer.
The Maybelline Eyestudio Color Tattoo Concentrated Crayons are available for purchase from Ebay at around £7.71 with £4.63 for p&p.
Maybelline Master Prime Blur + Illuminate Primer
I’ve been on the look out for an ‘every day’ primer for quite some time. The Maybelline Master Prime Blur + Illuminate Primer promises to blur, hydrate and illuminate your skin with the added benefit of spf 30.
The formula is quite thin, much like a light lotion, and depending on which one you go for (there are three variations), it promises to deliver solutions to minute skin problems. I opted for the illuminating primer as I wanted to give my skin a healthy glow rather than a super-matte finish. The lotion is a shade of muted peach/pink; which I suppose counteracts ‘dullness’. I can’t say that it does wonders for my skin, but it feels nice and provides you with that all important sun protection; which many of us forget to apply. I have fairly dry skin so a moisturising primer like this feels like a real treat.
Amazon have all three variations of Maybelline’s Master Prime Primer on their listings and this one can be picked up for £10.10 here.
L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte Gloss
Sounds like a complete oxymoron. How could you possibly get a matte gloss? Well apparently you can…and you can get it at Target. L’Oreal’s Infallible range (can you tell I’m slightly obsessed?) has done it again with these incredible lip glosses. I’m not much of a lip gloss girl anymore. Gone are my days of using high-shine, wet-looking, fruit-scented glosses; pursing my lips in the hope that they won’t stick together. However, these lip glosses offer a little more than your traditional gloss.
Described as a highly pigmented, whipped matte gloss, it promises to deliver intense colour payoff with all day colour. It’s basically a really comfortable liquid lipstick with a velvety texture. The doe foot applicator is super comfortable on the lips and delivers opaque colour in one swipe. I picked up two in the colours Nude Allude and Statement Nude. The nude shades looked more versatile than the others and I didn’t want to waste my money on colours that I might not like. However, I may indulge in a few more colours in the near future.
Target offer these at £6.48 a piece in all ten colours. The UK currently stocks L’Oreal’s Infallible Mega glosses at Boots and Superdrug, but we’ve not seen the release of the matte glosses. The concept is genius and they’re perfect for the girl who likes the comfort of a lip gloss/lacquer, but wants the longevity of a liquid lipstick.
L’Oreal Infallible 24Hr Eye Shadow in Amber Rush
I promise this is the last Infallible product (L’Oreal hit me up for some shares). No American beauty haul would be complete without a purchase of the L’Oreal Infallible 24Hr Eye Shadow in Amber Rush. Us Brits are no strangers to the Infallible eye shadow range. Their highly pigmented pots of deliciousness offer seriously long lasting power in an array of amazing colours. They’re spread all over the counters of our high street and are, in my opinion, one of the best drugstore shadows that you could use. However, it seems as though Americans have won it again as there are a few shades which have never been released in the UK. L’Oreal, without sounding like the unwanted step child of the beauty community, you need to get your act in order – favouritism will get you no where!
Amber Rush is a cool-toned, pink tinged copper with flecks of gold and a hint of sparkle; which makes it the most versatile semi-pressed pigment that I’ve ever seen. I’ve yet to encounter a skin-tone that wouldn’t suit this shade and to be honest, it works well as a wash of colour in the day and as a spotlight accent for an evening smokey eye.
The consistency is almost gel-like upon first swipe, but it settles as an absolutely gorgeous shadow upon the lid. Unlike many pigments, you get zero fallout and if you do…it works as a beautiful highlight for the cheeks!
Amber Rush can be purchased from Vitamin Grocer for £9.22.
E.L.F. Studio High Definition Undereye Setting Powder
In actual fact, this product is readily available in the UK, but it was there…it was on sale…so…you get where I’m going with this.
Described as a light-diffusing powder; which promises to conceal dark circles and imperfections. The Vitamin C & K infused formula claims to restore and strengthen skin for a revitalised appearance. Not sure if I agree with all of that, but it works great at setting my concealer – the sole purpose of my purchase.
The brush that it comes with is utterly ridiculous in my eyes (pun intended). It’s super small, scratchy and all round crap so if you do get this powder stick to a sponge or a different brush. The powder itself is a pretty off-pink hued translucent powder with a thin yet silky texture. The pink colour counteracts any darkness around the eyes and it doesn’t settle into the fine lines.
This powder is absolute bargain at £4.50 for 1.2g and can be purchased directly from the Elf website.
Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Primer Skin Transformer
Excuse the overly squashed tube in the image above, my primer looks like it had a rough ride over here. Side note – what’s with all these primers?! I didn’t realise that I bought so many!
This is another pink hued primer; which uses light diffusing technology to detract from skin imperfections. We’ve all seen the Instant Age Rewind concealers (which I absolutely love), but this primer was foreign to me.
I can’t say that it makes my imperfections vanish instantly, although, I don’t really have ageing or problematic skin. However, it works great at filling in the pores and provides a great base for my foundation. The longevity that it gives my foundation is amazing and rivals any of my high end primers.
You can purchase the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Primer Skin Transformer from Amazon for £6.68. Be warned though, you only get 25ml in the tube and it runs out pretty quickly so stock up!
What are your suggestions for American makeup hauls? Comment below with suggestions of what I should try next!