All eyes are on London right now because of the Olympics so it's time to focus on some of the goods the UK has to offer. No, we're not talking tea or Burberry--we're talking about the stellar beauty brands that keep all those English roses looking so, well, rosy.
We picked the brains of our UK beauty and fashion friends to bring you a comprehensive list of the buzziest brands in Britain now, just in time for you to email your friends who are trekking to London to pick you up some lotions and potions.
From the high street to the hallowed halls of Selfridges, click through to discover the best of UK beauty.
Many thanks to the following UK beauties for their input: • Sasha Wilkins, Liberty London Girl • Steph Powell, Beauty Editor, Kiss and Makeup • Liz Hambleton, Beauty Director, Grazia UK • Nicky Kinnaird, Founder, SpaceNK
Two UK editors in our panel, Sasha Wilkins of Liberty London Girl and Grazia's Liz Hambleton, raved about this brand, which was started by ex-Vogue UK beauty editor Kathy Philips. Wilkins calls her "one of the fiercest and strictest editors around." And added, "She does not f**k around, and I have always trusted her professional opinion implicitly. So I trust her products." The products are free of phthalates, sulphates, synthetic colours and fragrances, parabens, GMO’s and mineral oils and are not tested on animals.
Wilkins swears by the Perfect Legs Skin Miracle to even out skin tone in the summer and for events (she wore it on the BAFTAs red carpet) and Hambleton loves the Perfect Skin Self Defence SPF 30 and the classic Dry Leg Oil which she claims, "No Brit beauty insider could live without."
Get it at their US website here.
"This brand really helped kick off DIY nail art in the UK, pairing up with WAH to bring out nail pens we could use at home. Their nail polish colours are amazing too – their Beetlejuice collection is an absolute masterpiece. Plus they have a shop in the shape of a nail polish bottle, how cool is that?"--Steph Powell, Kiss and Makeup
We've received samples of this polish in various LFW goody bags and had our nails did by WAH a few months ago and can attest to the awesomeness of Models Own. The colors are so vibrant and do not chip.
Get it here. (Urban Outfitters also carries it sometimes, but we don't see it on the site now.)
"Eve Lom’s cult Treatment Cleanser started the trend for balm-based formulas. However, none of her imitators come close; paired with its specially textured muslin cloth, the Eve Lom Cleanser removes makeup, cleanses, exfoliates, tones, re-texturizes and brightens the skin. A nightly mini spa treatment in the comfort of your own bathroom."--Nicky Kinnaird, SpaceNK
We are already converts to this brand. Her lip and eye treatments are also extraordinary.
Get them here.
"A true British gem and found in our beloved Boots, their Protect & Perfect range holds its own against the flashiest anti-aging break-throughs. Grazia beauty desk favourites include Intelligent Colour Foundation (more like a delicious tinted moisturiser on application) and Protect & Perfect Intense Beauty Serum which makes a great base for make-up."--Liz Hambleton, Grazia
Boots is being taken over by US drugstore chain Walgreens, much to the horror of some in the UK. The good news is that you'll be able to get Boots' beauty brands at Walgreens. In the meantime, get it here.
"Their products are incredible for such low prices--especially the Flake Away body scrub--and I love their tongue-in-cheek names (they have a plumping gloss called Sexy Mother Pucker) and kitschy packaging."--SP, Kiss and Makeup
Soap and Glory is Marcia Kilgore's latest venture (she is, of course, the founder of the the Bliss empire). You can get it here.
"A visit to one of the two Hersheson flagship salons or their soon to be four blow-dry bars is a must. Emerge with a Brit girl blow-dry (think Alexa Chung) and treat yourself their brilliant styling range which includes the easiest to use ceramic irons ever and genius clip in hair pieces. I’m addicted to the volume boosting Bardot and cool girl colour pieces which look great clipped into a scruffy ponytail."--LH, Grazia
We have spent wayyy too much time comtemplating ordering the clip in highlights and braided hair pieces. Seriously fun hair accessories.
Get them here.
"We have wonderful perfumers working in the UK, and Ormond Jayne and Miller Harris are two of the best perfumeries, each with boutiques in Mayfair. However, my current favourite is UNION, which just launched last week four fragrances, ‘Holy Thistle’, ‘Quince, Mint & Moss’, ‘Celtic Fire’ and ‘Gothic Bluebell exclusively into Selfridges. Every single ingredient has been sourced in the UK by Union’s creative perfumer & nose, Anastasia Brozle, who foraged through previously unaccessed private estates to find wonderful notes."--SW, LibertyLondonGirl
"Barry M have a massive range of 400 colours, but their hero products are their nail polishes – cheap, long lasting and they always manage to make excellent copies of the trendy shades from brands like Chanel."--SP, Kiss and Makeup
"A brilliant British cosmetics company. Along with a bunch of major makeup artists, I have a big thing for their Skinny Brush Mascara."--SW, LibertyLondonGirl
We've never tried this brand, but are promptly ordering the Fat Brush now, since the Holy Grail quest for the perfect mascara is neverending. You can order from their website; they'll ship free to the US for orders over $55.
"The high street’s answer to MAC, the eyeshadow these guys make seriously rival their quality in pigment and longevity, and you get a palette of 12 colours for just £7.99. Plus they’re the only high street brand to offer 16 shades of their foundation."--SP, Kiss and Makeup
The brand is really proud of offering a wide range of colors for all skin tones. They will ship to the US via their website.
"Ange & Vernice Walker of Rococo Nail Apparel are the go-to manicurists for British catwalk shows such as Burberry and Roland Mouret. Their VIP Red is an elegant sophisticated red that everyone should have in their beauty arsenal."--NK, SpaceNK
We look forward to seeing Rococo's ranges every season. Their recent nude palette was fantastic, and they have metallics coming this winter. Get them at SpaceNK.
"Beautifully scented hair care products (kind of like Jo Malone for your hair) packaged in minimal, clear bottles so the bright coloured concoctions are their main attraction – they look very cool sitting in your bathroom cabinet. Their shampoos and conditioners are really good, and they have a very well put together styling line."--SP, Kiss and Makeup
It's not clear if they deliver to the US, but give it a shot here.
"From Dr. Marko Lens, the new Zelens Transformer Instant Renewal Mask is the perfect all-rounder--it hydrates, brightens and revitalizes, immediately imparting a healthy radiant, lit-from-within glow. Use on 5 consecutive nights for a red carpet worthy complexion."--NK, SpaceNK
Definitely a splurge at $195 but if we can look red-carpet ready (like Emma Stone, preferably) for work, we'd totally try it. Get it here.
"Liz Earle does colour! Look out for her soon to launch eye shadow shades which seem to tick every box when it comes to colour. Soft, smoky bronze, dramatic black, every-day neutral and a shot of fun but flattering colour. I’m currently using the range on a rotational basis to satisfy my obsession with next seasons kaleidoscope of eye shadow trends."--LH, Grazia
Until this color collection launches, try their star, award-winning product, the Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser. Get it at their US site here.
"Nothing beats a lunch-time session in Superdrug. Think of it a little like a British Duane Reade and be sure to stock up on endless essential mini must haves such as baby powder, make-up remover pads and dry shampoo. (Why are tiny things always so exciting to buy?) I use my lunch time visits to cultivate an ever growing collection of face flannels, wash clothes and cleansing sponges. Also look out for their own brand false eye lashes and cult colour makeup brand Barry M."--LH, Grazia
You're just going to have to go to London and wander through a Superdrug--impossible to get that experience online.