As we become more & more globally connected, you might think that drugstore beauty brands are the same in every country, but that’s far from true. Product lines are released at different times, under different names, or sometimes not at all, so my head was totally spinning the first time I walked into Boots. For the most part, we have reasonable access to the same products and brands, with a few key differences. After spending six months in England, my time roaming the aisles of Boots and Superdrug to find what was new, different, interesting, and exciting is finally being put to good use.
Although you may be able to find the products I’ve recommended online (often at exorbitant markups), I haven’t included any products that can often be found in retail stores, like Rimmel (most drugstores), Makeup Revolution (Ulta), Soap & Glory (Ulta, Walgreens), and No 7 (Ulta, Walgreens). In the UK you won’t find drugstore mainstays like Cover Girl, Neutrogena, Milani, or Wet N Wild, but you can find Aussie, Garnier, Simple, Sally Hansen, elf, and NYX with ease.
Similar to Walgreens (and also owned by the same company), Boots carries French pharmacy brands like Avene, La Roche Posay, Nuxe, and Bioderma, with the assortment varying by the store size & location. Prices are much cheaper in the UK than we see here in the States, but more than you’d pay in Paris, as you might expect.
I’ve photographed & reviewed my favorite products in the gallery below, but there are a few products that I no longer have on hand or would highly recommend that didn’t quite ascend to the main stage.
- Lulu Guinness x Vaseline anything & everything – the packaging is too adorable to pass up
- Our favorite L’Oreal foundations come with a pump! As a result, I rediscovered True Match and picked up a backup Pro Matte. I would have also grabbed a Pro Glow, but it hadn’t been released yet. Maybelline Fit Me Matte & Poreless is also available in a handy squeeze tube!
- Max Factor is readily available and although there are many products that are step-in-step with Cover Girl, many classics remain, including full coverage foundations and cream blushes.
- Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet lipsticks feel like a liquified Maybelline matte lipstick or one of the L’Oreal Pro Matte Glosses with slightly less pigmentation. The formula is thin & it’s pleasant to wear, so if a color strikes your fancy, go for it! My favorite is shade #10, a pinky purple nude.
- Nivea Pearl & Beauty Roll-On Deodorant – I’ve never had as strong of an affinity for a deodorant as I have for Nivea’s Pearl & Beauty range. My very sensitive underarms riot when exposed to almost any product, but this alcohol-free formula managed to keep up with me. It’s not the most bulletproof formula, but it worked well in England’s cool climate and I consider buying it in bulk off Amazon at least once a week.
If I’ve missed one of your favorite products or if you have a suggestion for my next trip, please let me know in the comments below. Now, onto the recommendations!
When I first started blogging, everyone swore that bottles of the iconic Elnett hairspray purchased in Europe were exponentially better than the formula sold in the US. I preciously rationed a bottle a friend brought back for me from a trip because I believed in the hype despite any evidence to the contrary. Beauty retailer/occasional salon Ricky’s NYC went so far as to import bottles at ridiculous prices. Although most of the effusive “what to buy in Paris” blog posts making these superiority claims have long been buried deep within Google’s search results, the pull of Elnett remains strong. I went through several mini bottles of the hairspray while I was in England and one day while picking up yet another bottle, I saw that a new product was added to the Elnett collection.
Creme de Mousse is a formula with claims to be a cream/mousse hybrid, leaving hair touchable while still holding your style. I only use a small, palm-sized amount spread throughout my roots when I blow out my hair. I love the results and I’ve continued to use it since I returned home. I agree that the results are fantastic and less crunchy than most mousse formulas I’ve used.
I think I paid about £5, but you can pick it up from Look Fantastic for $8.50.