The England Haul: Part 2 – Drugstore

Ah, foreign groceries and drugstores. Is there anything else more exciting? …at least to me. Boots and Superdrug were both major targets for me on my trip as I know there are loads of affordable brands we can’t get here. I hit up the big Boots at Oxford Circus and came away with way too much stuff – but I’ve found that despite the exchange rate, drugstore prices in the UK are actually great and wonderfully affordable.

The first thing I was after was of course the Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer. I’ve heard SO much about this concealer and Collection is not  brand I can get my hands on over here. I picked up the shade 3 – Warm Medium. I really like the texture – creamy and very pigmented. The only issue I have is with their terrible shade range: there are only 4 shades and 1 – Fair is far too light for me, while 2 – Cool Medium is obviously too cool, and shade 3 ended up being way too dark for me. I’ll have to save it for using in the summer when I pick up quite an intense tan. Another Collection product I decided to pick up was something that I haven’t heard much about – the Illuminating Touch Brightening Concealer in shade 2 – Natural. I am hoping to use this under my eyes but haven’t tried it yet. The Fast Stroke Eyeliner is one I’ve heard a lot about so I thought I’d pick it up as well. I got the Velvet Kiss Moisturising Lip Cream in shade Cotton Candy for free since I bought other Collection products. I haven’t used it much yet but it’s very comfortable to wear and the colour is lovely.

Some random other products I picked up but haven’t tried yet are the Natural Collection Brow Gel in Dark Brown, Barry M Sunset Nail Paint in Fuchsia Generation, Boots Tea Tree & Witch Hazel Peel Off Face Mask, and the two items I’m most excited about – the Fleur de Force By Eylure Lashes in Fleur Loves, and the La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo (+). I’ve heard a lot about the Effaclar Duo and we can get a version of it over here, but I’m almost certain the ingredients are different.

Full sized skin/hair/body products were another priority of mine, despite the annoying fact of having to lug all the big bottles home, but luckily I packed light initially so I was able to bring home the Charles Worthington Moisture Seal Hair Healer, which I’m quite excited to try, as well as the Original Source Shower Gel in Mango, which is going to be great for the summer time. I also picked up two facial scrubs – the Sanctuary Spa Radiance Exfoliator, and the Botanics All Bright Purifying Face Scrub (are you seeing a theme here?). I also had to pop into Superdrug to pick up the Zoella Wondrous Whip Body Cream to see what her line is like.

Another store I was dying to go to was Kiko Cosmetics, which is another store that exists in the UK and US, but not here, sadly. There were a ton of things I wanted to pick up but in the interest of not hoarding I limited myself to only three products. I obviously went a little concealer crazy this trip – I picked up the Natural Concealer in shade 02, which comes in a tiny tube. It turns out this one is also too dark for me but it blends out beautifully and I will be cracking it out in the summer time. Something else I’m super excited about is the Velvet Passion Matte Lipstick in shade 304. It comes in the most unique, luxurious packaging and I am really excited to wear this colour in the spring/summer. Lastly, I had to grab one of the Extra Sculpt Waterproof Mascaras – I really don’t need more mascara in my life right now but couldn’t resist since KathleenLights loves the Extra Sculpt… and it was on sale!

The very last product pictured is the Satin Matte Nail Polish from Primark, which I haven’t tried yet.

Whew – that was a lot of stuff but I don’t think I went too crazy with the shopping. What are your UK favourites and what would you recommend I try next time?


The Warm Weather Wardrobe

With the long weekend and warm weather coinciding here (sun, finally!), it’s about time I added some new products into my regular rotation to accommodate the change in seasons.

For skincare, I decided to try a different moisturizer that helps to mattify the skin and help keep blemishes at bay. The Ole Henriksen Vitamin Plus is specifically formulated to balance and regulate oil, while keeping skin properly hydrated. I’ve been using this for a few weeks now, and I find that it does quite a good job of reducing oil (nothing will ever get rid of it completely, I’m convinced) – it’s a slightly thicker cream that spreads and absorbs easily, and has a light herbal scent. Definitely not the cheapest product but a good one, and I’m interested in trying out the rest of the line now. SPF is also a must-have with blue skies and longer daylight hours, so I finally got around to picking up the La Roche Posay Anthelios SPF 60 Ultra-Fluid Lotion, which I mix into the Vitamin Plus so that I never get that ‘sunscreen’ feeling on my skin. It works great, and absorbs without feeling greasy or leaving a white cast. It hasn’t caused any breakouts so far, so I’m loving it and will re-purchase throughout the summer.

It’s almost time to go full-out with the brights and corals for lips and tips, but so far I’ve been loving some slightly muted options to get me in the mood. I’ve been wearing the American Apparel nail polish in Summer Peach pretty much non-stop. It’s not as orange as it looks in the bottle – it goes on exactly as the name sounds: peachy. For lips I recently did a Back to MAC and picked up Tropic Tonic lipstick, which is a matte coral that isn’t too bright and perfect for both spring and summer. I also picked up the L’Oreal La Lacque Shiny Full Coverage Lip Colour in 207 Lacque-y You, which is a deep raspberry that’s bright enough to wear year round. The formula isn’t overly ‘shiny’ and it’s super easy to apply to due to the narrow bullet. My one qualm with this product is that it smells like floral chemicals, which isn’t great. However, if you can get past that, this is a great lipstick.

What are your top picks for the warmer weather?

Exotic Gifts from Across the Pond

So recently, some people in my life have either been sending me or bringing back some exciting beauty products from Europe – England and France, to be exact. Thanks to the wonderful world of YouTube and beauty blogging, there are loads of products I have been dying to try. The products that are available in Canada are a bit of a weird mix – we can get most mainstream American brands, but also quite a lot of French brands, such as Bioderma, which I know for a while were almost impossible to get in both the UK and the US.

I was really excited to receive some items that have helped filled the gap in available products. Firstly, I was so happy to get a few drugstore items that you just can find here, such as Soap and Glory’s One Heck of a Blot – we have a limited range of Soap & Glory products here, especially on the skincare and makeup side.  Also, I got four shades of the much-talked about Barry M Gelly Hi Shine Nail Paint – Lychee, Rose Hip, Chilli and Cocoa. I have tried a couple of them, and I find that they have a lovely finish, but chip quite easily. Last but not least, the Max Factor Excess Shimmer Eyeshadow in Bronze, which I’ve written about already.

More recently, I was able to get my hands on some even rarer stuff – La Roche Posay Serozinc OMG. This toner is practically the stuff of legend at this point, especially because it’s literally impossible to buy outside of France. I was kindly gifted two bottles and I’m almost afraid to try them since there’s so much hype surrounding this cult product that I’m scared it won’t work and I’ll be horribly disappointed. …that’s the spirit, right?
A trip to SpaceNK, which is a store that hasn’t quite reached our shores yet, despite them existing south of the border, resulted in a recommendation from a salesperson, the Elemental Herbology Facial Detox Purifying Facial Mask, which looks perfect for my oily, congested skin and I am super excited to try. I believe the brand is only available in the UK so far, though since it’s on, you can get it shipped to other countries.

All in all, I am incredibly pleased with the latest boatload of products I’ve accumulated in this short while, and will be trying them all out in the near future.

What hard-to-get or foreign products have you tried recently, and have you been loving them?