What are the greatest EU/UK bath & beauty products?
November 12, 2013 5:39 AM   Subscribe

So, every time I go looking for recommendations for makeup, etc. (here, and Makeup Alley, mostly), the majority of highly rated items are US products that are usually impossible or expensive for me to get, which is why I'd like your tips for your top-rated favorite bath and beauty items made-locally / available in Europe at reasonable cost. Maybe I can replace a few things, and find some new gems.

Specifically, for example, I use TheBalm BalmShelter tinted moisturizer, and totally adore it, but because I have to order from the US, or from someplace that ships it from the US, it's expensive. I use Cetaphil lotion because I need an extra-moisturizing, gentle body lotion in a large size (those cute little tubes and tubs of body butter or balm just don't last long enough for me), but I have to pay 20+ Euros for the large size (versus around $7 for lucky US people). I use Urban Decay eyeliner pencils when I can source them on eBay, but again, super pricey. Thank goodness for Greek company Korres for a lot of great stuff I can actually get cheaper here in Greece, but I need more Eurocentric fabulous finds.

Likewise, I read up on wonderful scents for reasonable prices on Fragrantica, and usually find that they aren't so reasonable ordering from here (if I even can order). I love my favorite Korres cologne (Iris Lily of the Valley Cotton), but would like to try something new and yummy every now and then without paying twice the price or more.

What are your "holy grail" and favorite make-pretties and smell-wells from this side of the pond? Also, if you know of any online EU/UK-oriented boards that rate and recommend products, I'd like to check them out.
posted by taz to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (15 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
This is my jam. I find it's actually easier to get more and better beauty products in Europe, so I'm sorry (and surprised) that this has not been your experience. I mean, France alone produces like 90% of the world's beauty products (ok so I made up that statistics, but still, there is SO MUCH in the way of skincare and cosmetics on this side of the world.)

Just a few off the top of my head (note that I cannot guarantee all the websites listed below will ship to Greece, but generally speaking all of these brands are very good, Euro-based, not tooooo spendy and widely available throughout Europe):

Lush (UK-based natural skincare)

Bomb Cosmetics (UK bath products)

Weleda (natural skincare based in Gemany)

Dr Hauschka (more German skincare)

Avene (French skincare)

Jo Malone (exquisite UK fragrances)

Art Deco (European makeup line)

Douglas is an online beauty retailer, based in Germany but ships to quite a few countries throughout Europe; I can buy nearly every major US brand of cosmetic -- and of course plenty of European brands -- through their site.

Also, I really like US-based Paula's Choice skincare products, which are also available in Europe.
posted by ladybird at 6:14 AM on November 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

I really like LoveLula mineral products. I first started using them because they do that green tinted powder that tones down redness, but I've tried lots of their products (mostly through the free samples they offer) and everything I've tried (and subsequently ordered) has been great. They've just expanded their range into lots of differrent products, including skincare and hair care - and they offer FREE worldwide delivery!
posted by essexjan at 6:19 AM on November 12, 2013

Beaut.ie* does reviews for Euro consumer products and while it's not as awkward as Greece, getting things delivered here in Ireland is often a pain and nothing like the UK. Readers seem to like Strawberrynet (free worldwide shipping), Look Fantastic (free worldwide delivery), and Fragrance Direct (flat €6.50 delivery).

Disclaimer: we designed that side for them last year.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:23 AM on November 12, 2013

Yves Rocher - generally overpriced but on a sale & with some nosing you can find some nice scrubs and creams. Their makeup is awful though. (French)
posted by St. Peepsburg at 6:24 AM on November 12, 2013

And have you been to Sephora? They carry all the major US brands.

Guy Bouchara perfumes (Grasse, France) - heavenly perfumes for around 35€
posted by St. Peepsburg at 6:27 AM on November 12, 2013

I quite like Barry M for nail polish.

I've bought a couple of eye shadows from Kiko and they've been really good.
Same for Makeup Store (ugh warning their website has music).

I don't know if this is in the states because I only started seeing it after I moved to the UK, but I also like a lot of the body stuff from Dirty Girls and Boots sometimes has a sale for them. On that note, I also like the body and face stuff from the Boots No. 7 line though I don't like their makeup so much.

Lately I've actually been buying a lot of Korean products off eBay. They can take a while to get here (last shipment took almost a month) but prices are pretty good and I love the little samples I get and the packaging is so cute. I use this store. I usually scour online for product reviews first though before I buy.
posted by like_neon at 6:30 AM on November 12, 2013

Oops, sorry, Fragrance Direct does not ship to Greece :(

(PS: I don't think Taz's question is What European brands are awesome? but rather What European brands can she get in Greece without crazy shipping?)
posted by DarlingBri at 6:31 AM on November 12, 2013

I would recommend hunting around Space NK if you're looking for a good, curated selection of top brands from Europe as well as ones from the US.

Mrs MM raves about Eve Lom lip balm, Ren bath products, Darphin moisturiser. It's an Aussie brand, but I know people who love Jurlique skincare products.
posted by MuffinMan at 6:41 AM on November 12, 2013

I really like Caudalie hand and nail cream, made in France and much cheaper to get there than in the US. Don't know how widely available this brand is in other EU countries though.
posted by Jemstar at 6:43 AM on November 12, 2013

Response by poster: Yeah, my situation is that if it's a EU or UK product, I can usually find an online place or eBay person or shop that will ship to me and the shipping costs aren't too awful. For example, I've bought fragrances from Italian company L'Erbolario, and while shipping still stings a bit, I can still get items for less than someone in the US could, so that's one good example of a great EU-made product that's especially reasonable here. I'll pay about half the price for L'Erbolario or Korres as US folks, generally. Usually it's the other way around (or worse, like 3x as much). These are the sorts of things I'd especially love to find more of.

I can find US-made products in some places here (Sephora is an example), but the cost is almost always much, much higher because they ship it first. And of course, there are some big companies that I think just have manufacturing all over, so they are reasonably or at least somewhat equally priced wherever you are – like Revlon, or L'Oreal, as a couple of examples of huge companies that are sort of ubiquitous and relatively price-stable geographically.
posted by taz at 7:05 AM on November 12, 2013

Benta Berry skin care products claim to be for people between 15 and 30, but work very well for me despite the fact that I am no longer in that age range. They are French. Nuxe is also French, and I have used fewer of their products but liked all of the ones I've tried.

& seconding Caudalie. Their "divine oil" lives up to the name.
posted by dizziest at 7:24 AM on November 12, 2013

Feelunique.com ship to Greece and sells a vast range of products.
posted by koahiatamadl at 7:33 AM on November 12, 2013

Do you ever travel in the region? Macedonia, Bulgaria or higher up?
If you do, check out dm (drugstore like a CVS or Boots). They carry the house brand "Balea" that is good and very affordable. The big body lotion, I think 500 or 750 ml, runs between 3 and 4 Euro. And even in very good quality with urea for sensitive/dry skin.
They also sell beauty products by some of the brands people mentioned here (like Dr. Hauschka and Weleda).
For make-up and the like they have a limited organic products selection but carry the usual brands like L'oreal, Astor, Maybelline, Essie etc.
Not sure if all shops are stocked the same way, but usually the drugstore has a wide selection of food items, health, beauty, home cleaning, and other products.
posted by travelwithcats at 8:59 AM on November 12, 2013

On the smell-well side, I'm a fan of Speick. They have a Greek importer.
posted by holgate at 10:01 AM on November 12, 2013

Can you get Inglot there? They're a Polish company who make very good eyeshadows. I also like Kiko, as mentioned upthread.

Beaut.ie is great, especially if you have pale skin as they do a lot of posts on pale foundations. The Sali Hughes website is good too.
posted by mippy at 3:57 AM on November 13, 2013

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