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UPDATE: I’ve heard reports that some items actually won’t ship to the UK due to various restrictions. Hopefully these will be lifted, in the meantime, there may be a little trial and error when adding to your basket. I’ll add alternative UK stockists for as many products as I can shortly!
Sephora is finally available in the UK again! I first discovered the French beauty mecca on school exchange trips to Caen, and briefly enjoyed a time when there were some branches in the UK in shopping centres like Merry Hill and Brent Cross. Alas, the world wasn’t ready for a high end beauty shop back then, and Sephora pulled out of the UK in the mid-2000s. Since then, most of us have come to know the brand for its incredible US stores, full of brands we can rarely find (or afford) in the UK. Even with today’s rubbish exchange rate, it’s still cheaper to buy a lot of brands in the USA, so when I discovered that the US site is now shipping to the UK I couldn’t wait to share the news! When I did so on twitter, Selina asked me if I’d share my tips on what to buy, and of course I couldn’t be happier to ramble on about the beauty products I love and covet! So scroll down for my tips on the best brands to grab from Sephora while you can.
Tip: If you select UK as your international shipping destination before browsing, the cart will populate in pounds. There’s a flat rate of £10 postage if you spend over £75. Remember there could also be customs charges when your package arrives in the UK, but even with these added costs, you may still make savings.
Benefit is significantly cheaper in the states (eg. The Porefessional is £25 ($41) in the UK and $31 in the US) and you often get new products first. You probably know some of the bestsellers, like Benetint, and Hoola bronzer, but I have a few hidden gems to share. Top of my list is Creaseless Cream Shadow in Skinny Jeans, a lovely smudgy pewter. Every time I use it, someone comments on my makeup. I also really rate Dallas cheek powder, which is perfect for English Rose skin like mine that doesn’t suit a lot of bronzers. Another old favourite of mine is one of their first products, Dr Feelgood, a skin balm that was the precursor to many modern primers.
Anastasia Beverly Hills
If you’re serious about eyebrows, Anastasia is your girl. She makes all kinds of products for sculpting and taming brows. I’ve got my eye on the new Dipbrow Pomade, which was sadly sold out when I last hit a bricks and mortal Sephora store. I have tried Brow Wiz and the Tinted Brow Gel, both of which are some of the best products in terms of both texture and colour that I’ve tried.
Too Faced is one of those cutesy packaged brands that I just can’t ignore, but the quality does vary from product to product. Shopping in the US will save you up to 30% on some products. The palettes are super cute and if you’re not too fussed about heavy pigment and perfect textures, you can get some great value buys. I love their Chocolate Soleil bronzer, as do plenty of others it would seem, as it’s party of the brilliant value Beauty Blogger Darlings kit which is a great intro to the brand. I also like the tiny credit card sized Glamour To Go Palette.
Marc Jacobs Beauty
This launched exclusively in Sephora (and some MJ stores) last year, and is near impossible to get in the UK. Everyone was so excited about this line when it launched and I’m happy to say that it delivers on more than just lovely packaging! Of what I’ve tried, the nail polishes come in great, unexpected colours and the lip Gels have the most incredible pigment and texture. I’m pretty sure the whole range lives up to expectations, though!
Stila isn’t massively cheaper in the USA (maybe a couple of pounds per item, depending on the exchange rate) but if you’re doing a big order it may be worth slipping a few products into your bag. This is one of my all time favourite makeup lines, and it’s rare I make up my face without using something from Stila! My top tips are eyeshadows in Diamond Lil (the perfect silver taupe) and Kitten (the ultimate ‘inner corner’ shadow), Smudge pots (Stila’s version of gel eyeliner) and the absolutely brilliant Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick.
Bumble & Bumble
I have a love/hate relationship with Bumble & Bumble. I love their styling products, I hate their creme de coco shampoo and conditioner. The hero product for me is the Thickening Spray which adds body at the roots, gives hair a workable texture and makes it so easy to style. If you have hair that goes flat on day two, a spritz of this and a blast with the hairdryer will work miracles. Also worth trying are the Briliantine (a kind of serum/finishing cream for smooth, shiny lengths), Defrizz which does exactly what it says on the bottle, and the Let it Shine spray. You’ll save about $6 per purchase compared to UK prices.
This brand has long been a US best kept secret, but it will finally be coming to QVC this year. Right now pickings are slim, however, and on Sephora you can buy the whole lot. Those with money to burn should go all out and get the Cheek Stain Collector’s Vault which contains 8 of the brand’s bestselling multipurpose push-up gel sticks. Otherwise, I love the Maracuja Lip Exfoliant for a pre-lipstick scrub and moisturise, and I’m tempted by the Brow Mousse (mousse!) and the Amazonian Clay Shadow Quads.
Along with Stila, this is probably my most-used makeup brand. I rarely use anything except Bare Minerals, and I usually stock up in the US, where you’ll save the equivalent of around $11 on a foundation. I wear the Original Foundation in Fairly Light, buffed in with a big kabuki brush. I also couldn’t live without Stroke of Light Eye Brightener. The shade luminous 1 is perfect for reducing dark circles on my rose-toned skin (though it’s not a heavy concealer – you’ll need foundation underneath). Makeup wise, the brand makes loads of great mineral products in good day colours, and don’t forget the Marvellous Moxie lipgloss, which has a killer formula in lovely shades.
Other things to keep an eye out for:
- Kat Von D Shade Shifter eyeshadow, which is the duochrome of eyeshadows, offering two shades in one
- The extensive Sephora by OPI nail polishes, you’ll struggle to limit yourself to just a handful
- Kate Somerville skincare, from the woman who tends to the faces of the stars
- NARS – cheaper in the US. Buy absolutely anything, so long as it’s the Orgasm blusher!
- Hourglass makeup for things you didn’t know you needed, like lash laquer and lip oil
- Sephora’s own brand bath and shower gels which have been around since the stores were only in France
- Philosophy 3-in-1 washes. Cinnamon Buns is the current scent du jour