My holiday beauty purchases

Since returning from Europe I have had many of you ask what were my holiday beauty purchases.

I surprised myself with the lack of spending on our holiday but I did manage to buy a small number of beauty items – because it wouldn’t be right if a beauty blogger came home without some new beauty products!

There are a couple of reasons why I didn’t come home with mountains of new beauty products.  Most of all was the exchange rate.  Where in years gone by Europe and the UK were the place to stock up on your favourite brands, the poor performance of the Australian Dollar against the Pound and Euro definitely stopped me in my tracks.  Also, we can pretty much get anything that we want through ordering on line.  The need to stock up because we can’t get a product in Australia is greatly reduced now, and we can even get past brand shipping restrictions by using a parcel forwarding service.  Sephora I am looking at you!

Another reason why I didn’t go ‘mad’ buying all of the things, is because I am terrible under pressure.

I think that my extreme ‘saving’ and my extensive research on beauty products has taught me not to buy on impulse.  Almost every product that I have bought on a whim has been a mistake and I hate wasting money and having products sitting in a drawer only to be thrown out later.

Whilst there were brands in Boots and Superdrug that I had heard of and I was specifically seeking out, I found the huge variety and range overwhelmed me.  I spent about an hour in Boots and only came away with 4 items and one of them I can get in Australia!

Deciding what to buy was not only based on what we could or couldn’t get in Australia, but how the prices compared.  Having to almost triple the price of everything in the UK meant that brands such as Rimmel, L’Oreal and Max Factor were way more expensive there that we can get here – especially when Priceline and Chemist Warehouse have their sales.

One brand that WAS cheaper was Bourjois.  I am a big fan of Bourjois and when they had a Gift with Purchase to sweeten the deal I just had to buy it.

I bought another bottle of my favourite foundation – Bourjois Healthy Mix which cost GBP 9.99.  This equates to around AUD $22 whereas the RRP in Australia is AUD $32

Bourjois purchases from Boots

There was a special if you spent more than GBP 12 you would receive the Bourjois water blush in 03 Pink Twice worth GBP 8.99 for free.

Being the blush lover that I am and having never tried this blush before, it was then a question of which product to buy to make up the amount.

I chose the Bourjois Colourband waterproof eyeshadow pencil and liner in 02 Brun dadaiste for GBP 5.99 as I love this shade of colour on my eyes as it really brings out the blue in them.

One problem though.  When I went to try to buy one, all of their stock had been completely butchered by people swatching the stock.  It drives me completely crazy.

I spoke to one of the Manager’s to see if they had any other stock and luckily they had an unopened tester that they were prepared to sell me.  I asked them why they didn’t put tape around the tops as they do in Priceline but he said that they were not allowed to by the brand.  I can only imagine how much stock they are unable to sell due to people wrecking their products.

The last item that I bought was a really nifty pencil sharpener from Barry M.  This cost me the grand total of GBP 1.99 and is quite different to any other sharpener I have seen.

Barry M sharpener

There is a little lever on the side which enables you to control the thickness of the pencil you are sharpening.  There have been many times when I have wanted a more fine point on my pencil than my sharpener will allow.  This is brilliant.

Prior to me leaving I asked one of my blogging friends Lucy from Skeeter and Scout what products I should be looking at when I came over to the UK.  Lucy moved to London about a year ago and has her finger on the pulse about what is the latest and greatest over there.  Unfortunately the day I was in Boots Mr SBB had my phone and I couldn’t access my notes to see what Lucy had suggested.

Luckily I did remember one of the products – Hylamide.  Lucy told me that she noticed a HUGE difference in her skin after using the Glow/Radiance serum so I actively sought it out.  I have a lot of serum’s at home so in the end I decided not to purchase it and I am glad I didn’t.  When we returned home I found that it is now available from Priceline and the cost is cheaper here than if I had bought it in the UK.  Boots sell it for GBP 20  (which relates to approx $43.00) whereas we can get in in Priceline for AUD $39.99.  It is not too much cheaper, but when Priceline have a sale on it I am sure the price will be greatly reduced and then I will pounce Smile

When in Italy I did actually buy some lipsticks without having done any research at all.  We we walking to find a restaurant for lunch in Rome when I saw a Kiko Milano store.  I hadn’t heard of the brand before but when I walked in I was like a kid in a candy store.  Unfortunately Mr SBB and I were starving and it was stinking hot so I had to make my purchases quickly.

KIKO Milan lipsticks

I chose 3 lipsticks and they are absolutely divine.  The colour, quality and price were fantastic and I only wish that I had had more time to browse.  After purchasing them I did some research online and there are SO many other goodies that I should have bought.  Their cream eyeshadows have rave reviews and I really liked the look of their contour sticks.

I bought all three of the lipsticks for EU 17.70 which relates to about AUD $27 – less than $10 per lipstick.  The Velvet Mat Lipstick and Intensely Lavish lipstick were the most expensive at around AUD $10.50 each and I would compare their quality to my Elizabeth Arden or Estee Lauder lipsticks.

My only regret is I didn’t have time to pop back into another one of their stores as I am sure I would have found some more gems.

Sounds like another trip to Italy may be on the cards!

I still can’t believe that I only came back with this tiny loot, but I am really happy with what I bought and know that all of the items will be used regularly.

Where is your favourite overseas shopping destination?  Do you let the exchange rate determine whether you buy or not when overseas?


  1. says

    Wow, can’t believe there are beauty items cheaper here than overseas!! That’s a first. Those lipsticks look gorgeous.

    The US is definitely the place to stock up on cheap makeup. I filled a big toiletries bag full of goodies at Ulta . . . then promptly left it behind in my hotel room which still burns me to this day.

    • says

      I know Beth – it was a huge surprise to me too :-). I was pretty disappointed to be honest as I thought I would come home with heaps of new products but it wasn’t to be. I guess I didn’t really need anything though.

      I actually gasped out loud when I read your comment about leaving your new bag of goodies behind. That is my idea of a nightmare!!

  2. Jane says

    Hi Kate – I enjoyed reading about your holiday haul. I was in Europe a couple of years ago and also discovered Kiko – it’s all over Europe, not just in Italy. But it seems that Europe is the ONLY place to find it. I’ve tried in vain to buy Kiko products online. Hopefully they’ll eventually come to Australia because it’s a great brand – very cheap, good quality and has some really innovative products. I’m off to Seoul next May and that’s when I’m going to go mad – Korean cosmetics are far superior to western cosmetics and are sooo cheap. I’m on a spending ban until then, to justify huge spending when I’m there!

    • says

      Thanks for the lovely feedback Jane 🙂

      I have been searching to see if I can buy Kiko online too Jane and may even contact one of my Airbnb hosts to see if she will go shopping for me as I LOVE everything that I bought and NEED more of it in my regime.

      You are going to have a field day in Seoul I am sure, and any pain that you are going through with your spending ban will definitely be worth it. I loved knowing that I had saved hard and that the money was there to be spent if I wanted to. I actually have another post almost ready to go where I talk about how saving has actually changed me in ways I didn’t think possible so make sure you have a read of that when it comes out 🙂

  3. Trish Drinkwater says

    I never buy overseas without converting it into AUD, Kate!!!! Our son lived in UK for some years and it was at a time the exchange rate was brilliant so I used to just love getting Elizabeth Arden so much cheaper than here plus items we didn’t get. I managed to get a brilliant buy in NZ – since throwing up my allergy to all products with alcohol, I haven’t been able to get a clear moisturiser with SPF. Shiseido make one for the NZ market. It’s perfect, milky and moisturising with SPF 19. I bought 3 bottles!

    Lovely reading about your wonderful holiday. Take care.

    • says

      I am glad I am not the only one who spends time calculating the conversions Trish.

      I am thrilled to hear that you have found a moisturiser which works really well for you and that you stocked up. It must be really frustrating for you having to change your whole routine.

      Thank you for all of the support you send my way Trish and I wish you and your lovely hubby a wonderful Festive season xx

  4. says

    How cool is that sharpener! Wish there was something like that over here. And those Kiko lipsticks look great. I enjoy buying brands like MAC overseas, because generally it’s cheaper.

    • says

      Isn’t it great Mel? Do you know that I have never tried or owned a MAC lipstick? I haven’t been drawn to the brand but I must try a few of their products as many bloggers rave about them.

    • says

      Thanks Kelly. I am so annoyed I didn’t pick up more Kiko products as I have fallen head over heels with their lipsticks. I am going to have to ask around as to who is going to Italy so I can give them a shopping list!