Fall, 2016 research trip: two weeks, four countries, three large suitcases. I am back with enough new and exciting skin, hair and makeup gems to cheer me up each day during the upcoming miserably cold time of year. Still very much high from seeing familiar faces, meeting new friends, and partaking in countless breakfasts, lunches and nights out – I’m writing to share my recent finds and re-emphasize some of my all time favorite imports.
It may take a few weeks to go through everything as the swag bags are overflowing with product so please be patient and watch this space as reviews will start popping up very soon.
Every great trip starts and ends at duty-free. The L’OCCITANE store at Boston’s Logan Airport had me within its doors the second I spotted the brand new Harmonie Divine duo. A huge thank you to the brand for surprising me with this set upon my arrival home.
111SKIN & 111CRYO
Within 24 hours of landing at Heathrow, I popped by the brand new 111CRYO chamber at Harvey Nichols to fight the jet lag. In a word: amazing. After three minutes in -83° Celsius, my body was powered up to take the city by storm. Loved catching up over rooftop coffee with Eva Alexandrides and Daniel Smith. Thank you for sending me home with the new 111SKIN Cryo Energising Face Serum.
CLARE FORDE PR
Obsessed with the phenomenal brands, with which this boutique agency works, it was pure joy to talk all things beauty with my favorite publicist, Nathalie Smith. Things to look out for: Swell Hair. Other gems under their care are Alpha-H (can’t live without), Emma Hardie (best cleansing balm in the world), Egyptian Magic (spotted at duty-free as well!) and Om Skincare (purity meets excellence). A most pleasant crew to work with without a doubt.
Always fun, caught up with the brand’s Managing Director, Helen Goldie and her team at the EH HQ. Keep your eyes out for genius travel kits, a new dual exfoliator as well as an anti-aging hand cream, all of which are coming soon. The mini Moringa Cleansing Balm wins the try-me game and the formula in general is my ultimate desert island masterpiece.
Nothing tops a morning coffee with the JO LOVES team followed by an in-store visit choc full of surprises. Just released in the UK, the brand new book ‘My Story’ penned by Jo herself is coming Stateside on November 29th. The brand new scent, Smoked Plum & Leather, is a perfect addition to your fragrance wardrobe this Fall. Generously gifted the seasonal Christmas Trees candle, I am transported to a holiday setting with every sniff.
Meeting Arabella Preston, the makeup artist turned massive eco-luxe player in the skincare arena was a major beauty highlight. Gracious and passionate, she explained the Votary concept and formulas in the gorgeous setting of Liberty London and sent me home with a complexion perfecting trio that is just superb. Naturally.
A night out for drinks with this brand’s ambassador is always a good idea. Current obsessions: the entire Bursting Cuju & Lime range, Orange & Bergamot Room Fragrance, Coco & Sandalwood Body Wash and of course, Gingerlily anything. There is no other treat as quintessentially British as Molton Brown.
Because I never turn down an elixir that keeps me full, healthy and glowing from within – a bag of new to me EQUI London supplement came home in a carry-on to avoid the chance of getting lost. Taken care of by Lauren Mills of Bux & Bewl (with whom I enjoyed breakfast, dinner and a night out all on separate occasions – don’t hate), I learned firsthand about the effects of vitamins, minerals and herbs on our complexion. Loving the pomegranate flavor in my morning smoothies.
A chance meeting and swift insta-dialogue, resulted in a morning spent with the amazing Kelly Marks of PURE PR. Finishing each other’s sentences, we spent quality time in the showroom where I gushed constantly over my many staples. Think Goldfaden MD, Perricone MD, Anthony and Yes To (literally everything). A major surprise was being introduced to Ingenious Beauty – one of the most intriguing supplements I came across.
A London visit wouldn’t be complete without seeing Tomi Ahmed and Leo Gibbons of IIUVO, my favorite fragrance duo. Over a wine fueled lunch on Dover Street, I learned about the (some, top secret for now) incredible, new brand developments and activities. As I am burning the sold out Bullshit candle, I am counting the days down til their upcoming NY visit!
There is always an excuse to stop by the ultimate drugstore beauty mecca. This time, my brief visit resulted in the usual Vaseline lip tins (featuring the limited edition Lulu Guinness one) and some Garnier SkinActive Tissue Masks. Because you can never have enough sheet masks – especially when traveling.
The day before leaving for Paris, I got in the mood by stopping in to the Diptyque store in Notting Hill. Mesmerized by the original cabinetry and the most incredible staff, I picked up the (impossible to find Stateside) Nourishing Lip Balm that underwent clever repackaging recently. Every brand out there, please take note: a single purchase of most likely the lowest priced SKU came with a carefully assorted lot of FOURTEEN samples. Merci beaucoup!
You can disagree with the grass being greener all you want but the Space.NK stores in London have that ‘it’ factor, missing ever so slightly in the US. Atmospheric and welcoming, it was time to try something completely new to me – Skinesis Overnight Facial. Because if I had to read yet another rave about this award winning Sarah Chapman formula without experiencing it myself, I was going to scream.
The gorgeous windows get me every time. This trip, the Shakespeare inspired merchandising lured me in within seconds. The Victoria Beckham for Estée Lauder Bronzer looked too good to pass up and so it’s currently being tested. P.S. I am desperately trying to bring warmth to my complexion during this cold spell.
Since I needed to replenish my Tom Ford Bronzing Gel (clearly, have a thing with bronzers), I had an excuse to linger in the recently renovated beauty hall (magnificent!) a while. Always stop by the rooftop for a glass of champagne or four.
Introduced to the product line by a follower on Instagram, the extremely affordable Bielenda SuperPower Mezo Serum and Cream are impressing me thus far. The range is rather elaborate with formulas for every skin type and age group. Personally, I went with the Mandelic Acid driven duo for skin with imperfections.
ANJA RUBIK ORIGINAL
If you’re ever in Poland, stop at Inglot to find Anja Rubik’s fragrance, Original. It retails for around fifty bucks, depending on the exchange rate, which is less than half of what you pay on net-a-porter and Barneys. You’re welcome.
I admit to having a fetish for European deodorants in aerosol cans. Nobody can convince me we get the the same stuff in the States. No way, no how. I stock up on Nivea every trip and this time, I snagged one from Garnier as well.
BERLIN – TEGEL AIRPORT
TSA friendly and a must-buy whenever in Germany, the original Nivea Creme is unbeatable. A throwback to my childhood, the white, creamy goodness smells heavenly and works its magic during the winter like no other product does. Yes, it’s mineral oil and yes, I use it on my face. Another German classic: the Herbacin hand cream with chamomile (aka Kamille).
Within hours of my arrival in Paris, I shared some wine, and heard all about Marisa Berenson from the brand’s PR expert and fellow beauty enthusiast, who coincidentally happens to have grown up in a Polish town not too far from my hometown. Paris is always a good idea and I had planned on sleeping very little, so Marisa’s Filler provided the much needed coup d’eclat.
Beyond lucky, I scored an invite to the Chrisophe Robin salon where after a lovely chat with the hair guru himself, I indulged in a miraculous hair and scalp purifying treatment. The gorgeous setting is a pure perk – the skills of stylists here are on another level. Also, the Multi Purpose Hair and Body Balm in travel size goes with me everywhere.
FRENCH PHARMACY HAUL
OMG where do I begin? Avène has a men’s range, Caudalie galore, Homeplasmine, Mag2 capsules, Serozinc, Bioderma everything. My ADD was in high gear and this haul may very much inspire a standalone post coming your way very soon.
Mandatory, a farewell duty-free treat is the ubiquitous Lancome Energie de Vie liquid serum moisturizer hybrid. Too early to tell but it smells fresh, absorbs nicely but may be a better fit for Spring/Summer than Fall/Winter. Stay tuned.