Saturday, 1 November 2014

US Beauty Haul - Sephora, Duane Reade and Bath & Body Works

I recently hit up the US shores and aside from taking in the New York skyline, Central Park in Autumn and the vast array of food on offer left right and centre (let me tell you, the American's know how to make a killer cupcake), I also hot-footed it to as many American beauty stores as I could fit in, because, y'know when in Rome America, do what the American's do. So I got my haul on…


My first stop was Bath & Body Works because I've heard so much about this store that it was probably the one I was most excited to visit. Candles and fragrances galore? I'm in. But if I'm completely honest, I was a bit underwhelmed. I think it's because of the time of year, all the candles sound deliciously indulgent and cosy for the winter months with scents like Pumpkin Pecan Waffle and Marshmallow Fireside on offer. But for me, they were a little too sickly and cloying. They smelt a bit like burnt popcorn and so I didn't end up picking any, despite sniffing my way through every candle in sight. That said, I did manage to stumble across a couple of bits from their more summery range. Let me tell you, Peach Bellini is where it's at! And if they had of had that in a candle I would have definitely made room for it in my cluster at home, but unfortunately the store assistant told me he didn't think they'd be back in until Spring. I also plumped for this mini Peach & Honey Almond shower gel which smells fresh and sweet without being too sickly. However, their winter range is hugely popular and I know lots of people love it so if you enjoy scents like Yankee's Christmas Cookie or vanilla based fragrances then the Bath & Body Works winter range could be for you.


Next I made my way around Duane Reade which is like a mecca for high street beauty buffs. They have all the usuals, L'Oreal, Maybelline, Revlon, you know the drill. But they also have a tonne of brands that we don't have here like Physicians Formula, Cover Girl, Wet n Wild, Jordana and Milani, all at very reasonable prices, plus brands like L'Oreal and Maybelline come in cheaper stateside and have a much wider range so it's worth exploring or picking up your fave bits from them while your out there as it will save you some pennies back in the UK. 

I picked up:

  • Sally Hershberger Plump Up Volume Shampoo - this was the only brand I had heard nothing about before I purchased it but with claims such as "Major Volume + Lift" and "repairs and plumps for full body style" I thought I'd give it a go as I'm a big hair kinda gal, but with very heavy hair, I often find it very hard to achieve volume. I haven't tried this out yet but keep your eyes peeled around these here parts as if it gets the thumbs up I'm sure it will pop up again with a post all to itself…
  • L'Oreal 24hr Infallible Eye Shadow in Amber Rush - I picked this up because I love the Infallible range in the UK but the colour range is really quite limited. Duane Reade on the other hand, boasted a monster-sized selection of shades and this one really caught my eye. A burnt copper that packs a serious pigment punch? Ladies, check out this hue. 
  • Maybelline 24hr Color Tattoo in Chocolate Suede - again, this is a range that I've tried out in the UK and I'm a big fan of the shade "On and On Bronze" (or "Bad to the Bronze" in the US) so I decided to pick up another colour, "Chocolate Suede" while in NY. I'm not sure I like this shade as much as the bronze, it looks a bit muddy and its less metallic which makes "On and On Bronze" really stand out. But for serious smoke if you're creating a chocolatey, evening eye look, this makes a great base. It's creamy and smudges beautifully. But for daytime, it's a touch too much. 
  • Physicians Formula Happy Booster Blush - yes the packaging looks like something you'd find in the Barbie Dreamhouse and yes I am trying to pose as a serious adult now that I've hit the ripe old age of 21, but I couldn't resist this little tub of adorableness. Whilst I should detest the glaring pink hue and cutesy hearts, I can't help but channel Elle Woods of Legally Blonde fame when I look at this because it gives me the warm fuzzies, plus it actually produces a beautiful, natural flush on the cheeks that gives you that "I stepped out on a chilly morning glow". Snaps for Physicans Formula.
  • Wet n Wild Eye Shadow Palette in 738 Comfort Zone - now I've heard a lot about Wet n Wild, particularly their eye shadows, and whilst the colour payoff wasn't of Urban Decay Naked Palette status, for around the $5 mark it's really not bad. Of course some shades have better pigments than others, in this case the lighter hues didn't stand up against the darker ones which stood out a lot more. And in all cases I found that I had to have a much heavier hand when applying these shadows than with the likes of UD Naked which just glides on. But with a bit of patience and a couple of applications I found that these shades can look really beautiful, and I even got a couple of complements whilst wearing them. Win.
  • Wet n Wild ColorIcon Eye Pencils in 660A Bronzed and 157 Copper - both were a couple of dollars, both have outstanding pigment to rival the likes of MAC and other higher end brands. The shades were beautiful with 660A a velvety bronze and 157 a smokier copper with a touch of shimmer. For the price point and the pigment I would really recommend these and would pick up more shades.
  • Jordana LOL Lip out Loud Lipgloss in 108 - this is a luscious peachy pink with gold shimmer running through. It smells just like watermelon and looks really lovely on the lips. It starts off fairly sheer so would be great to apply over pinky peach lipsticks but is buildable to a relatively opaque peachy hue. It was only a couple of dollars and well worth it in my opinion! It has the look of NARS Orgasm about it and when I compared the two shades they looked very similar, so it looks like we have a dupe on our hands here…
  • Milani Color Statement Lip Liner in 04 All Natural - this has great pigment and is a brown toned pink. I tend to opt for brown toned pinks - think MAC Jubilee and latte-pinks - and this works really well with them, so if you're looking for something in that shade range this one is great and really affordable at a couple of dollars.
  • Maybelline Color Elixir in Petal Plush - I won't talk too much about this one as it is available in the UK. I picked it up stateside as it works out cheaper there. This is a true pink shade that would work well for a lot of skin tones and has a great texture, moisturising but not sticky.
  • Physicians Formula Conceal Rx in Fair Light - I picked this up in a shade or two lighter than my skin tone so that it would work against the bags under my eyes as a sort of highlighter. The coverage is very good and if I were out in NY again I would pick it up in my actual shade to use as a heavy duty concealer to tackle really pesky blemishes on those bad skin days.
  • Wet n Wild Idol Eyes Eye Liner in Pixie - I love this shade. It's one of those multitasking, do-it-all formulas that glides effortlessly on to the lids to create a beautiful base for eye shadows but also holds its own as a stunning eye shade to whack on for simple, quick application. It would also work as a highlighter for brow bones or even cheekbones and your cupid's bow but I particularly like it as an inner corner highlight, or applied along your bottom waterline it really helps to brighten and widen eyes. Beaut. 

The final stop was Sephora. Okay that's a lie, I think I actually managed to visit every Sephora that crossed my path whilst I was out there. So it was probably the first, last, third and eighth stop. Must… resist. Can't. *enters Sephora* repeats. Whilst I very easily could have scooped the whole shop into my basket and skipped merrily to the tills (or checkout gurl) I did manage to exercise some restraint and picked up the Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation in Light Sand that I've had my eye on for yonkydonks. I know that its just landed in the UK but it's not readily available and since I didn't know which shade I'd be, I wanted to swatch and that whole shebang to match myself to a shade before I took the plunge. And boy am I glad I did, as the shade I thought I'd be turned out to look decidedly oomp on me. Ooops. Finally I picked up the NARS Radiant Tinted Moisturiser, which again is available in England but I was on a spree and although I've had my eye on it back home for years I could never justify buying it when I've found high street bases that work for me. But I decided to indulge as I had some dollars left over and I found the perfect shade, Groenland. Plus as I said, when in Rome New York…

If anyone has any questions about the products I've mentioned or other US products just ask in the comments below and I'll do my best to answer them.

Love Elle xo 

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