Make Up · Skincare

Duty Free Beauty Shopping …

As much as I look forward to actually going on holiday, I love the build-up just as much. The holiday shopping, the packing and the airport – I love mooching around the airport and shopping. We flew from Gatwick South Terminal and they have a fabulous World Duty Free shopping experience. I think they’ve upgraded it since I last flew about 5 years ago as I don’t remember them having quite so many beauty brands on offer.

We arrived at the terminal at about 9:30am and weren’t flying until 1:30pm, so I had time to kill! So with Elsie and Steve safely parked in the kids soft play area, I went armed with my list and credit card to World Duty Free. I didn’t go crazy, and some of the things on my list, after I’d swatched and played with them, I decided I didn’t actually want/need. Also, after I purchased the first batch of three products, I received a 25% off voucher for anything else that I wanted to buy in World Duty Free. Fabulous! Needless to say, I took the opportunity to tick more things off of my list.


Now, a few of these I’ve had a play with and a few I haven’t. I actually like all of the products so far, so my money was well spent! Please remember that the prices below are what you’d pay online/on the high street, not the duty free price I paid – and for some of these products I got an additional 25%off. I want to mention also, that I saved for the last four months for this spending money for the holiday for beauty products, as well as adding some birthday/Christmas money I had. And for those wondering, the rest of my money went on cuddly soft toys including: Minnie Mouse, Ariel, Flounder, Scabbers the Rat, Marie the cat, Elsa and Anna, Sven and multiple Tinkerbell fairy statues – so I shared my savings around equally (and I had to sit on the suitcase to shut it because of the soft toys, not my makeup purchases!!!). And the amount Disney charges for merchandise, I think I actually spent more money on soft toys than on beauty products! Anyway – it was worth it to see Elsie’s face ūüôā

Here’s what was on my list and what I purchased:


Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Concentrate¬†¬£36.00 of Fraser – I’ve had my eye on this for a while as it looks perfect for my dry/dehydrated skin as a daytime facial oil. I use oils at night, at least four times a week alongside hydrating creams, but during the day my skin is still dry and sometimes this interferes with my makeup and leaves me with dry flaky patches that foundation clings too. I had been testing the Smashbox Primer Oil (the lady in Boots Newport gave me a tiny sample to try out) and I like it, but I don’t know if I love it – so this is the alternative. I’ve used this once so far and my skin is VERY dry since coming back from holiday so this did a good job on the day I used it. It sinks in well but doesn’t feel or look greasy – which is essential for day time wear. My makeup applied well over the top. It needs some more testing out before I make a concrete decision about it, but so far so good!

Elemis Nourishing Omega-Rich Cleansing Oil¬†¬£29 Feel Unique (this is one I got 25% off of) – Again, since this was released a few months before Christmas, it has been on my list. I don’t need another cleansing oil right now (I’m loving the Una Brennan Cleansing Oil and I love my Hall of Fame Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Oil) but I wanted to try it. I really like Elemis as a brand and they don’t contain any artificial colours, parabens, SLS, SLES, DEA or mineral oils and they are made in the UK – and I had an incredible Elemis facial a few years ago on a cruise; their Absolute Eye Mask and Anti-Ageing Mask are favourites of mine too. I’ve not used this yet apart from trying it on my hand and it feels nice and silky. We’ll see whether it removes makeup as well as TBS oil does – it is pricier for the same amount, so it needs to be pretty good to beat TBS one to be honest, although the reviews and blogger feedback is very positive so we’ll see!

REN Instant Brightening Beauty Shot Eye Lift¬†¬£24.00 M&S – There was a lot of hype around this product when it came out about a month ago. Sally Hughes, the beauty journalist for the Guardian (she also has her own beauty website and a great beauty book called Pretty Honest) wrote an amazing review for it – claiming it was pretty much all you needed to lift and brighten the eye area and diminish dark circles and puffiness. Apparently, over time, this product will reduce the appearance of crows feet and fine lines. Now, eyes are a major concern of mine as I have such baggy under eyes and quite deep eye wrinkles (for someone who is only 32!). Compared to the rest of my skin on my face, my eyes look a lot older – naturally, they are a worry and (within reason!) I’ll try pretty much anything that might make them look better … When I read about this I had been researching a¬†¬£160 eye cream by Natura Bisse – a brand I’d never heard of but that people online had been talking about with regards to major eye bagginess. So, spending¬†¬£24 on this REN product was a welcome distraction! I’ve not even opened it yet, so the anticipation continues … I’ve got about a 1/3 of my LRP Retinol eye cream left so after that I’ll be using this and reporting back. Again – high hopes!

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream¬†¬£24.00 of Fraser – This has been on my list for a good two years I think. I’ve put it in about 20 online baskets and picked it up multiple times in different stores, but I’ve never felt compelled to actually part with my cash. So, so many bloggers/reviews of this product sing it’s praises that I couldn’t put it off anymore. It is essentially quite a basic moisturiser- but I think that might be the point. It hasn’t got anything horrible in it, but it is geared up to combat moisture¬†depletion¬†in the skin for a 24 hour period – citing extreme cold and extreme heat on the¬†packaging. I’ve no idea whether that is even possible, but I do like it. It is quite a fresh, light but rich cream that sinks in very well. Makeup applies well on top and the scent isn’t overpowering or offensive at all – very subtle and reminds me of clean laundry. Again, it needs some more testing but if you’re wanting a fuss free, decent, no-nasties moisturiser for dry/dehydrated skin, then this might be perfect for you. Watch this space.


MAC Prep + Prime Fix+¬†¬£17.00 John Lewis/Debenhams (I got 25% off) – This is a bit of a cult product from MAC. It is a moisture mist that refreshes the skin and fixes makeup. I’ve seen so many YouTuber’s using this to set their makeup or spray on brushes when they are using eye shadows for a wet-look. I’ve used this as a makeup setting spray a few times since getting back from holiday, and I do like it. It kind of takes away the powdery look that foundation/concealer/powder layering can give. Is it the same as any other moisture spray? At the moment it seems so, but I’ve not used it for wet-look shadows or really tested out how well it keeps makeup in place in hot weather … I guess we’ll have to wait for some hot weather in the UK! It does have a scent to it but it is quite fresh and I like it – the mist that comes out is very fine too so it doesn’t leave you with a ‘wet’ face.

Bobbi Brown Illuminating Moisture Balm¬†¬£42.00 John Lewis/Bobbi Brown (I got 25% off) –¬†I love Bobbi Brown base products: primers, foundations, moisturisers etc. Their Vitamin Enriched Face Base is definitely in my Hall of Fame and I won’t be without it. I wanted to try this because it gives a lovely glow. I’ve tried to purchase this three times direct from BB but each time it has been sold out and they’ve cancelled my order ūüė¶ So when I saw this I snapped it up! It is a gorgeous balm cream that is meant to enhance skin’s natural luminosity. You can use it as a makeup primer, or just as a moisturiser, or patted gently over the top of foundation as a highlighter. It gives skin a lovely subtle glow – just a kind of healthy look without tonnes of shimmer or glitter particles – you can hopefully see this on my hand in the right photo above. I think I would use this as a primer or as an actual moisturiser in the summer months when my skin doesn’t need quite so much moisture. I just know that when I start using this properly, I’m going to love it!


MAC 24 Hour Extend Eye Base¬†¬£16.00 MAC/John Lewis ¬†(25% off this one)- I have a real issue with oily eye lids that are a nightmare for keeping eye shadows around all day. Without some kind of primer/base on my lids the shadows just don’t stick around all day; moving, creasing and slipping in to the corners are all issues that bug my eye shadow application and longevity! I’d read a lot about eye primers and they seem to be a bit hit and miss. I was going to get the Too Faced Shadow Insurance, but after reading a lot of good stuff, I then stumbled across a lot of bad reviews … So, I plumped for this one instead. A lot of YouTuber’s talked positively about this product, along with a cheap alternative from the American drugstores (which I also picked up) so I thought I’d get it and try it out. It is quite thick and you only need a tiny bit. I’ve only used it twice but so far, so good.


MAC Extended Play GigaBlack Lash Mascara¬†¬£15.00 MAC/John Lewis (25% off this one) – This has some fabulous reviews online. I saw PixiWoo talking about this mascara because of its tiny wand that is perfect for getting those tiny lashes in the corners and the bottom lashes. I didn’t need another mascara – I have tonnes – but I just was attracted to this by that wand. I’ve tried Clinique Bottom Lash mascara but I wasn’t impressed, so wanted an alternative. I’ve not tried it yet as I’m waiting to use up a few more of my opened mascaras, but I will report back. Also,¬†¬£15 isn’t that bad a price point for a high end MAC mascara – compared with Lancome, Estee Lauder, Benefit etc. Again – another example of how sometimes, MAC isn’t as expensive as some people think.

MAC Satin Lipstick in Twig¬†¬£15.50 MAC/John Lewis/Debenhams (25% off this one) – You always need another MAC lipstick! This is one of those ‘cult’ lipsticks (along with Velvet Teddy, Whirl, Mehr and Brave) that have taken off following the rise to superstardom by Kylie Jenner. Her browny/mauvy/nude/taupe lip look has firmly secured these shades as cult. I’m not a massive KJ fan to be honest (at 32, I’m a little bit past it!) but since my MAC makeover last year, browny nude shades have reappeared in my collection. Twig is a more pinky than brown but there is definitely some brown in there. I actually went to buy Velvet Teddy as it had been on my list for months, but when I swatched it, it was a bit too brown for my colouring – I suit more pinky, blue toned shades which Twig is more of. I love this lipstick – it is so easy to wear and the Satin finish means it is not drying at all. On me, it is a bit ‘my lips but better’ kind of shade which can never be a bad thing, right?

MAC Lip Pencil in Soar¬†¬£12.50¬†MAC/John Lewis/Debenhams (25% off this one) – Unintentionally, this lip pencil is almost the perfect match for Twig lipstick above – they make the perfect combination. I don’t own many lip liners, but I do like them. They tend to last longer than lipsticks on my lips. I don’t use them just for lining, but I like colouring in the whole lip with the pencil and then just applying balm or gloss over the top. This liner is again quite popular, and if anything, it is a touch more pink than Twig but it is my perfect nude lip. I cannot have true nudes (yellow, brown based that are completely warm toned) on my lips as I look ill and dead (Charlotte Tilbury Nude Kate was a MAJOR fail!), I have to have a blue toned, pinky shade and this liner is spot on. It is quite soft and you do need a decent sharpener to keep that lovely point (I use Charlotte Tilbury’s sharpener). This is the first lip liner I’ve bought from MAC but I’ll definitely be looking at others now.


Swatches top-bottom – Soar Lip Liner, Twig Satin Lipstick, Extend Eye Base

So, duty free shopping complete! I must say, had I not got the 25% off voucher I probably wouldn’t have gone back to do a second lot – I was quite content with the Kiehl’s products and the REN eye cream! I did look to do some duty free shopping in Orlando, but to be honest, the shops were a bit rubbish (they only had Kiehl’s, MAC, Lancome and Estee Lauder) and nothing grabbed me that I hadn’t already bought – thankfully as the money had well and truly run out by then! All in all, with the duty free price and the 25% off, I think I got¬†¬£231 worth of products for¬†¬£170 roughly… So not bad really considering all of these things were on the list and I did want them and I had planned to purchase them. I didn’t come away with anything that wasn’t on the list. If I’d have bought them in John Lewis or online they’d have cost me a lot more – so in girl maths, that is a win win! ūüôā





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