CVS, Duane Reade, Ulta: beauty shopping in America is the best. Here’s what beauty editor Lucy Partington brought home with her after a recent trip to New York.
Beauty shopping is never anything but fun.
Whether it’s under the bright lights of a department store, rummaging around in TK Maxx or stocking up on staples in Boots, there’s something about it that just makes me feel good.
Before I wrote about make-up for a living I used to spend all money on make-up and skincare. I’d buy Dior highlighters, Mac blushers and Chanel eyeshadow palettes at every opportunity. And, during my first trip to New York in 2006, I spent all my money on Benefit and Clinique because everything was essentially half price thanks to the pound being so strong. Those were the real glory days.
Now, though, my US beauty shopping looks a little different. Instead of mainlining Bloomingdales, Saks and Sephora, I head straight to the likes of CVS, Duane Reade and Ulta in search of anything and everything that isn’t available in the UK.
I’m mostly into the brands that play hard to get, because where’s the fun in travelling across the world just to buy things that are available on my local high street?
I’ll admit, I didn’t go too crazy on my latest trip, but if you’re looking for a little inspiration, here’s what I bought and the brands that are definitely worth keeping an eye out for. You’re so welcome.
The make-up and skincare to buy in the USA
CeraVe Hydrating Micellar Water
CeraVe launched in the UK last year to rapturous applause, and I for one have slowly become obsessed with it. Everybody knows French skincare is the best, and CeraVe is up there with the best, most affordable products. Micellar water is something I’m never without, so, more than anything, I was intrigued to see how this fares compared to my usual one from Garnier. It was slightly more expensive – Garnier is around £4 while thiscost about $12 – but I’m a big fan of CeraVe’s hydrating range so I have high hopes.
CeraVe Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum
This serum has recently launched in the US and so, like the micellar water, isn’t available here yet. Hyaluronic acid is such a great ingredient that everybody can benefit from so I basically needed this product my life. I’m hoping it’ll inject some much-needed moisture into my dry skin. I’ve tried it on the back of my hand and it feels cooling, absorbs quickly and feels hydrating so let’s see how it performs on my face.
ColourPop Double Entrendre Shadow Palette
OK, confession time. I actually bought this palette earlier in the year while I was in LA, but it’s become such a staple in my routine. It’s a fairly neutral palette but there are so many different looks I can create from it. I’ve used it basically every day since February and I’m still not bored of it, plus it only cost me $16, the pigments are incredible, the shades are all super blendable and they last really well on my eyes too. Colorpop fast became my favourite eyeshadow brand.
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen SPF45
Neutrogena in the USA is so much bigger than it is over here. There’s way more skincare, sun care and even make-up available. I was torn between this and a CeraVe Hydrating Sunscreen, but this was slightly cheaper. I haven’t worn this properly yet but I’m looking forward to trying it – when I tested it on my hand, it absorbed quickly, didn’t create a white cast or leave my skin looking grey or ashy. Instead, it just had a nice dewy glow that I’m hoping will come through the foundation I wear on top of it. It’s fair to say I definitely have high hopes for this SPF.
ColourPop Yes, Please Shadow Palette
Because I’m so obsessed with the Double Endentre palette, I couldn’t leave New York without buying another one. Yes, Please is a lot more warm toned than Double Entendre, it has pinks, burnt reds, oranges and even a yellow shade (that I’m actually excited to try) so it’s probably more suited to wearing during summer and autumn. The colour pay-off is as equally impressive though and I have a feeling I’ll be using this palette just as much as the other one.
The US brands worth keeping a look out for
Alongside ColourPop, there are a few other brands that are only available in Ulta. A bit like the American version of Boots, Ulta is a drugstore that sells everything. It’s mostly brands that are fairly affordable, but they stock Mac and It Cosmetics along with other cheaper brands.
In my opinion, ColourPop is the most exciting brand in there, but Kylie Cosmetics is available, as is a brand called Flesh (the brainchild of Linda Wells, former Editor-in-Chief of Allure). Dose and Juvia’s Place are also stocked and, although those brands can be bought online in the UK from Beauty Bay, it’s fun to be able to swatch and try before you buy, right?
The same goes for Physicians Formula, which is available in CVS and Duane Reade and is newly stocked on Feel Unique over here. Also available in there is Differin - in the UK it’s prescription-strength Vitamin A, but it’s freely available to purchase in America. If you do buy it, be careful because it’s super high strength so can be extremely drying on skin and can cause irritation, so exercise caution with it and only use a couple of times a week.
There are also plenty of other brands out there that you can shop, but these are just the ones that I think are the most noteworthy.
Go forth and shop. Oh, and don’t forget to stock up on M&Ms: caramel, peanut butter and hazelnut spread are my personal favourites.
Images: courtesy of brands