Best of the US (and their UK counterparts)
NYC for a week, and what do I have to show for it?
Jetlag, feet ripped to shreds, several texts from my bank asking what the f**k is going on and a cat that isn’t speaking to me.
But also -
Perspective. A diary filled with dancing, drinking and discovery. Some secrets you’re not allowed to know.
Oh, and a shed. load. of. products.
On arrival at my apartment, it took all of 45 minutes to locate and raid my local Sephora. God bless google maps. In stormed I, all dark glasses, demands, posh accent and ‘big holiday energy’, slathering on a bit of every product and brutally tossing aside the ones that didn’t make the grade. Just like Princess Margaret on her Island, except replace ‘products’ with ‘men a third of her age’.
My beauty tour of NYC has yielded a few absolute bangers. Some are available here, others aren’t, but all are cheaper across the North Atlantic. I’ve stuck alternatives down too, that are much more readily available here in the UK.
DR JART TIGER CICAPAIR GRASS CREAM, £36
A cult product, and with good reason. This was a game changer following a flight that dried my skin to levels of powdery corpse. My neck in particular, for some reason, gave the illusion I was either sporting a flakey choker or was in recovery following a bout with Sweeney Todd. I get scared of having dry skin in the sun, and this worked to soothe it almost instantly. It’s thick & sludgy, slightly grey and smells of the doctor’s. I love it when a product is as ugly as this, finding it unfussy & comforting. You can just imagine it sneering at snowflakey insta brands like Aesop* as it works on getting stuck in.
*I obviously love Aesp, being something of a snowflakey instagrammer myself.
SHAFFALI PINEAPPLE & PEPPERMINT EXFOLIANT, $46
Well this is very unfair of me, as despite trawling online there’s seemingly no hope in hell of getting this in the UK. And it is all kinds of delicious. This was used on me during a facial (at Heyday, a drop in facial bar which you HAVE to visit if you’re in NY or LA) that smelled so delicious I zinged out of deep relaxation, opened my eyes and asked what on earth this party on my face was. Everyone’s on about pineapple at the moment, it’s all very 1970s living room nibbles.
Your best alternative for this is Kiehls Pineapple & Papaya scrub, £24. Still juicy, just not as arresting scent-wise. That was such a weird way of putting it that I’m not going to change.
DRUNK ELEPHANT T.L.C. SUKARI BABYFACIAL, $80
I’m so obsessed with Drunk Elephant I almost bore myself. Almost, but not quite. I knew the US would have some exciting new stuff to snaffle from this consistently excellent brand, and this resurfacing facial treatment is my latest obsession. I exfoliate using AHA tonic twice a week (Alpha H Liquid Gold), but it can be a lot for those with more sensitive skin. The 25% AHA in this product is a lot, but the combination of acids and natural ingredients are much less abrasive and really work at, well, resurfacing. It really brightened me up post flight / post night out / post the next night out / post going out every single night.
It’s not here in the UK yet but it’s only a matter of time.
Let’s enjoy for a second that it has lots of ingredients, but chooses to run with ‘Chickpea flour’ on the front of the bottle. Why not make your face a falafel?
Your closest alternative is this Oskia Renaissance mask, £55, which smells of roses and lasts ages. I generally use it to mop up my T-Zone.
SUPERGOOP SUPERSCREEN DAILY MOISTURISER SPF40, £44
Skincare in the US is leagues ahead in terms of their SPF use. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, and if you don’t listen I’ll scream it in your face: you need to wear SPF every single day. And it should be SPF30 or over. Especially, especially if you fork out on anti ageing products. There is no such thing as an anti ageing product that doesn’t contain SPF, as the sun will turn you in to a wizened crone before anything else does. The only reason I can think of that people avoid it is that everyone looks better with a bit of a tan. This is true. So get some fake tan.
Everything Supergoop contains SPF. It’s quite confusing to be fair, there are tubes and pumps and tubs and even a setting powder that contains SPF which to me feels like dark magic. But this particular one is good old fashioned every day moisturiser that’s light and whippy and lovely.
Have again searched high & low and can only really find it from independent beauty retailers like this one:
Your over the counter alternative in the UK is Clinique’s mineral sunscreen fluid for face in SPF50.
NATUROPATHICA LAVENDER HONEY BALANCING MIST, $32
Uuuuhhhhh this is just….uuuhhhhh. Not much else to say other than it smells exactly like both of the things it claims to, is sweet and relaxing and mood enhancing, and completely impossible to find in the UK.
Seriously though, I’ve recently gotten really in to balancing mists as they smell beautiful, feel very freshening and can give you a bloody good dewing up before you leave the house. Confidence giving, actually. This one from Caudalie is minty and beautiful; get the smaller version (£12), you don’t want to be lugging a big old bottle on the go.
GOOP BY JUICE BEAUTY ENRICHING FACE OIL, £98
I was eating lunch with a friend one day for 2 hours, and at the point of leaving he said ‘oh, I should have told you, Gwyneth’s Goop store is just there across the street’. I could have slapped him but there wasn’t time, I had ten minutes to get across there & experience nirvana.
Huge fan of Paltrow’s pseudo hippy nonsense. Love how she cares more about crystals than being in the Avengers movies and good on her. Love how she can laugh at herself on Jimmy Fallon, when she claimed all her Goop products contained natural ingredients so he got out French fries and together they dipped them in the creams and ate them. Disgusting? Yes. Smug to the point of unbearable? Perhaps. The kind of twaddle that Rebecca laps right up? 100%.
But most of all, I love the Goop Lab on Bond St in NoHo. It is shiny and neat and crucially contains this facial oil which I have been soaking up during the daytime for the past week. It smells divine and instantly gave me a ‘I take cabs, not carbs’ New Yorker glow. You can also pat it over make up, which has already made a massive difference to my Fenty match stix - a product that turns out is too matte for me, and when applied shows up every line on my face like the big guy made of stone in ‘Fantastic Four’. This evens it out the crustier crags and I love it.
Your UK alternative is Herbivore’s Lapis Balancing Oil. It works well with most skin types, but particularly ones that already have oily tendencies like mine. If you’re scared of oils you can buy 8ml for £22 (I know it’s expensive, but it’s better than shelling out sixty quid and finding out it’s not for you wouldn’tyasay).
That’s it! But if you’re visiting NYC make sure you book in at Heyday for a facial, Chillhouse for Nails, the Le Labo cafe in Williamsburg for browsing and iced coffee, and DryBar for a blow dry.
And for gods sake invite me. Please.