The London 2012 Olympics is here! Though I’m not really one into athletic sports, it’s definitely a time to be excited and at least get our bums off that couch. For those of you who are taking a trip to London, either to support your favourite sportsmen (and sportswomen), or just to soak up the lively atmosphere, here are my picks for the Top 10 UK Beauty Brands you should totally check out while you’re there!
1) Topshop Makeup
This probably doesn’t come off as a surprise, since Topshop is a highly successful British fashion brand with outlets in several countries outside of the UK. However, you may not realise this but the brand isn’t found in all European countries, such as France. The makeup range was only recently launched, and in some places, you can find the coveted Paperself lashes, which were also featured in The Hunger Games movie. The range is affordable, quirky and fits into the totes of many young, stylish college goers. Definitely worth checking out!
2) Molton Brown
Never tested on animals and “unmistakeably English” is Molton Brown, the brand that prides itself on bringing the indulgence of a good shower to one and all. If you’re thinking of getting presents from London, try the shower gel gift sets.
The unique concept behind Lanolips lies in… sheep. Yes, you read that right! Founder Kirsten Carriol developed a love for lanolin, a natural substance in freshly shorn sheep’s wool, and this gradually led to the formulation of a natural and pure lip ointment that was also moisturising and comfortable to wear. Since then, the range has also expanded to include products for the body, hands and nails. If you’re going to London from a more tropical climate, chances are, you’ll need something (with cute packaging to boot) to keep your skin hydrated.
This is one brand you definitely have to check out while you’re at it. Channel your inner Sasha Fierce with products from Illamasqua and create your own fantasy of vivid hues with rich pigmentation. Anyone can be a makeup artist with products this good, and that come in a wide variety of textures and shades. If you’re looking to stand out from the crowd of spectators, I’d say go for the eyeshadows and then dust some shimmer on top. Note: The Pure Pigments do require some primer to make them really go ra-ra!
5) Rococo Nail Apparel
Tired of the usual O.P.I., China Glaze and Essie? Give Rococo Nail Apparel a try. After all, the polishes come in a huge range of shades and finishes, and the formulas have been said to be excellent. The polishes can be found at Space NK stores and they usually retail for £12 each. OK I’ll cheat a little here and say try out nail polish brands Models Own and Butter London if you can as well.
So you’re done cheering on your country. And you’re done squeezing with the other thousands of people. And you also probably stink, or if not, are aching all over and your body needs a good rest. Take a trip to Space NK (before the games) and drop by the Beautannia counters for your body pampering fix. There’re products for both men and women so everyone can find something here. I’d recommend the Bloomsbury Bath Oil, whose scent is coated in nothing but luxury. The cosmetics pouches also make for great souvenirs for friends and family members back home!
7) Burberry Beauty
Inspired by the iconic plaid design of the original fashion label, Burberry Beauty is a decadent treat to the classically stylish woman out there. Of course it belongs in the high end range but who goes to London without at least taking a look at it? Featuring engraved lipsticks and compacts coupled with sleek packaging, the brand’s lure is hard to resist. If you’re bored in your hotel after a long day at the stadium and/or at the shops, you might take an interest in the magnetic clasp of the lipstick case.
8) Barry M
Barry M is considered the UK’s No. 1 fashion cosmetics brand and is a staple in every British girl’s makeup drawer. It’s not hard to see why. The brand has something in every nook and cranny of beauty product categories you can think of – lip colours, nail polishes, eyeshadows, mascaras, bronzers, blushes etc and even accessories! It’s like the Maybelline of Europe but better. Items are priced affordably, so you can stock up on as many things as you want (or maybe not).
9) Jo Malone
Nothing would make a girl-at-heart smile more than receiving something in the signature Jo Malone box. Something timeless, something elegant. Something with light cream and a little bit of black, sealed with a black ribbon bow. If you’re looking for gifts such as scent sheets for clothes drawers, luxury scented candles and body care products, spoil yourself with the selection at Jo Malone.
Penhaligon’s is another well-established perfumery brand from London that’s worth a sniff – and possibly some exchanging of pounds for. The brand houses different collections, each one with uniquely designed product packaging that takes you back to 19th century England. Each bottle of fragrance is so pretty, you’ll just want to own one of everything. Not only that, the scents are made from the finest rare ingredients and are concocted by the masters of the field. If Artemesia doesn’t cut it for you, try Bluebell, which used to be a favourite of the late Princess Diana.
Image credits: Defleppard Cover Band and Google Images