When I was growing up, America seemed like the most glamorous place on Earth. I envied any school mates who were lucky enough to venture across the pond and faked a smile when they returned with their Abercrombie hoodies, Hollister Jeans and Victoria’s Secret body sprays. Fast forward a decade and the array of cosmetics and skin care that Ireland now offers has come on leaps and bounds, but there remains a few golden nuggets that have yet to find Irish distributors.
Because I may as well have a direct debit to Sephora, Ricky’s and Duane Reade (I just can’t pass them without taking a peak), here are some of my recent favourites that are exclusive to the USA.
Anastasia Beverley Hills
If you follow any contour queen worth their salt on Instagram, then you will already be familiar with this brand. I have been using the holygrail of eyebrow products, the Dip Brow Pomenade since the week I arrived and I can agree that the hype is warranted. Last week, I laid eyes on their newly unveiled Glow Kit and my inner magpie succumbed. ($40, Sephora.)
Sea Breeze Actives Astringent
Since moving here, I really missed Garnier’s cheap and effective Micellar water. When a family friend asked my mum to bring some bottles of this toner home to her, I had to find out what the suss was. For a mere $5, this product acts like a hoover to really extract all makeup and impurities from your pores (essential in a city this polluted). It leaves a tingling feeling on your skin which it claims is a sign that the concoction is really working its magic. ($5, All good drug stores.)
Thayer’s Rose Petal and Witch Hazel
Ditto above. This gentle and soothing Rose Water that I picked up in my local health store leaves your face cleansed, soft and clean. ($7.99, Rickys and GNC Live Well Stores.)
The elusive Crest whitening strips were always one product I hounded US-bound friends to bring back to me over the years. They are slightly pricy (approx $50) but definitely deliver bang for their buck – afterall, aren’t Americans synonomous with glowing pearly whites? (All good drug stores.)
If there’s one thing New Yorkers love and depend on, it’s coffee. Every single block in the city is inundated with cafés offering a good old cuppa joe and in a place this busy, it’s practically essential. I’ve found a new way to incorporate coffee though. I’ve taken to starting my day by scrubbing with the stuff – by massaging some Desert Essence oil or a handful of Franks Body scrub onto my skin with a loofa. It leaves your skin incredibly soft, plus the aroma definitely does wonders to wake you up in the morning. (Desert Essence is sold at Whole Foods and selected health stores, Franks Body online.)
Ok picture the scene in Friends where Ugly Naked Guy makes his infamous appearance. Well, I feel I’m probably referred to as Hanibal Lectar Girl by the people who live in the apartment blocks opposite me. Very few of the apartments, including mine, have blinds or curtains so the neighbours must get a fright when they see me sitting on my usual spot on the floor typing away wearing what can only be described as a terrifying-looking sheet mask. (I also once gave my room mate the fright of her life when I walked out of the bathroom in what she calls the ‘Mrs Doubtfire Mask’.) But the embarrassment is worth it, these moisture soaked babies are like a drink of water for your face, giving your cells the hydration they are crying out for.
(My favourite versions are by Peter Thomas Roth, Yes To Tomatoes and Sephora’s own brand.)
Like the ubiquitous little black dress, I’m on an eternal search for the perfect nude lipstick. I really feel like I have finally struck gold with H&M’s affordable and impressive collection of glosses, pencils and pigment-packed bullets. And for a mere $10, who can resist stocking up.