Nothing makes a woman’s heart flutter more than those black and white stripes that greet us in Sephora. There’s something really quite majestic about caring around one of those little monochrome bags with the red handles, even if there’s only a lip balm and a nail file inside. Although for years we’ve been crying out for our very own Sephora store in the UK, it seems that for the time being we’ll have to live with being forced (I say forced, I mean ‘willingly travel an excessive distance’) overseas for the privilege – or paying their pretty extortionate shipping fees. We may be fortunate enough to now get our hands on most of the brands that had us flocking to the stores like a bee to honey (Kat Von D, Tarte, Glossier, Becca and more are now available on the UK high street – whoop!) the Sephora own brand is my personal highlight of a trip into the ultimate beauty mecca. This much underrated and really affordable brand has so many gems to be discovered, and often imitates much higher end beauty brands while keeping the formulas accessible. On a recent trip to Paris I picked up a few gems (some I already loved and others I couldn’t wait to get to know,) and I thought I’d give you a little look at what they were…
Sephora Almond Hand Balm (£3.55)
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m obsessed with hand cream (you can never have enough right?) and this little tube of deliciousness had me at first sniff. Not only is the dinky tube cute AF, but it smells heavenly; if you’re a fan of the Laura Mercier pistachio hand cream but not the price tag, this is a great alternative. The formula is light and non-greasy, helping to soothe dryness and leaving skin feeling soft, making it perfect for popping in your bag or keeping in your desk drawer.
Sephora Coconut Dry Shampoo & Conditioner (£5.68 each)
Since I went back to a reddish hair tone I’ve been struggling to maintain my colour and condition, so have opted for washing and styling my hair as little as possible; dry shampoos are a godsend, but they can often leave hair feeling dry and looking dull. I picked these up on a whim as I love the smell of coconut, but they actually work really well – especially as a pair. The dry conditioner helps to absorb oil from the root witht white residue or weighing down hair, while the dry conditioner helps to add a very light spritz of moisture to reinvigorate your style. Although my hair isn’t as good as new, it’s fab when you need to dash out or just want to pop it up in a pony.
Sephora 4-Way Nail Buffer (£2.13)
These are the best buffers I think I’ve ever tried. Many years ago it was Lily Pebbles who recommended these to me and said she stocked up every time she was in Paris, and since then I’ve always had at least one in my possession. They help to buff away dull and flaky nails, without falling apart in the process or slacking on the nail filing side of things… A wise investment that looks pretty too.
Sephora Green Tea Moisturising Gelée (£7.10)
Recently I’ve gotten really into gelées and lighter moisturisers that help to hydrate without weighing down my skin; although at night I tend to turn to a rich cream or oil, in the day I’m lacking real patience and want my skincare to absorb as quick as possible. This looks like a cream but absorbs like water, leaving a fresh sensation on the skin without any residue whatsoever – it’s perfect for layering or for when you need a quick fix so you can rush out the door. It’s not hardcore skincare and the Green Tea element is there purely for scent and a story (although they claim it mattifies and balances skin, personally I find it just a great finishing touch) but it’s affordable and so handy for traveling.
Sephora Shea & Coconut Hair Sleeping Mask (£3.55)
Anything that claims to help get my hair in tip top condition is a winner in my book, and seeing these hovering by the till point in Sephora (good tactic guys) had me rummaging through and adding them to my basket in no time. In simplistic terms, these are basically hair nets that are infused with some goodness, which get to work as you sleep to (theoretically) leave you with princess hair the next morning. Realistically these are actually quite tricky to keep in place all night long if you’re a fidgety sleeper like me, but they are great little pick-me-ups and an innovative way to treat hair – even when having a long bath or sitting in front of the telly of an evening. They didn’t transform my hair, but it did feel softer and a touch more manageable after.
Sephora High Coverage Concealer (£9.94)
Ever since I was a teen I was obsessed with discovering the best concealers out there, and more often than not they come with a hefty price tag. My current faves include Bobbi Brown, Urban Decay, Anastasia and Benefit, but this is a great alternative and more affordable too. The creamy texture is easy to blend and offers great coverage, leaving dark circles reduced and blemishes covered practically effortlessly; it’s closest in texture to Urban Decay’s Naked Concealer, as well as having the same ‘flat’ applicator wand, so it’s easy to see where they were inspired! I’ve yet to find a concealer that’s completely crease free, but this comes pretty close.
Have you ever made a cheeky Sephora own-brand purchase? Which other gems do you think are worth discovering the next time I’m in store?
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