Tips for beauty shopping in the US & the UK

I love to travel and one thing I love to look for when I am traveling are make up and beauty products. My main goal is of course to find items that are difficult or impossible to get where I live. Also if I can get products a lot cheaper, then buying something while traveling can be a good idea. Most of my travels have taken me to the US and the UK and that’s why I know those countries best in terms of beauty shopping. These are my tips.

tips for make up shopping beauty shopping in the us & the uk

Tips for shopping make up & beauty products

I mostly buy make up when I travel. Firstly, I simply love make up more than general beauty products. Secondly, because make up products are generally small and a lightweight. Beauty products such as shower gels and body lotions are big and bulky and can weigh down your suitcase quite heftily. Make up is therefore ideal to buy when you travel: it is small, compact and if you ensure you wrap everything carefully and carry powder products in your hand luggage, they will survive long haul flights and train journeys just fine.

Tip #1: Have a wishlist. In my experience finding yourself in a foreign store with loads of brands and products you don’t know, can be quite overwhelming. Most of the time I don’t know where to start. Which is why it’s a good idea to do some research. What are some of the most popular products? Where can you buy them? Will you be close to that store or not? I find that especially in the US, it can be difficult to track down certain brands as many are only sold in particular stores, which will not be located closely to one another.

Tip #2: Focus on drugstore products. Most high end products can easily be ordered online. True, that will cost you a sweet penny, but it is still doable. What is much harder to get a hold of are drugstore brands as they are usually not sold online. If they are, it is usually from websites that do not ship to anywhere where you might live. This is why I mostly focus on buying drugstore products and just swatch the high end stuff to my heart’s content and make a note for future reference to know what shades appealed to me.

Tip #3: Know where to go. It is good to try and track down the better stores beforehand. Look up reviews on Yelp or Google to see which stores have the friendliest staff and the better stock. You may have a Sephora just around the corner, but if it is the size of a broom closet, chances are they are unlikely to sell the full selection. If you go to the US, Ulta may be hard to track down as they aren’t as abundant. The same goes for Superdrug in the UK. They are there, but they may require a bit of searching.

Tip #4: Shop in resident areas. If you can, shop at stores in resident areas over touristy ones. Chances are that many tourists are on the hunt for the same products. Try finding the Collection concealer on Oxford Street and you’ll be hard pressed to find it. Go to the Boots at Liverpool Street Station or the Superdrug on The Strand and you have a much bigger chance of finding a good selection of products that aren’t already opened and used up. It simply helps to find stores that are located in areas that are less frequented by tourists.

Tip #5: Set a budget. When traveling I am not too aware of the money I spend. That’s what I save up for so I can take everything out of my trip and enjoy it to the fullest. Shopping is part of that, but still it is good to set a limit as to how much you want to spend and what you want to spend it on. This will allow you to make the hard choices and cut back where needed.

To end this blog post I thought I’d include some product tips that I think you HAVE TO buy if you are visiting either of these two countries.


  1. Collection Lasting Perfection concealer
  2. Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine nail polish
  3. Soap & Glory Archery Brow pencil
  4. Sleek Make Up I-Divine eyeshadow palettes
  5. Topshop lipsticks (only at Topshop, or the beauty haul in Selfridge’s)
  6. Rimmel Lasting Finish Nude foundation
  7. Soap & Glory Solar Powder bronzer
  8. I Heart Make Up Love Hot Summer bronzer
  9. Make Up Revolution Fortune Favors the Brave eyeshadow palette
  10. Make Up Revolution Contour palette


  1. Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer
  2. Maybelline Fit Me Concealer
  3. Milani blush (either the baked or the rose petal ones)
  4. L’Oreal La Palette Nude eyeshadow palette
  5. ELF Rich Rose baked blush (at Target)
  6. NYX Prismatic eyeshadow (at ULTA)
  7. NYX HD concealer (at ULTA)
  8. Maybelline Matte lipsticks
  9. Wet N Wild eyeshadow palette
  10. L’Oreal True Match foundation

What are your tips?

4 responses to “Tips for beauty shopping in the US & the UK”

  1. Amen to this!!! I love this post! I didn’t do this the first time I went to Singapore. I ended up regretting it a lot. It was the first time I discovered Etude House and at that time I didn’t even know about Tony Moly or the Face Shop… I now always plan my trip ahead. I indeed make a wish list and I even plan my expenses by looking up how much everything is going to cost. I print my metro map and already indicated on it where I can find which shops. I also make sure that my hotel is nearby a shopping complex where I can go make up shopping when my BF is still sleeping until 10 am… Then I have plenty of time to go make up shopping in the morning! xoxo Sarah

  2. Great tips. I agree about focusing on drugstore items. Ordering those items online usually cancel out the drugstore pricing.
    Setting a budget is the toughest part for me! 😛 I get too excited when I see brands we can’t get at home!
    Your US shopping list looks great. I highly recommend Milani baked blush in Luminous – it’s one of my favourite blushes at any price range.
    I’ve just started using the Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer and while it’s a beautiful finish, I should caution you that it is HIGHLY fragranced. Like, I’ve never ever smelled any makeup product so strongly scented – it’s so potent!

    • Oh me too! I get super excited and always make the excuse that I cannot get it at home.
      And the items on the list are ones I already own and love. Still working on my shopping list for my upcoming trip.

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