International Beauty: Best of the USA

International Beauty: Best of the USA

Continuing on with my International Beauty series (check out my French Skincare post if you missed it) next stop is the States. With Sephora opening in Sydney at the end of last year and Mecca going from strength to strength, there are very few brands and products that we still can't get our hands on over here, but they do exist and when you can't have something you want we all know it only makes you want it more. I have mentioned some brands/products in this post that we can now get at Sephora, but since most of the country can't get their hands on them and there are lots of brands that are still unavailable in the UK/EU I thought I'd include them anyway. So if you're into beauty and you're planning a trip to the States, here are some things you can't miss!

First up, the Lorac Pro Palette - this bad boy has done the rounds and has been all over blogs and youtube since it was released, but it's for good reason. Available in ULTA stores, this palette contains 8 matte and 8 shimmer shades and they're all beautiful and very high quality. I don't think I need to say much about this palette because you've probably heard about it a million times and it may already be on your wishlist. Another brand that is, as far as I know, unavailable outside of the US is Fresh, who make lovely tinted & clear lip balms. These are pretty expensive for what they are but I can't deny that they're lovely and I actually use the tinted berry shade far more than I thought I would. I got the lip treatment as a sample with an online Sephora order while I was over there and the tinted balm came in a huge kit of minis. I think they often do mini sets which are a much more cost effective way to try the brand, in fact there's currently a 5 pack of minis that I desperately want to get my hands on next time I feel like it's reasonable to spend $36US on lip balm.

Onto the drugstore, Wet & Wild is one of the most affordable brands on the market and the have a serious cult following when it comes to their eyeshadow formula which is very comparable to high end products. Their Comfort Zone palette is a staple and considering it comes in at under $5 it's definitely worth picking up. I also really recommend checking out Milani who have a lot of great products in their line, most notably their baked blushes, their colour statement lipsticks and their shadow eyez pencil in almond cream which makes for a great neutral base. 

Now, I have a lot of feelings about liquid eyeliner (lol) and I need to take a moment to express my profound level of love and appreciation for NYC's Liquid Liner which I absolutely insist you buy if you have the brand available to you. I wear liquid liner every day and I have very high expectations - it needs to be properly black and it needs to stay completely immaculate and in place until I decide it's time to take it off. No smudging, no flaking, no fading, no transferring to my upper lid. It's also very much a functional product for me (like cotton pads or bobby pins) - I know there are products that can perform the way I need them to and I know I can get them for a few dollars, so it's one of the few areas where I'm not interested in luxury because I don't want to have to spend $30 every few months re-stocking. I used to rely on Heng Fang (a Chinese brand I could buy for $1 a tube on eBay) for years until I couldn't find it anymore, but then this NYC liquid liner came into my life when I ran out of liner while on holidays. They have a pen in their range as well (don't bother, it sucks) but I prefer the bottle style liners anyway because you can get more product as you need it and I find pens tend to dry out quicker. I also have no time for gel liner because I haven't found one that really performs, and I'm not interested in setting my liner with black eyeshadow because I don't think I should have to. It took me a bit to get used to the thin, flexible brush tip (the Heng Fang one was a firm felt tip) but as long as you're careful it's actually a lot more precise and I can get a thinner line with it. I have been using the same tube for months and it's still going strong, and I have two backups that I bought before I came home so I'm set for a while, but in case I haven't been clear enough, this liner is $2.99US and if you can find it, you need to buy it.

Somewhere in the middle of drugstore and high end is Sonia Kashusk, whose line is only available at Target in North America but their Eye on Neutral Matte Palette is one of my favourite and most relied-upon palettes. It's got 12 neutral matte shades that apply and blend beautifully so you're covered when it comes to crease shades for every look you can think of. If you have either of the Naked Basics palettes by Urban Decay and you find them invaluable, this has double the shades so it's at least twice as good (yay maths!) and it's super versatile and great for travel. If you're in the states you can't really go past a look at Bath & Body Works for their candles and fun scented hand sanitisers. I love candles but they one of the least travel friendly items to buy so I only picked up a few and I'm trying to make them last. And I don't care one way or the other about hand sanitiser but when I'm faced with pumpkin spice and pecan waffle flavours I'm going to bite.

Now for products you may or may not be able to get your hands on depending on where you live, you really can't go past Tarte's Amazonian Clay Blushes which have a fantastic formula and a come in a tonne of beautiful shades. Their Tartelette palette (not pictured) is also unmissable if you are able to get your hands on it, and I'm a big fan of their Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Foundation. I haven't tried much from Make Up For Ever but I do love their Full Cover Concealer which has an awesome lightweight, high coverage formula that works just as well under the eyes as it does on the rest of the face. Bite Beauty have a huge range of lip products and they also have double ended minis at Sephora in the US, and although I haven't tried it myself I've heard amazing things about their Agave Lip Mask which is on my wishlist. Kat Von D is actually a really strong makeup line - her Tattoo Liner seems to be everyone's favourite and I did try out a mini of it and it meets all of my requirements except in terms of price, at $28AUD I can't justify buying a new one all the time but if you're happy to spend the cash it's a good one. I also really like her lipstick range and I'm really curious to try her Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks too. Speaking of liquid lipsticks, an absolute non-negotiable for anyone who wears red lipstick is the Sephora Cream Lip Stain in 01 Always Red. I heard they've expanded the line to include some more shades in the US so I'm praying they come to the Sydney store soon.

Josie Maran is widely available in Australia now through Mecca/Kit Cosmetics, but off the top of my head I don't think you can get her products in the UK/EU, so if you're heading across the pond from there her Coconut Watercolour Cheek Gelee blushes are gorgeous, and I've just recently picked up the light version of her Argan Oil too. And finally, just as a general recommendation, if you want to pick up anything from MAC or Clinique I've found them to be two of the most overpriced brands in Australia when you compare what they cost in the US. For example, a MAC Lipstick will set you back $16US, $36AUS, £15.50 or €19.00 - a little ridiculous, right? Also if you're looking at drugstore products they are generally way cheaper in the US and they often have a lot more shades available, particularly if you're looking for foundations. So if you're a bit makeup crazy like me and you're heading to the US anytime soon I hope this helps!