Even if you’re not particularly hip to current hair, makeup, and skincare trends, we’re betting you can still distinguish the difference between the aesthetics of French beauty and the aesthetics of American beauty. French beauty is all about good skin, slightly-mussed makeup, and a devil-may-care attitude. American beauty, on the other hand, is marked by glamour and celebrity — think red carpet contouring and out-to-there eyelashes. But British beauty? That’s a little harder to pinpoint.
“British beauty sits somewhere in the middle between the natural, pared-back aesthetic of French beauty and the glamour of American beauty,” says Emma Hardie, founder of her eponymous skincare line. “Every woman in Britain has their own opinions when it comes to beauty.”
But that doesn’t mean that the beauty industry isn’t huge, or that brands from across the pond aren’t thriving. “British beauty customers are very supportive of home-grown brands, [with] products created in Britain, and locally-sourced ingredients,” Hardie says. “Natural ingredients and sustainable packaging are becoming significantly more important when shopping for beauty.”
Hardie also points to the fact that both skincare and makeup have a place in British women’s lives — so brands follow suit. A few years ago, social media makeup took off, and customers were painting on big, bold makeup looks. (You can thank the boom of British beauty vloggers on YouTube® for that push.) Now, however, folks in the U.K. are seeking out more natural makeup looks. “In Britain, it’s all about getting that ‘glow from within,’” Hardie says.
With that in mind, we’ve rounded up the best U.K. beauty products your money can buy. Get ready for a mix of makeup and skincare that will give you, as Hardie says, that glow from within.
Eyeko® Eye DoTM Liquid Liner
Sure, the cat-eye might have been co-opted by the French, but British beauties like Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton were also pioneers of this look. So it should come as no surprise that one of the best liners for pulling off the look is an English transplant. Eyeko Eye Do Liquid Liner ($22) has a stiff, felt pen applicator that makes sketching on liner a snap for even the shakiest of hands. Try it with a touch of bronzer and a nude lip, just like Twiggy would have done.
Emma Hardie® Brilliance Facial Oil
Scared of face oils? You won’t be after trying Emma Hardie Brilliance Facial Oil ($55), a lightweight version that melts seamlessly into the skin. It’s crafted with a bevy of essential oils, like palma rose, chamomile, lemon, lavender, and camellia to soothe, purify, and protect. This oil moisturizes intensely without feeling heavy. Instead, you’re left with gorgeously glowing skin all day long.
No. 7® Lift and LuminateTM Triple Action Serum Foundation
No. 7 is a cult-favorite drugstore brand across the pond, and the Lift and Luminate Triple Action Serum Foundation ($16) is the company’s gold-star product. This medium-coverage base is chock-full of peptides, vitamins, and other good-for-your-skin ingredients. Hibiscus, vitamin A, and vitamin C reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation. Use it regularly and you just might see brighter, more even skin.
Lush® Mask Of MagnamintyTM
Lush is a cult-favorite beauty brand in the UK and in the US, thanks in large part to its bath bombs and other eco-friendly products. The brand’s Mask of Magnaminty ($15) is a perfect storm of all of the things that make this company a fan favorite. It’s made from natural ingredients and safe synthetics, delivering a deep clean and a minty zing. It’s exfoliating, too, revealing silky smooth skin the second you wash it off.
St. Tropez® Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Mousse
Self-tan formulations can typically be super finicky, but most bronzing aficionados can agree that St. Tropez has cracked the code for easy-to-apply, streak-free at-home tanning. The brand’s Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Mousse ($42) spreads on easily and evenly thanks to its innovative, clear foam formula, which means you’ll completely avoid questionable smudges and orange hues. Instead of a typical fake tan smell, all of St. Tropez’s products have a tropical, invigorating scent to them. And, because there’s no guide color in the foam, you won’t have to awkwardly stand around naked waiting for your tan to dry — just get dressed once your skin is no longer tacky to the touch.
Charlotte Tilbury® Matte Revolution® Lipstick
Charlotte Tilbury has created a whole collection of makeup and skincare products that fans stateside go gaga over. But a favorite is her brand’s Matte Revolution Lipsticks ($34 each), which somehow master being hydrating and matte at the same time. The elegant tube’s contents come in a wide variety of colors, appealing to just about any mood you might be in. Oh, and they have captivatingly cheeky names, like Walk of Shame and Pillow Talk.
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