‘Do you want anything from Sephora?” used to be the most exciting question you could ask a British beauty enthusiast. I never flew to America without a long shopping list of exotic hair, skin and makeup products that my friends were hooked on or had seen in magazines. Nowadays, thanks to cult beauty websites, QVC and pop-ups, few brands are unavailable in the UK (though there are some commendable exceptions, at least for now).
First, Drunk Elephant. This brand combines hi-tech active ingredients with luxurious marula oil. I recently stocked up on C-Firma ($80), a non-greasy vitamin C day serum that brightens dullness and provides extra protection from harsh weather; and TLC Sukari Babyfacial ($80), an effective, high-concentration AHA and BHA cream exfoliating mask that de-flakes and enlivens the complexion in 20 minutes (I use it before a night out, or on the mornings when I look half dead).
There are few brands more cheering than Milk Make Up, an innovative range of mid-price cosmetics with a focus on fun and originality. I snapped up a Supernova Holographic Stick, ($14), a space-age, silver lavender highlighter that strokes on wherever you’d like a little ethereal glow, and Tattoo Stamp ($12), an eyeliner pen with a star-shaped nib that deposits a satisfyingly sharp temporary tattoo wherever you want it. But there’s more to Milk than gimmick. My favourite buys were the Hydrating Oil Stick ($24), a push-up moisturiser that melts on skin-contact, to be kept in your handbag and deployed whenever face, hair, cuticles or lips feel parched; and Matcha Cleanser ($26), another airport-friendly solid stick, to remove dirt and light makeup.
I’ll need a heavier duty cleanser to shift my new IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Illumination Concealer ($24), a brighter, better and currently US-only version of the brand’s original full coverage concealer, as well as Josie Maran’s wonderful Vibrancy Argan Oil Foundation Fluid ($45): this achieves the almost impossible, in providing both full coverage and a dewy glow – ideal if you find that traditional foundation cakes, flakes and blotches (caution: the shades come up a little dark). Delighted with both, I plan to replenish my supplies via Sephora’s newish international shipping service (duties and tax included). Incidentally, everything above is cruelty-free, and much of it’s vegan, too.
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