Every time I go to the USA to see my family I make sure I work in a shopping trip. Not only is the exchange rate usually in favour of the pound, but there are a number of brands in the USA that are priced significantly cheaper than in the UK. On this trip I went for beauty products and candy, next trip I’ve got my eye on Kate Spade, Michael Kors, J Crew and Coach.
While in the UK I prefer shopping online and then the high street, in the USA I go straight for the mall. Every time I do it I feel like a teenager again, but with a paycheck and disposable income I don’t feel like a delinquent. This is my ideal for one-stop shopping and loads of speciality and department stores.
At Macy*s I found one of my favourite eye creams: Shiseido’s Benefiance. Last time I was in the USA I splurged on this cream from Nordstrom, and since I’d used it up I was keen to re-purchase. It comes in at $55 in the USA before taxes (which differ depending on the state you’re in), and at £55 including taxes in the UK (via House of Fraiser).
Shiseido is a Japanese brand so I’m not sure what’s causing that price discrepancy between countries, but the bottom line is that it’s a better deal in the USA.
When I’m in New England I like to scout out maple sugar candy. On this trip, right next to the maple sugar candy was a Lake Champlain chocolate bar with peanut butter (chocolate with peanut butter is my sweet tooth soft spot), so I tossed it in my basket.
I’ve not seen maple sugar candy outside of the North East USA (though I presume they make it in Canada, home of fellow maple lovers), but it’s one of my all-time favourite treats.
It is exactly what it says on the packaging: candy made out of maple syrup. And it’s bloody delicious.
Just let it melt on your tongue and it’s fantastic. If you want to try maple sugar candy but don’t know where to get it, just eat a few spoonfuls of pure maple syrup and imagine a crystalised texture.
Sephora is a USA beauty mecca, and if you’re into beauty then you’ll probably have heard of it from all the big-time beauty bloggers and vloggers. In the UK I think our nearest equivalent is Space NK for in-person shopping (Beauty Bay is a great online shopping supplement for when Space NK doesn’t stock something), so while I’ve never gone without a product I wanted while living in the UK I know that I have sometimes paid more than I would if I was in the USA.
(Also, my mom has a Sephora card so when I give her details at the till in-store I sometimes claim her added discount or freebie, other times I just add points to her card so she’s closer to her added discount / freebie next time she shops.)
So, while in the USA at that glitzy shopping mall I popped into Sephora to buy a replacement Kate Somerville Clarifying Treatment Toner – which is only $26 pre-taxes at Sephora in the USA – or $26 when shopping on the Kate Somerville site, with the added $25 flat rate fee for shipping to the UK. (Sephora can’t currently ship the toner to the UK.) I’l mark that down as a bargain in my book.
Roller ball perfumes. As far as I’m aware these aren’t a thing in the UK, but they seriously should be. They’re fab for travelling and live well in handbags. Not to mention they’re super cute.
Last summer I received the Elizabeth & James Nirvana White roller ball perfume deluxe sample with an online Sephora order (shipped to my sister’s house for me to collect when I arrived in the USA to avoid those pesky international shipping charges!), and while I’ve not finished that sample yet I wanted to stock up for when I did. So, I’m now the proud owner of the full size roller ball perfume.
This perfume is described as: “a captivating blend of delicate peony, chic muguet, and tender musk for a feminine scent with dark sophistication.”
When it comes to drugstore beauty shopping in the USA, it really can be hit & miss in terms of products compared to French pharmacy beauty shopping. But CVS (these are everywhere near where I grew up) have a whole host of products so if you’re familiar with the brands (or have researched online beforehand!) then you’ll know what’s a good deal and what’s a dud of a product.
e.l.f. Cosmetics is a vegan-friendly and cruelty free makeup brand. I like finding ways for my purchases to have a positive impact when I can, so while I was visiting my family I picked up this blusher and bronzer duo for a steal at $4.00.
It’s certainly not the best bronzer or blush I’ve ever used, but the colouring is fine for my skin tone and I’m willing to overlook product quality with that price tag and animal-friendly messaging.
What are your favourite buys in the USA? What should I check out next time I go?