*sigh* It’s been a over month since I returned from my holiday in Miami. Jet lag lasted about a week, work has been non-stop and my body started to wind me up by making me feel poorly. Still, I had a very relaxing trip, toasting myself in the 28 degrees sunshine, clocking up the calories and yes, a cheeky shop for make-up was also thrown in.
I was staying on Washington Avenue, about 5 minutes walk from the beach and within easy reach of Sephora – the first place I wanted to visit when I touched down in the US.
However, I was disappointed with Sephora on Collins Avenue. Firstly they were out of stock on one of their lipstains I was desperate for and secondly their nail polish display was very poor and very sparse (they didn’t even have Kat Von D’s nail polishes!)
Then my luck changed when I stumbled across a store called Ulta Beauty. How come nobody told me about this place? It bitch-slaps Sephora to the ground! Two floors of hair and beauty AND at discounted prices. I filled my basket in one trip, and then returned the next day for more. Walgreen is a popular chain store which sells a lot of cosmetic brands like Maybelline and OPI but I noticed their prices were dearer than Ulta. Tsk!
Any way, behold the things I smuggles through customs:
1. Maybelline’s Master Precise by Eye Studio
I picked this up in a hurry on my second and final visit to Ulta, and fell in love with it as soon as I tried it. Sadly the two branches of Walgreen I visited did not stock it and this product is not available in the UK either. Not fair!
I was impressed with its sharpness and precision in application. I’ve usually found felt tip liners’ lasting power runs dry quickly but this one is pretty intense and sharp in one move and only cost about £5-6. I wish I’d picked up a few more of these…
2. OPI, Essie, Zoya, Sally Hansen, Rimmel polishes
Heaven in Ulta with these at bargain prices. I finally got my mitts on OPI’s DS collection (have eyed this up in Fenwicks but couldn’t justify spending nearly £20 for a bottle). I also picked up other gems I’d wanted for a long time and a Rimmel polish that you can’t get in the UK. Now I’m going to have another moan: Rimmel is a British brand yet this collection is not available in the UK. Where’s the logic in that? I also grabbed my first bottle of Seche Vite for about $9.
3. Sephora Collection: Cream Lip Stain
I saw Mouldy Fruit’s review on Always Red but sadly Sephora had sold out of this colour. However, I picked up three shades from their collection, which were $12 each: Strawberry Kissed and Forever Fuschia for myself and Dark Berry for my mum.
The stain is creamy during application before drying to a satin finish. The pigmentation is intense and the colour is vibrant and woah, does it stay on but after a few hours, I felt conscious there was a sticky film on my lips, and I wanted to scrub it off. After a trip to the Everglades where I had to endure an airboat, the wind super-dried my lip stain and it began to peel. Of course this was a rather extreme condition but it’s good to know this product can withstand speeds of up to 35 mph.
A layer of this lip stain creates a type of layer rather than absorbing into the lips and keeping them moisturised but for what it’s designed to do, it certainly delivers. Also there is no feathering. My mum couldn’t stop singing its praises so I’m chuffed she’s happy with her lipstain, which is a gorgeous maroon shade.
4. Stila Long Wear Liquid Lip Color in Fiery
I bought this red lip stain by default following the Sephora scandal. More expensive at $22 but a glorious, tomato colour, and probably slightly better in quality than Sephora but hey, that’s what you get for paying top dollar. Yet again, another product confined to the US borders.
5. Kat von D Tattoo Chronicles – Candelabra Edition
I packed really light for my trip, which meant only taking the basics – foundation, travel sized brushes (courtesy of Japonesque), concealer and a blusher, so it was a good job I picked up Kat von D’s collection of eye shadows to glam up my peepers for a night out. A bonus was it was reduced from $32 to $24 in Sephora but it has been discontinued. Maybe it’s available on Ebay for anyone interested.
6. Anastasia Beverly Hills – All Eye Want Palette
Beautiful smokey eyes palette that I don’t need it at all but of course, I bought it, dammit. Well, it’s limited edition! I know nothing about this brand so based my decision on the quality of the eye shadows, which are rich in pigmentation and gorgeous, and best of all, the palette was dirt cheap at $32 (but I got it for $24 on special offer in the store at the time.) BOOM! The kit comes with nine eye shadows, a mascara, brow gel, and double-ended brush. The shades are warm neautrals but the dark brown is to die for – matte chocolate brown with gold flecks – just what you need for a smouldering, smokey look. It is divine! Overall, a palette to challenge the Naked ones. I’m looking forward to playing with this…
(I heard this product is now available to buy from Cult Beauty but I couldn’t locate it on their website. Am I missing something?)
7. Sephora Pro lesson palette – green eyes
Sephora have devised eye shadow kits which compliment eye colours. Well sod this, I bought the palette for green eyes because the colours were much nicer than the dull ones they put together for brown eyes.
8. Wet n Wild compacts in Blue Had Me At Hello and Comfort Zone
I spotted these in Ulta – stupidly cheap eyeshadow compacts. Blue Had Me At Hello is obviously the blue palette, and Comfort Zone is the conventional, nude collection. I haven’t tried them out yet so can’t comment on quality but I am not particularly fussed when they were absolute bargains.
9. Victoria’s Secret scrubs and body butter
I wish I had bought more of these – such good value and great to use. I picked up 3 products for $25, I think - two scrubs in Amber Romance and Mango Temptation and a body cream in Mango Temptation. The scrubs smell divine and feel wonderful. Hopefully VS will introduce these ranges to their UK stores when they debut this summer.
And there we have it! Over the coming weeks (or months!), I’ll blog about the polishes, lip stuff and palettes.