American Beauty



Sali Hughes bought all of the US beauty products so you don’t have to



I’ve been lucky enough to spend the past week in New York, working on some new videos for the site (coming in a couple of months). As soon as my work was done, I did as I do every single time I visit: I went crazy insane in Sephora and Duane Reade.


To me, there’s something utterly intoxicating about foreign chemists. Weird medications, unseen products from brands I thought I knew like the back of my hand, non-UK approved teeth whitening strips, retinol in higher doses, garish packaging with unfamiliar fonts that seem to have never quite made it across the Atlantic. It all makes me dizzy with excitement and really bloody irresponsible with my debit card.


So to save your bank account from the same fate next time you’re Stateside, I thought I’d list here the things I’ve truly loved from my rather indiscriminate array of purchases, and tell you what makes them so great…




300Eos Pomegranate and Raspberry Shave Cream, $3.49


 I always, always stock up on this whenever I’m in the States. Yes, you can now buy it here via Beauty Mart, but it’s literally four times the price. In America, this is a cheap as chips shaving cream with a wonderfully moist, creamy texture, that gives a really close shave and leaves legs soft and smooth. Crucially – and unlike most other moisturising shave creams – it rinses quickly out of your razor without any clogging. There’s a marvellous unscented version too.




Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelee, $22


 s1506559-main-heroOh God, I love it, I love it, I LOVE IT. This totally new discovery just screamed “TRY MEEEEEE” from the shelves of Sephora. Maybe it was the beautiful, shimmer-free shades (I bought Poppy Paradise and Honeymoon Honey but now regret not also snaffling Getaway Red), maybe it was the cute little glass pots, but I certainly know the words ‘Watercolor’ and ‘Gelee’ got me by the throat. This incredibly hydrating gel blush is absolutely perfect if, like me, you love wet-look, dewy cheeks but find liquid stains drying and unblendable. These are complete bliss to apply – soft and smooth (thanks to coconut oil) with plenty of playtime before bedding down for several hours’ wear. They go on great with fingertips or a duo-fibre blush brush and also dab prettily on the lips. So, so great.




s1040294-main-LheroAmazing Cosmetics Concealer, $28


I’d read about this in Allure, my favourite beauty magazine, and had already decided to get it before my ESTA had even come through. It’s a super-pigmented concealer that is surprisingly moist and comfortable for something that could literally hide a tattoo. It completely covers dark circles and spots and comes in an extremely impressive array of shades (name me one other concealer available in 20 colourways, because I’m at a loss). I bought Golden Ivory and it’s perfect. I went for the small tube because this cream is so concentrated that it will last the best part of a year, I know it. One last thing: unusually, you can whack this on over other make-up quite late in the day, and it looks fresh and smooth. I found this out purely by accident (I was being impatient) and was shocked to see such great results.




31bB5ZiFawLAltoids Sugar Free Smalls Cinnamon, $2.99 for 3 tins


America is a dreamworld for cinnamon lovers. Practically everything comes flavoured or scented with the stuff. Gum, fags, toothpaste, cream cheese, bread, even tissues – all are available with added spicy sweetness. Personally, I love the stuff, and never more so than in Cinnamon Altoids, my favourite mints (also available via Yes, I am mainly drawn to the excellent packaging (the tiny reusable tin is a design classic and totally chic in your handbag), but the mini-mints themselves are delicious, instantly freshening and satisfyingly strong. Remember that weird chewing gum, Dentyne, that dentists stocked in the 1980s? These basically taste like that.




p386478-av-01-LheroLiving Proof Prime Style Extender Spray, $20


 I am on record as being a massive fan of the original Primer from Chris McMillan and Jennifer Aniston’s excellent haircare brand, Living Proof. In fact, I didn’t think I could love it any more until I came across this, the new spray version for fine hair. What both the original and new do, quite simply, is stop your blowdry going stringy and grubby. They are the best weapons in the fight against greasy fringes and roots flattened by city grime. The only thing that separates the old and the new is that the spray version is better on those who found the original gel-creme too rich for their thin hair. I didn’t think I did, but this new version improves on the unimprovable.




s1584317-main-LheroBite Beauty SPF15 BB For Lips, $24


Okay, so the idea of a BB for lips is utterly ridiculous. But don’t let that put you off what is an absolutely brilliant tinted lipbalm with a damn near perfect finish. The colour, though soft, is very densely pigmented for a treatment balm, leaving a very definite tint that’s more like a sheer lipstick. The sharply shaped bullet keeps things lovely and neat, while the texture is definitely more hydrating than buttery. The colours are limited but gorgeous. I bought Tawny, wore it for a day (with the Josie Maran blush in Honeymoon Honey = perfection) and loved it so much I went back for Flush (which goes beautifully with the other blusher). I am now regretting my restraint as I will definitely run out before my next trip and possibly punch the wall.




s1167162-main-heroKate Somerville Goat Milk Cream, $55


 I rarely buy premium skincare when abroad because in all honesty, I can’t really justify spending lots of money on new things when I have a pile of creams at home still waiting to be tested. Kate Somerville is where I always make an exception. I simply do not understand why this amazing brand was withdrawn from sale in the UK (though it is available to ship here from Somerville’s website), but the decision is a Goddamn travesty. Every product in the line is excellent, but this is my fave. Anything with the word milk in it (*boak*) has to be bloody incredible to seduce me and this really, really is. A perfect day cream for dry and sensitive skins (if you’re oily, try her Oil-free Moisturiser, it’s magnificent), this is velvety, non greasy, creamy, calming and ultra softening. It’s like a Vi-spring mattress for foundation, a fireblanket for redness and irritation. It contains nothing nasty, only beautiful oils, natural acids and reliable humectants. Just lovely.




tumblr_n15ss3o3ky1qiis88o1_500Maybelline Master Glaze Sticks, $8.99


 I bought one of these last time I was in America and decided I’d get more shades on my next trip. They are highly pigmented chubby sticks of blush that go on brightly and creamily to leave behind a shimmery but not sparkly gleam (I’m trying not to say frosty here because that gives a bad impression, but the term wouldn’t be out of place). Master Glaze (good name) can be worn alone or as a highlighter over the top of another blush. They show up for hours and look really cool. Warning: unlike most creme blushers, these aren’t for a natural, barely-there flush. They’re cheekier – in every sense of the word. And I love them for it.


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