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Mon, Jul 15, 2024

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The London Beauty Guide: Where And What To Shop

I have always been quite fascinated by the British beauty market. In terms of its assortment, it is only inferior to the US market, and new brands come almost every month. Most of the brands are sold internationally (thanks to the Cult Beauty and Feelunique deliveries), so even Charlotte Tilbury has ceased to be something exotic. 

But beauty shopping in London has its both: a great pleasure and a great chance to get to know iconic and rare products in person. We should only know the route and prepare a decent shopping plan.

Where: Harvey Nichols

109-125 KNIGHTSBRIDGE, BELGRAVIA, LONDON

There are six main beauty spots in London, each within a half-hour walk from each other. Let's start with Knightsbridge, the most luxurious area of London. Here, among the houses with white columns, is located one of the oldest department stores in London: Harvey Nichols.

What: Fenty Beauty

Harvey Nichols didn't stand out on the London beauty map for a long time until it became the first UK outlet for Fenty Beauty. Like or dislike Rihanna’s music, but she and her team have revolutionized the world of beauty: coming first with a truly wide range of beauty products matching all skin tones, and working for all skin types. I would suggest having a look at the brand’s on-the-go products. For example, I just love their Match Stix Skinsticks with magnetic packaging. They are so versatile in use, and so practical and convenient to keep in your travel makeup bag. I also really like their small makeup brushes, as well as blotting papers with probably the most gorgeous packaging that blotting sheets could possibly have. 

Where: Selfridges 

400 OXFORD ST, MARYLEBONE, LONDON

Take a thirty minute walk through Hyde Park and you are on Oxford Street, at Selfridges. It's one of the biggest department stores in London, so if you're limited on time, just go there. You will find over a hundred beauty brands and a great selection of mini travel essentials as well.

What: Aesop

 This recently popular Australian brand has a line with parsley and a cream with tangerine, but my recommendation goes a little beyond the standard beauty framework. I always advise to take a closer look at something more interesting: Aesop Post-Poo Drops. In a pot-bellied bottle with a pipette is a powerful odor neutralizer. Five drops are enough to start smelling citrus and flowers in the room. You can use them in the bathroom and even in the kitchen.

Where: Space NK

285-287 REGENT ST, MARYLEBONE, LONDON W1B 2HH

A walk from Selfridges to Space NK (the mecca of British beautyjunkies) takes only eleven minutes. Space NK is known for selling exclusive brands such as Dr Dennis Gross, by Terry, Kevyn Aucoin, Dr. Barbara Sturm and Sunday Riley. The last one has been the top best selling brand at Space NK for several years now, thanks to its famous facial oils. 

What: Rare Beauty

When I think about the Space NK store, what really pops in my mind is Rare Beauty. Space NK was the first and only retail selling Selena’s beauty products, long before the Sephora chain decided to join. I’m a fan of Rare Beauty, because it is not just another celebrity brand. Rare Beauty wants to make you feel beautiful without hiding your individuality. And this is the main idea of the brand. My favourite line from the brand is Stay Vulnerable. I think they did an amazing job in creating one of the best cream blushes on the market, as well as the lip balm. The formulas are just heavenly good, as well as the cute and minimalistic packaging. 

Where: Liberty

REGENT ST, CARNABY, LONDON

From Space NK to Liberty (the most beautiful department store in London) you will walk in exactly six minutes. Fun fact: the taken pictures of Westminster and the black-and-white facade of the Liberty has almost equal number of pictures posted under the hashtag #London on Instagram. 

What: Jones Road

For those who prefer natural looking makeup, then why not to try the new brand created by famous makeup artist Bobbi Brown? Go straight to Liberty, as only there you can find its products. On the brand's website, Bobby says, "Jones Road is a growing collection of simple, smart products for all ages, skin types and skin tones to help women achieve a natural no-makeup look." The brand's philosophy is to make an emphasis not on quantity, but on quality. Where quality means without using aggressive components. Perhaps the most beloved and popular product from Jones Road is their Miracle Balm as it serves as a moisturizer, skin tint, highlighter, and blush, just all at once. 

Where and What: Jo Malone London 

101 REGENT ST, MAYFAIR, LONDON

If you're a fan of Jo Malone London, then within three minutes from Liberty you'll find their flagship store on Regent Street. They have truly unique, limited edition fragrances. By the way, did you know that you can choose a cap of your favorite color and engrave it? The fragrances are sold strictly in the boutique, so you won't find them online.

Where: Boots

44-46 REGENT ST, W1B 5RA, LONDON

From the Jo Malone London boutique, you can walk to Piccadilly Circus in a couple of minutes, where Boots Pharmacy is located. Boots is a so-called drugstore where you can buy everything from antibiotics to Maybelline mascara. The number of Boots pharmacies can only compete with Pret a Manger eateries! Boots in Piccadilly is the largest store in the city, with two floors and hundreds of brands to choose. 

What: Soap & Glory

The brand I associate with Boots is Soap & Glory, for sure. If you go to the store you would probably find yourself standing and gazing at the quirky and brightly designed beauty products with catchy names. You just can’t not spot Soap & Glory! The British brand gives customers not only the quality of products and reasonable price tag, but also a fun experience. 

Soap & Glory places a major emphasis on smells in their products, so if you love a distinct aroma in your beauty routine, the brand is for you. (But be careful, if you are allergic or you have sensitive skin!). 

What I definitely recommend for everybody who uses makeup and sunscreen on a daily basis, is their Glow Your Mind Nourishing Cleansing Balm. It dissolves make-up so easily, that the first step of washing becomes noticeably faster and easier. The smell is barely perceptible here, so you do not get tired of using it!

Where: Covent Garden

London N12

You can walk from Piccadilly Circus to Covent Garden in ten minutes. Covent Garden is dotted with beauty shops: there is a huge Bobbi Brown store and a cozy Diptyque Paris, as well as a NARS flagship boutique.

What: DECIEM

While in London, you can’t help but go to visit DECIEM. Everything has already been said about The Ordinary, but it would be a mistake not to buy Resveratrol 3% + Ferulic Acid 3%. You just won't find cheaper antioxidants! Deciem's real hits are in the second room, where the famous jars of retinol and hyaluronic acid wait for its shoppers. I also highly recommend trying their makeup products such as serum foundations. You won’t find anything better for such a small price.

The more premium brand by Deciem is called NIOD. These products sometimes come with completely unpronounceable names that you can’t figure out without a consultant’s help. But NIOD Copper Amino Isolate Serum 2:1 can be taken right away. The serum is not focused on getting rid of wrinkles or lifting, but on the health and "well-being" of the skin, and the longer you use the serum, the better your skin will look. 

 

What else: Glossier

But if you are a bit tired and bored of hearing about DECIEM, then you should go and visit perhaps the most crowded store with millennials and Gen Z people in Covent Garden: the only one permanent Glossier beauty store in London. Although Glossier experiences rough times at the moment (the brand has a visible decline in its popularity and sales), the boutique itself is so beautiful that you simply can not miss that experience. And we can not deny that the blush Cloud Paint still deserves its hype: the formula is so easily blendable, feels light as air on your skin, and looks extremely natural. 

 

 

 

 

 

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