The Ultimate American beauty shopping list

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 23.14.21Walking into a Sephora is one of the best and most overwhelming experiences for any beauty lover. No matter how prepared you are, there is always a moment of panic at the fear of missing out on a must have beauty item. The sheer volume of cosmetics on offer in the USA is enough to baffle even the most researched shopper.

I travel to the States at least once a year and have honed my shopping skills to that of a fine art. Trust me. If there is a bargain I will hunt it out. When beauty shopping, most of the large department stores stock many major brands, but for me there really is nowhere better than Sephora or Ulta. Ulta is a little harder to find, but it is worth seeking out, as they stock both high end and budget brands. Also worth a visit is the Cosmetic Company Store. They stock a lot of discontinued stock from Mac, Bobbi Brown, Clinque, and many more.

To help you guys with your beauty shopping. I have complied a list of my top beauty items to pick up on your travels across the pond. While I have included quite a large spread of items, my one rule for shopping in the USA , only buy something if you can’t buy it in Ireland, or if it is considerably cheaper.  If I have left anything off this list, please let me know in the comment section down below, as I am heading to the States this summer and would love to find some new pieces.

BITE Beauty lipsticks

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 20.12.35Last summer I arrived home with only one Bite lipstick and I still regret not buying at least 10 more. These lipsticks are seriously creamy and pigmented and not only that, they last really well on the lips. Bite have a serious range of colours and from my research, their nude colours are to die for. The lipsticks cost $24 and can be bought in Sephora. However, when you’re standing in the queue in Sephora keep your eyes peeled for the double ended Bite lipsticks. While these are much smaller in size, they contain 2 colours for $12 and if you’re like me and have a million different lipsticks, there is more than enough lipstick in the duo to keep you going.

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 20.12.25I also have my eye on the Bite lip crayons and Agave lip mask. While I haven’t tried these, I have read some really amazing reviews and I will 100% be purchasing a few of these when I head over in the summer.

Kat Von D Waterproof autograph pencil

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 20.22.41If you want a long wearing pencil for the waterline, then look no further than the Kat Von D Waterproof autograph pencil. Holy mother, this thing does now budge. I a moment of madness, I bought the blue liner last summer, while I do like to flirt with a bit of blue every so often, it isn’t my favourite colour, but the staying power ……. at $10 each, it is well worth picking up a few of these in different colours. However, unless your channelling Debbie Harry mid 80s, avoid the blue!

Anastasia Beverly Hills

Buy everything!! Holy moly I love Anastasia Beverly Hills. This lady is the saviour of every thinned browed lady out there. When buying Anastasia products, try get to an Ulta, as they have a much better selection there than Sephora. Ulta stock all the eyeshadow palettes, as well as the eyebrow and contouring products. While Sephora are more limited to brow and contouring products.

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 20.34.02 The first must have item from ABH is the brow wiz. Even though I have embrowdery done, this little pencil is my saviour every morning, as it hardly takes 30 seconds to fill your brows in. It costs $21 and is seriously money well spent. You can read a full review here. 

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 20.33.25Secondly, don’t think about it and just buy the contouring palette. I don’t own it myself as of yet, but I have had it used on my and it really would bring a tear to a glass eye with it’s beauty. You can get this in Sephora for $40

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 20.32.49Lastly, I haven’t tried these myself, but the longing for the liquid lipsticks is beyond strong. I mean look at them!!!!! As far as I know you can pick these up in Ulta, but don’t quote me on that one just yet.

Lorac Cobra Mascara

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 20.36.19This mascara gives my eyelashes life! With a wand shaped like the head of a cobra it gives your lashes volume and length without clumping. The only problem with this mascara, is it is hard to track down, as it can only be bought in store in Ulta. However, you can get is delivered to Ireland thought


This must be the ultimate go to brand for Irish beauty buyers when they head to Sephora. Everyone has needs a bit of Tarte in their lives.

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 20.52.41First up is the amazonian clay 12 hour blusher. I have one of these in the colour Doll face and  I reach for it quite often. These blushers have great colour payoff and as the name suggests, they are long wearing. There is a good range of colours to pick from and I have my eye on peaceful and exposed. You can buy these in most large department stores ,Sephora and Ulta for $24.

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 20.52.11The minute I saw the the Tartelette Amazonian Clay Matte Eyeshadow palette, the word obsessed took on a whole new meaning. I need this in my life. I mean a palette full of all Matte warm toned shades. Surely that has my name written all over it. You can buy this for $44 a bargain really.

Becca Shimmering Skin perfector

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 21.03.39While Becca is sold in Space NK in Dublin, it is quite a bit cheaper in the States. Depending on the strength of the euro against the you can save anything over €10 buying this state side. The Becca shimmering skin perfector is a sheer liquid, that adds luminosity to your skin. It can be applied over or under your foundation to give your skin a lovely glow.

Hourglass ambient lighting Powders

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 21.04.49At this stage you know my absolute obsession with the Hourglass powders. I adore them! They make your skin look alive and luminous. When you wear these, people will notice. Not in a the “oh your powder is gorgeous way”, but instead people will comment on how well your skin looks. Just like with the Becca skin perfector, depending on the dollar, you can save anything over €8 per powder. I know when I bought it I saved nearly €15!! You can read a full review here.

L’Oreal Infallible eyeshadows

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 21.14.44

While the L’Oreal Infallible eyeshadows are available in Ireland, we don’t have the full shade range. If you have blue eyes, then you must pick up Amber Rus and Bronze Taupe. Your eyes will pop like nothing else with these colours. You can pick these up in most drug stores for a few dollars.Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 23.07.02

Milani Cosmetics

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After my disaster with the Too Faced melted I was nervous of liquid lipstick. The Milani Liquid colour is a fraction of the cost of the Too Faced Melted lipstick and 1000% better. These lipsticks rock!! The pigmentation and longevity is fantastic. You will find these in any drug store, for around $7


Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 23.25.23While Mac is easily available, there are some products which you can only get in the States. Mac soft brown eyeshadow being one of them. Ladies please trust me on this, you need this colour in your life. I am actually going to buy a back up this summer, it is just that good.

Also, depending on the Dollar, lipsticks are up to 6€ cheaper in the States. I picked up a few favourites last time I was there.





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  • Reply
    Sarah scott
    February 10, 2015 at 9:04 am

    I bought a few of the Liquid Lipsticks, they’re amazing and I didn’t get charged any customs which was a great surprise! As far as i’m aware you can only get them online and in certain Macy stores.

    • Sinead K
      Sinead K
      February 10, 2015 at 8:27 pm

      i need them in my life. Gonna treat myself for my birthday.

      • Reply
        Sarah scott
        February 11, 2015 at 9:56 am

        Really recommend Pure Hollywood, it hasn’t been off my lips since I got it!!

  • Reply
    February 10, 2015 at 10:36 am

    Thank you for this list, going to California next week and I know I will be spending a lot of shopping time in Sephora and Mac

    • Sinead K
      Sinead K
      February 10, 2015 at 8:26 pm

      oh enjoy the trip!!

  • Reply
    February 10, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    Love the Milani Liquid Lipsticks! Only picked up one of them when I was in NYC last year in a random purple colour but it’s actually really nice on! I seemed to raid the drugstore more than Sephora though, also picked up the Milani Blush in Luminoso that everyone and their Mammy raves about and love it!

    • Sinead K
      Sinead K
      February 10, 2015 at 8:26 pm

      I have that purple one. It;s fab!!!

  • Reply
    alina caffrey
    February 10, 2015 at 10:28 pm

    Hey thanks for this post, i moved to america 2 months ago and I was just over whelmed by the amount of products they have i just went to mac as i know it from home. ill defintly be trying these products out.

  • Reply
    Kiss & Make-up
    February 11, 2015 at 10:36 am

    Seriously, it’s like you read my mind! When (yes when, not if!) I ever go back to the US I intend to buy ALL these brands 🙂

  • Reply
    Sandra Harty
    February 11, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    ah stop this post is making me want to go to states, haven’t been in years, great post Sinead

  • Reply
    February 24, 2015 at 10:23 pm

    Going to New York in May and I cannot wait to get lots of hourglass powders:)

    • Sinead K
      Sinead K
      February 24, 2015 at 10:29 pm

      I don’t think I’ve done my makeup without these powders in over a year!!!

  • Reply
    Ann marie
    March 24, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    hi sinead , is there different colors in the becca skin perfector if yes what shade do you use? Does it compare to Mac strobe or prep and prime ? Secondly I can only get (afford) one hourglass powder will I go with the pallet or the one full color powder ?? Thanks x

    • Sinead K
      Sinead K
      March 24, 2015 at 10:39 pm

      yes there are different colours, I’m gonna get moonstone. As for the powders, I prefer the single powder. I use both dim and diffused light

  • Reply
    May 10, 2015 at 10:55 am

    Any recommendation on OTC teeth whitening kits available in the states, are Crest strips still the best? I know the levels of bleach are stronger in states in teeth whitening products so they should achieve a better result than anything we can buy here, any thoughts on best buys?

    • Sinead K
      Sinead K
      May 10, 2015 at 6:15 pm

      To me crest are far and above the best ones.

  • Reply
    June 6, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    Just back from NYC. Sephora have stopped stocking Lorac…it can only be ordered online in U.s…bought a few items from Anastasia Bev hills…LOVE #allaboutthebrows xx

  • Reply
    July 22, 2015 at 1:54 am

    Hi sinead, is the cult beauty website legit? X

  • Reply
    September 3, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    what part of the states did you go too?:)

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