Thanks to our proximity to our European cousins and a raft of home-grown talent, the British beauty scene is seriously covetable. What we lack in Sephora, we make up for with a handful of specialist stores (did you know Space NK is a British business?) and the indomitable Boots. If you can imagine a place with all the drugstore goodness of CVS but with the high-end brands of Saks’ mixed in, plus snacks and a pharmacy, that’s Boots. Oh, and they’re everywhere. No, really – 90% of the UK live within a ten minute radius of a Boots location. With all those beauty treasure troves in mind, here’s the best beauty products to stock up on in London.
Firstly, Collection Cosmetics is a must-try. Their Lasting Perfection Concealer is a fave of beauty influencers with a texture and payoff similar to Tarte Shape Tape for about $6. The whole range is worth exploring: the make-up setting spray, primer and range of mascaras all come in at under $10 but perform like something twice the price. Find it in Boots and Superdrug while you’re here.
Then, Medik8. They do offer shipping to the US, but right now, it’s far cheaper to pick up this award-winning skincare line while you’re here in the UK. Beloved by dermatologists and beauty editors alike, Medik8 does high-performance, clinical skincare at very reasonable prices. Their Liquid Peptides Serum uses a special encapsulation method referred to as “drone delivery” to ensure the peptides get to the exact right part of your skincare before “releasing.” Their Hydr8 B5 Serum rivals La Mer when it comes to hydration and their C-Tetra Vitamin C range is super-active. This is a brand punching above its weight when it comes to performance and price point.
Did you know we Brits love to tan? Because we do. It’s sunny for about eight minutes a year, so we really go through the bronzer to compensate. Our breakout star of the bronzing scene is Isle Of Paradise. Vegan, cruelty-free and super affordable, the line is the brainchild of celebrity tanner and skin finisher Jules Von Hep and he’s thought of everything. There’s tanning mousses, waters and spritzes to make application easy, colour-correcting pigments in all the products for a natural finish, and all the products have a fresh scent. Find it in Boots.
Want to try something really luxurious? It has to be Sarah Chapman. The Chelsea-based facialist has worked her magic hands on everyone from Meghan Markle to Victoria Beckham to Gigi Hadid. While securing an appointment with her might be as rare as gold dust, you can pick up her award-winning skincare range easily in the UK. Her Ultimate Cleanse is a rich, balmy, melt-everything-offer cleanser and her Facialift tool makes a sculpting lymphatic drainage massage easy. But her perennial best-seller? Overnight Facial. This retinol-infused serum gives you mega results while you sleep, banishing dull, dry skin and giving you a well-rested glow. Find her range in Space NK or department stores like Harrods.
“Thanks to our proximity to our European cousins and a raft of home-grown talent, the British beauty scene is seriously covetable.”
Last but not least? Josh Wood Colour. Wood caters to the cream of the beauty crop, with Kylie Minogue, January Jones, and Elle Macpherson all making the pilgrimage to his west London salon. Happily for the rest of us, he also launched a home hair colour line in 2018. The line boasts everything from ammonia and PPD-free box dyes to hue-boosting Shade Shots to a rejuvenating deep-conditioning mask. He also offers Tinted Dry Shampoo, three kinds of root concealers, and affordable colour care shampoo and conditioner. The most expensive thing in the range is the box dye at around $20, although most prices are closer to $10. Yes, that’s right – ten dollars for salon-created-and-approved hair colour and care to use at home. Woods, we are not worthy. Pick it up in Boots or online.