America,  Around the world,  Beauty,  Female Travellers,  TDM,  Tips,  USA

Cosmetics to buy in the United States and where to buy

Today, I bring you to discover some of the cosmetic brands to bring back during your trip from the United States. Don’t hesitate to complete the list as a comment, because I’m much less expert on North American products than on Asian cosmetics 😀 (less expert but able to write 3000 words, dixit JB)

Please note: all prices displayed in stores or on sites are always EXCLUDING TAX. You have to count about 7% more taxes, unless you are in one of the 4 following states: Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon

Where to buy cosmetics / beauty products?

  • In drugstores & pharmacies: CVS, Ulta Beauty, Duane Reade… i liked New London Pharmacy in New York City
  • In hypermarkets: Walmart, Walgreens, Target…
  • In organic supermarkets: Whole Foods Market
  • More high-end : Sephora, Nordstrom, Macy’s…
  • In boutiques specific to each brand (such as Bite Beauty, The Ordinary etc.)
  • In stores selling everything (accessories, clothes, cosmetics): such as Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie…
  • For Japanese/Korean products: go to the Chinese and Korean districts in New-York
  • At the pharmacy
  • In specialized spas : I liked Rescue Spa in New York City

If you buy online, you can :

  • have your purchases sent to the store nearest to you (Walmart does it for example)
  • have your purchases sent to an Amazon locker (you have to order from Amazon)

But most sites, unfortunately, do not deliver to relays, they deliver directly to your home via UPS.
Hotels and Airbnb accept carefree reception of packages. Then it is up to you to calculate the delivery time perfectly well.

Part 1: to be purchased at drugstores

BH COSMETICS or ELF: These two brands offer complete and good quality brush kits(fluffy as it should be) with an unbeatable quality/price ratio. You can find them in drugstores

BURT’S BEES : Organic brand. Be seduced by their lip care products, their hand cream and their make-up remover wipes: Burt’s Bees Micellar Cleansing Towelettes. You can also find them online in France so compare prices beforeyou buy

PIXI : English brand. If Pixi is sold at Sephora France(see the products already available in France here), it is distributed in the United States in drugstores and I really like their masks. Pixi’s best known product remains the Glow tonicbut this product is also available in France, so buy other things (their makeup products are harder to find in France)

CREST 3D WHITE: Whether it is for their toothpaste or the strips to be stuck on the teeth to whiten them, this brand is a sure value

COVERGIRL : their mascara is legendary, don’t hesitate to take several for your girlfriends.

TRESEMME: I really like their conditioner as well as their dry shampoo, which doesn’t leave a trace on my black hair.

J.R. WATKINS : It seems that it is difficult to find these organic products in France. Their best-sellers: All-purpose cleaner (for the home) and their liquid hand soap. You’ll find some with a good eye at CVS

HONEST: Jessica Alba’s organic products are generally out of stock at Target, especially makeup products. If you see any, don’t think about it, empty the shelves! If you have a baby, stock up! Honest’s baby diapers are very popular across the Atlantic because they are very cute and, moreover, organic.

SUN BUM: I don’t know why, but they’re on sale mostly in Florida. Hard to find them elsewhere. Their sun creams contain up to 19% Titanium Oxide, you will be a white cabbage, but protected from the Florida sun. They are so effective that even Lonely Planet recommends them (since when does Lonely talk about cosmetics?).

ESSIE and OPI : if you still have room in your suitcases, bring back nail polish of these brands, at $10 instead of 16€ in France.

BEAUTY 360: Non-acetone Nail Polish Remover pads, never seen a trick so effective for removing nail polish. They are highly impregnated wipes (one wipe is enough for all 10 fingers). Usually I hate to remove nail polish myself but these wipes are really very soft, effective and don’t dry out the nails.

SCHMIDT’S: These organic deodorants are cheaper here than in France and there is more choice

SIMPLE: I really liked their micellar water for sensitive skin, which even exists in travel size.

Anti-acne products: There is an “acne” department at CVS. You can buy benzoyl peroxide creams (which are under prescription in France). These creams stain a lot so remember to wear white and have white bedding when you use them.

As for Neutrogena products, I find that their cleansers are too drying and do not help acne-prone skin. On the other hand, I recommend all their gadgets, such as this light therapy machine, less expensive than a Talika but with the same functionality

Part 2: to be purchased from Sephora or the “department stores”

Tip: As in Canada, Sephora US offers extremely economical multi-brand kits called“Sephora Favorites“, allowing you to test the best-sellers in several categories: face care, masks, perfumes, make-up… in miniature format (there may be a full-size one in the batch). I strongly encourage you to buy them, as it allows you to test many brands not yet marketed in France, starting at $25. Before, these kits were visible in physical stores, now, I’ve seen very few of them, they are rather available online.

I was able to buy 4 mini RAL + one full size for 25$

DRUNK ELEPHANT: It is a very organic brand very popular across the Atlantic. The best-sellers of the brand: their famous Baby Facial, Lala Retro Whipped Cream with a strange but very moisturizing texture, and their A-Passioni Retinol Cream, one of the best retinols on the market (I love it, I buy travel size, it lasts forever). I’ve already written a long article on the use of retinoids on my other blog if you’re interested. Their packaging is cute but a bit cheap (plastic). If you don’t have a lot of money, opt for their mini kit. Personally, I tested their Vitamin C and I fell in love with it (it can even be used in the morning and helps to strengthen the sunscreen, very practical).

RMS BEAUTY: Organic and simple ingredients for a successful make-up. This Canadian brand is adored by Gisele Bundchen and Miranda Kerr.

BITE BEAUTY : A beautiful brand that will never be distributed in France I think, because of their name 😀 Their lipsticks, very spicy, well formulated, with a luxurious design, are absolutely to be tested. They have a physical store in LA & New York where you can create your own lipstick, with the shade you want. However, you must make an appointment well in advance here

KATE SOMERVILLE : This American brand offers an SOS lotion for pimples (a dupe of the Drying Lotion by Mario Badescu, but with a much higher price tag ): EradiKate, their Goat Milk Moisturizing Cle anser is also very well known, and their DermalQuench Liquid Lift(TM) is unlike any other product.

PHILOSOPHY : everyone loves their face cleanser: Purity Made Simple Cleanser, number one seller in the United States. With this cleanser, no need for double cleansing, because it removes makeup and cleanses the face at the same time. It is sold, in addition, in mini-size (90ml) for those who are still doubtful.

TATCHA: American brand inspired by Japanese traditions. Their The Water Cream (moisturizing cream), the Silk Canvas (a make-up base, extremely appreciated, look for the travel size) and Tatcha The Deep Cleanse (awarded by Allure Awards 2018) are the bestsellers to test at Tatcha. There are quite a lot of travel sizes at Sephora, take advantage of it!

AUNTIE HARPER: It’s hard not to hear about this organic brand with highly concentrated and numerous active ingredients. Their kit of miniatures is worth it. If you only have to buy one in full-size, it is this one: Resurfacing BHA Glow Mask. To spread like a cream, and leave it on for 30 minutes before rinsing (use in the evening only because of the BHA). Luminous skin guaranteed.

JOSIE MARAN: Products based on argan oil. Given the price, if you’re looking for pure argan oil, I think it’s better to fall for the Melchior & Balthazar brand with us. However, Josie Maran offers more derivative products, such as Argan Sugar Balm Body Scrub

MURAD: A great brand for acne and acne-prone skin. I really like Murad Rapid Relief Acne Spot Treatment and their anti-spot serum: Murad Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Ser um (with 2% hydroquinone, the maximum dose of hydroquinone allowed over-the-counter – look for the cheaper travel size version). This is my favorite anti-stain serum, to be used only in the evening. The US version is much stronger/dosed than the Canadian version. Some products are available in France via lookfantastic FR.

uS version

CLARISONIC : no longer sold through Sephora France, it’s time to stock your Clarisonics brushes here. I particularly like the Mia Fit model that I talked about here . Discontinued Brand

FOREOs are a bit cheaper here than in France. I talked about my little Foreo Luna Play Plus here

SK-II: Japanese brand, sake-based. After discovering this brand, my routine became so boring because it is the only brand my skin actually needs 🙂 Opt for the discovery kits otherwise your banker might call you, very quickly. If there’s only one product to test, it’s their Facial Treatment Essence: imperfections are less visible, the appearance of wrinkles is reduced, the texture refined, firmness improved and radiance beautifully enhanced. Caution, risk of purging during the 1st weeks of use. Afterwards, you will have a baby’s skin (more info here). It is better to buy this brand at Sephora or other official sellers because there are a lot of fake on the Internet.

OMOROVICZA: It’s funny to have to go all the way to America to buy a brand from Hungary. I had the opportunity to test their facial care in Budapest and this brand is seriously effective! I hope I’ll have enough money one day to buy their UltraMoor Mud Mask and Queen of Hungary Mist. This brand is a concentrate of technology and the benefits of Hungarian thermal water. If you are going to Hungary soon, it is better to buy them there, because for 200€ of products purchased, the facial care (100€) is free.

Top brands available in the USA but better to buy in France

OLE HENRIKSEN: If you have dark circles, fall for their Banana Bright Eye Cream. Banana powder instantly illuminates the eye contour and this magic cream has a long term anti-wrinkle effect. Look for the travel size version (sold in kit with a cream). The brand is now available at Sephora France

LANEIGE: With a muse like Song Hye Kyo, we can afford to fall for this Korean brand. Their bestsellers: Moisturizing Night Mask, and their Night Lip Mask (travel size available), not to mention their BB cushion. I’m a fan of their Bicolore Lipstick. It’s better to buy this brand at Sephora or other official sellers because there are a lot of fake products on the Internet. Their new Cream Skin Toner & Moisturizer is for dehydrated skin that is too lazy to do layering. The brand is now available at Sephora France

MILK MAKEUP: offers products with minimalist but so irresistible packaging. I particularly like their 2 in 1 stick, which can be used for both Lips and Cheeks. The colors are very natural. This brand is now on sale at Sephora France

SUNDAY RILEY: U.F.O Ultra Clarifying Face Oil. This dry oil, containing 1.5% salicylic acid, makes acne disappear and eliminates the accumulations and debris causing blackheads from clogged pores leaving skin smoother without imperfections. That’s all there is to it! Youtube users are fans. If I remember correctly, travel size also exists. Beware, the Good genes product, despite the laudatory comments, doesn’t seem to convince anyone. There is a scandal that the brand buys fake reviews on Sephora US, among others, to eliminate the competition. Not fair at all! Bohhh! Brand now available at Sephora France

MARIO BADESCU: I like all of Mario Badescu’s products for acne, blackheads, etc. including the Drying Lotion and Silver Powder (I wrote a specific article here).

In France, you can buy them at Sephora, but if you want to rummage through the stores and pay a little less, you can find them in the United States at Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters. Sephora USA also sells them but only online

Part 3: to be purchased in physical stores

GLOSSARY: This is a very trendy American brand at the moment. It will be the occasion to crack for their eyebrow gel Boy Brow, the face cleanser Milky Jelly Cleanser and the famous eyeshadows Lidstar in one of their flagship stores in New York, Los Angeles or Boston.

OBAGI: is sold in spas, at dermatos, at Walmart (order online, look for it 1 week later)…. They are excellent in anti-brown spot products. Their sun cream is also appreciated, however the prices…. They also have Tretinoin if it is a product you are interested in.

THE ORDINARY: Even though these products of this pretty brand are on sale at Sephora US, they are only available online. I recommend that you buy in the USA only if you can go to their store in New York, to also have personalized advice and the order of application of the products. New London Pharmacy in NYC also distribute this brand. The bestsellers to test here

You can buy them from France on their official website here: the price is the same as in the US, you don’t pay any customs fees because they are sent from England (4,99€ delivery). You can alsobuy them at Sephora France

The Ordinary (search for DECIEM on Google maps) in New York City

SKINCEUTICALS : to buy directly in spas, institutes or at dermatos, this brand is a blessing for skincare fanatics. Be seduced by its anti-aging serum (no longer presented) C E Ferulic (for beautiful dry or normal skin) or Phloretine C F (for sensitive, oily or combination skin). I particularly like their special eye contour sun cream that doesn’t sting my eyes. I wrote an arm’s length article on their bestsellers here. These products are also on sale in France too but the prices are much more interesting in the USA (we save 10€ to 20€ easily per product). Take advantage of it!

Part 4: Korean and Japanese products

Korean and Japanese products here are obviously more expensive than in Korea or Japan. But the advantage is that there are physical stores for testing and window shopping.

To know the Korean and Japanese products that I like, you can consult my dedicated articles: for Korean products and Japanese products.

I really liked the L’OVUE store in New York but there are others around (type korean cosmetics store on Google Maps). It mainly sells brands distributed only online (like COSRX, Pyunkang Yul, Benton…).

Also look for Tony Moly‘s physical stores, leurs masques à la bave d’escargot are expensive but they are the best on the market.

Part 5: Face care

Facials are overpriced in the United States (minimum $200 + taxes + tips) for only 45mn-60mn.

I talked about my HydraFacial treatment that I did in Canada (very fashionable Outra-Atlantic), but given the price in the USA, it will be cheaper for you to try it in France if there is an esthetician not far from your home, or to opt for one of my favorite treatments in Paris.

I’ve heard a lot of great treatments at Rescue Spa, Linh Spa in New York and Tata Harper Spas. Again, the rates discouraged me. In Florida, I was told about IPL laser treatments starting at $100 but I didn’t have the opportunity to try it, since you have to get out of the sun and Florida is a little too sunny for that.

As for dermatologists trained to perform miracles (often with botox, filers or laser…), I have heard a lot of good things from Dr. Shereene Idriss in NYC, who speaks French as well, but you have to make an appointment 6 months in advance.

Part 6: Clothing

If you’re staying somewhere for a week and you can receive packages (e.g. a week in an Airbnb in New York), and you don’t have too many periods, why not opt for the THINX menstrual panties (to be purchased online) that I mentioned here.

The prices at Levi’s are almost in line with the stores in France, but there are many more discounts I find in the USA (more often, more aggressive). Take a look at the store in Times Square, you never know…

Victoria’s Secret : the products look less beautiful in real life than they do in photos, but the buying experience is worth it. Don’t hesitate to ask for the current promotions, because it’s not necessarily marked in the store.

STEVEN MADDEN: many models of shoes. Discounts up to -80%. Attention, from one store to another, in the same city, you can pay 80$ as 20$ for the same pair.

Outlets: New Era Factory Outlet in New York, I really like this store. Lots of choices, the clothes are well presented and not thrown in the bottom of a box. We were able to buy Michael Kors at 50% off.

Disney & Universal souvenirs are a must. Don’t resist anymore to Minions or Pets 2 tee-shirts.

Part 7: Food & Other

Of course you have to bring back Reese’s, peanut butter M& M’s, personalized M&M’s (direction Times Square).

Some DIY fans even bring back the Redcups we see in movies and Mason Jars for DIY

I am also blown away that at Target, the sewing machines aren’t very expensive (100$) – beware of the voltage however, and the machines Silhouette, Cricut (automatic paper cutting) are much cheaper here and are just waiting for you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *