I am just back from a 4-day shopping trip in London, I know some of you are wondering what new make up items I got over there, so here they are and I added some swatches for part of them. Some were already in my most wanted shopping list and others are new discoveries.
I had the most wonderful time in this city, as always… I will not only share the hauling but also give you some more details on the trip, maybe you are planning to go there soon and you are wondering where are the best places to shop for make up and beauty.
I have been traveling to London very often, either for work, for shopping, or for special events like the RIAT (Royal International Air Tattoo) and soon also IMATS (International Make-Up Artist Trade Show).
First, the haul. Then, if you are interested, there will be more about me and about London and also some personal tips if you are planning to go there for shopping, just grab a coffee and keep reading if you feel like… it’s a bit long I am afraid 😉
The last time I checked the brushes at the RMK counter, they didn’t look appealing, the ones exposed don’t reflect how soft they actually are and that’s why I never bought them before. Ask them if you can see the ones from their kit or even the new ones, they probably will look much better.
The RMK brushes are extremely soft and well made, the face brushes are goat in the outside and grey squirrel in the center.
I also got some other RMK things and they gave me the two presents, the freezer bag and the nail polish set.
I will add the names of the palettes later on today.
Swatches of the RMK palette (15th Anniversary 01 Pink Coral), the blush (Ingenious Powder Cheeks in MT-04 Rose Pink) and the eyeshadow (Ingenious Powder Eyes in BR-01 Dark Brown) :
I wanted the blush brush for a very very long time so that’s done. Not disappointed.
I have tried their foundation and their setting powder at the counter. They told me that the foundation base was fantastic to neutralize the redness and help the foundation stay much longer, it is. I did not want a setting powder since I have extremely dry skin but this one is totally compatible with dry skin, my skin feels just like silk. I will also post a review on these foundation products but I need to experiment for a longer period with them.
These brushes were in my shopping list for a very long time too but I needed to see them in person before I bought them, I made quite a few bad brush buys recently, now I am more careful. These are fantastic brushes, the 45 is what I expected from the Claudio Riaz primer eyeshadow brush…
The 24-Hour liner and shadow are long lasting and vibrant shadows, I already had the Topaz and love them both.
These are the swatches of the Blackberry Definer on the left of the picture (my second one), then the Topaz and the Smokey Quartz, but the flash is not showing the real color… shame.
I needed backups of their make up remover and I saw this palette that came with a lot of goodies (a nail polish, a mascara, an eye cream and an eye liner pencil), I don’t usually buy sets but I loved this palette ! It contains 4 finely milled eye shadows (some are not so pigmented but the finish is beautiful), two gorgeous lip glosses and a cheek/lip shade, it’s an ideal and very wearable palette to throw in your bag.
I also got the new Twilight Night gel eyeliner.
Swatches of the eyeshadows of this palette :
Burberry, Sisley, Armani and the Make Up Store
The Burberry Rose blush was on my list, it’s absolutely gorgeous I recommend you to check it out !
The concealer got hauled as well… 😛 too many hours at work at this moment and I hope that will help !
Armani Rouges are my favorite lipsticks ever, so there is a new baby 401 for my collection, bright but such a beautiful color !
I love Sisley blushes, this one is no exception !
Swatches of the Armani lipstick 401, then the Make Up Store lipliner (Apricot Tan), Burberry blush (Rose), and Sisley blush (Mango) :
I got these 2 teal, also a gorgeous yellow gold.
I checked out the brushes and wanted to try them, they reminded me of the Claudio Riaz but they are much cheaper and the handles are of better quality. I will review them soon. The others did not look appealing but again, the brushes that are exposed are often full of dust and damaged and don’t always reflect their true quality. I did not want more but these two feel extremely soft and correspond exactly to the brushes I was looking for ! great find ! The top one is the 5FS, squirrel, and the bottom is the 4SS, squirrel substitute, I have no idea what the squirrel substitute is made of, I will investigate… but it’s soft and good quality, the handles are made of wood.
These are : Matte 338, Matte 340, Shine 45, Matte 311.
The pigmentation of the eye shadows is insanely strong, I already had some and I am very happy with them. The pink one makes a beautiful blush. I will also add the numbers tonight in case you are interested in them.
After trying the tightline shadows at the counter in Switzerland, I decided I would get a dark purple (Orchid Shimmer), but since I am into teals at the moment, I also got the new Deep Teal.
You probably already know their Caviar sticks ? I got the Turquoise and the limited edition Gold in the little set.
I have been looking for the Laura Mercier Satinee Crème Eye Colours for sooo long ! I asked all the LM counters but nothing was left… they have been discontinued for some time and are very hard to find. I stopped at the John Lewis LM counter and I saw the “Stone Suede” tester… I froze. Juan (the make up artist working there) asked if he could help me… Of course they did not had that shade in stock anymore, but can you believe that Juan offered me the tester ? I couldn’t believe it… I hunted this shade for so long ! they even had Peach Organza and Rum Satin ! I was so excited !!! I bought these two, plus I got the Stone Suede tester 99.99 % full as a gift… Juan is just made of pure kindness, I hope we will keep in touch ! Gracias Juan, un besaz0 para ti !
Swatches of Peach Organza, Rum Satin, Stone Suede, Gold caviar and Turquoise caviar :
I was interested in the Shu Uemura #12 eyeshadow brush, but after seeing the price, I decided not to get it..
Instead I left with the Shu Uemura 18R and a few other items.
Swatches of P Black 997, the BG931 and the CR330. I LOVE the CR330, the color is to die for and has a nice long lasting power for such a glossy finish!
Two brushes (small dome and large dome) and a nail polish called “Trouville”, terrible name by the way 😛
I use the Shade and Illuminate everyday so I got the brush that goes with it. Also the Gold Dust bronzer… couldn’t help it…
My friend Dena sent me some samples of the foundation a few weeks ago, she told me that it will work with my dry skin, it did and I loved it. I needed to buy the full size, I am shade 9 but also got a lighter one for the winter. The Gleam cream is fantastic and of course also the brush belt, I couldn’t leave without it !
Their new Smoked palette looked very tempting, the dark brown is perfect ! I will use all the shades for sure. I was looking for the Perversion eyeliner and this one is included in the palette. I am reviewing 20 black long-lasting eyeliners and wanted to include this one in the review.
I like their lip liners (not very long-lasting but really nice flattering colors) and also some of their brushes. When I saw this brush I thought it was very close to the Mac 217, I took it for review and comparisons but actually, I am liking it a lot !
I also got some other things, some backups (Ellis Faas foundation, By Terry lipgloss, etc), one Sleek by 3 blush palette and some MUA eyeshadow palettes to see how they perform, I already know the blushes and they are the best quality/price ratio ever, together with La Femme blushes.
There is a fantastic counter in Selfridges with many Muji acrylic organizers, I have some at home already and I always go there to get a few more… they also have tiny little spray bottles, I used them to put alcohol, or brush cleanser, or setting spray for make up… extremely helpful since they are so tiny but still big enough for a two week long holiday for example.
Bottom line : even if you are very selective, you will end getting many things so be prepared…
A bit about me and why I will travel anywhere just for make up…
Well, it’s not only for make up… I just can’t live without thinking of my next trip, I love planes, it’s such a huge interest that I normally attend the RIAT airshow each year in the UK. I have been closer to an Eurofighter that you could ever imagine, I met the Red Arrows several times in person, they are fantastic people and very fun to talk to, I also jumped out of a plane at 10’000 feet… I am literally obsessed with the technology behind flying machines, I will use whatever excuse to fly !
This time I was also meeting my friend Dena from Beautifulactivenourished. We had the most amazing time getting to know each other and also talking about make up and brushes ! She is so funny, generous and can’t wait to see her again !!!
We tried the ORA Thai restaurant – we loved it – and she took me to the tempting Whole Foods shop, paradise but with a price 🙂 So many tempting things to eat and drink !
We also had the funniest moment when we were talking blushes in a pub in Soho. Her husband was at the bar and we were sitting next to 7 cute guys in their 30’s 😛 Our conversation was very innocent but suddenly I think Dena said something like that “I used a Nars Org@sm at my wedding” (just read it out loud and you will understand…) all the guys stopped talking and stared at us, we all started laughing so hard ! of course they had no idea we were just talking make up !
I am so sorry, I did not notice the picture was so blurred…
I left on a Thursday, I nearly missed the plane because of an alarm clock problem, it had to be that day… I had only 45 minutes to pack my luggage and my make up and 20 to take a shower, wash my hair and put on my make up ! Glad I made it…
I always travel to London City airport, take the DLR at the airport and change at Bank to the Central line, you will be in the center of London very fast and easy !
I always stay at a hotel near Oxford Street, this time I was at the Cumberland in Marble Arch.
Pros : a fridge for your personal use, a bath (you have to tell them you prefer a bath instead of a shower, same price), nice clean rooms, beautiful hotel for the price. The location is perfect, outside Marble Arch underground station. Nice bar and restaurant. Real useful coffee, ironing and hairdryer facilities.
Cons : Don’t take a room close to the staff elevator, too noisy. The wifi is very expensive, I bought a pre-paid internet sim card but my room was so isolated that I had no reception. I had to spiderman the window to get the tiniest signal. The TV quality is awful but I don’t care about TV. Small rooms, but it could be worst.
I stayed in better hotels but they were much more expensive, actually I tried many so if you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask 🙂
These are my favorite places to shop (I am just mentioning some of the brands that are more difficult to find) :
Selfridges : Suqqu, RMK, Trish McEvoy, Illamasqua, Tom Ford, Shu Uemura, etc…
John Lewis : Burberry, Laura Mercier, Nars, etc…
The people working there have great manners, are extremely helpful and polite at all counters. Not only at the make up counters, it’s exactly the same everywhere else. The man working at the Olympic souvenirs was so polite and helpful, they won’t bother you, they are not intrusive at all.
They just started to carry the Burberry beauty line, I had bought the cut crease brush some time ago but did not know how to use it to get the most out of it, they helped me and did two different make up looks. Very helpful, I am not sure about the brush yet but at least I know now how to use it…
Spake NK : The now have Kevyn Aucoin in selected stores, also Hourglass and Ellis Faas, Chantecaille, etc..
Fenwick : Becca products, Sue Devitt or the Louise Young brushes…
Harrods : Tom Ford, Burberry, Dolce Gabbana, Chantecaille, etc…
I have the Harrods loyalty card, that you can purchase even if you don’t live in the UK. A few times per year they do a 10% discount (only in store). Also the points will allow you to get small discount vouchers, if you have that card you can benefit from these offers, better than nothing…
Liberty : Hourglass, Trish McEvoy, Shu Uemura, etc…
Westfield Shopping Centre : HUGE shopping centre, you will find Inglot, Kiko, the Make Up Store, Mac, etc…you need to go there.
The kind of shops that I don’t like…
House of Fraser : They have a nice website and online store, but I can’t stand how the employees follow you around like robots with questions “whatkindofmakeupdoyouwearwhatdoyouwearonyournailshowdoyouwashyourhands”, they do that all the time, you just can’t browse the counters, it’s impossible. It is an offensive technique and I just prefer to leave. They did that to me every single time I entered the shop, anytime of the year.
General shopping related tips and tricks
I bought these maps : http://www.streetsensation.co.uk/
I believe they cost 4£, mine are a bit out of date because I bought them many years ago but I still use them.
It will give you an idea of where the shops are and what underground station is nearby, extremely helpful !
Take good comfortable walking shoes. After the first day you will already need them. Go to Lush for example and buy some nice relaxing bath products. I took one for the feet and some for the bath. You will be exhausted and you will need something to get you going…
This is the stepping stone scrub for feet, you can break it into pieces and use it during 4 days… melt some of it with water and scrub your feet with your hands, it’s refreshing and moisturizing.
Eat, discover, enjoy, shop and unwind…
If you are alone, you can grab some nice Italian take aways and have a nice dinner in your room if you don’t feel comfortable eating on your own in the restaurant.
I tried to visit The Shard but was still not open to the public, we will need to wait till February 2013, so I had lunch at the AllBarOne nearby, nice tapas with wine !
At the Westfield Shopping center you can have half a lobster for 11 pounds (with chips and rice…) I think the place is called Le Palais du Jardin. I did that on Friday, it was my second glass of wine of the day and that was a bit too much for me… 😛
If you think you are going to take the underground later in the day, go to the station in the morning after 9am, take an off-peak day travel card and use it also with the buses on Oxford Street to travel between Oxford Circus and Marble Arch, it’s better than going to the underground station, faster and easier for these short trips.
If you live abroad and you need an internet access, roaming will be too expensive, you have the possibility to buy a temporary prepaid internet access if you absolutely need the internet during your stay, insert the sim in the phone or a tablet (that has to be unlocked) and have it activated.
Take time to relax. Have a scone, a beer, a coffee from time to time. In London there are many little parks, where you can sit and relax for a while. For example behind Oxfort Street, I go there, sit on the grass and have a picnic.
During this trip I tried to see the arrival of the Olympic flame at the Tower of London, I was there but did not see much of it unfortunately…
Don’t forget the theaters and the shows… I saw many of them already, I even met John Barrowman in person, he later sent me an autographed theater program and he wrote a few words for me… (Torchwood is one of my favorite tv series 😛 )
It depends where you live, in Switzerland you don’t often have the chance to attend events like the ones in Waterstones for example with the authors, you have the possibility to spend the evening with them, listening and even talking to them, I was really impressed, so if you like literature and want to meet the authors, try it, it’s magic ! Of course I did it and I could not believe I was talking to John Connolly !
I hope that this helps a bit and makes you want to go there, do you have any shopping ideas of other tips and suggestions ?
I already want to go back 😛