It’s been two whole months since I visited a friend out in the US, spending time in New Orleans and Alabama. Although 90% of our time was spent eating food, you can bet your bottom dollar that I did a little bit of shopping while I was there. I thought I’d share my haul with you all and let you know what is worth picking up, and at the end I’ll list some food recommendations in case you ever find yourself in the Southern United States!
I’m in between jobs at the moment so I tried to stick to just picking up products that I can’t get here in UK (or at least those I couldn’t get at the time – there have been so many recent brand launches in the UK, so some of the products I mention are now more accessible).
Clé de Peau Beauté
I have always longed for the award winning concealer from Clé de Peau, and until about a month ago when Harrods launched the brand on their website, it was almost impossible to get in the UK. I tracked Clé de Peau down in Saks while visiting New Orleans and managed to pick up the concealer in shades Ivory and Beige, along with a lipstick in the shade Bamboo.
I am still in the early stages of testing out the concealer, but so far I really like it. It gives me just enough coverage for my dark under eyes (not quite as full coverage as shape tape, but still high coverage), blends seamlessly into the skin, and also works well on other areas of the face. Despite the small shade range, Ivory works well for me and I have passed on the shade Beige to my mum as it suits her light, cool undertone. I tend to warm the stick concealer on my finger tip before applying to my skin to help it to blend easier. The longevity and setting ability seems very impressive for how well this melts into the skin, but I need to test it much more before reaching my final verdict.
The lipstick has a beautiful petal-shaped tip and comes in a gorgeous navy and gold packaging. The formula goes on smoothly and is very nourishing and creamy – perfect for everyday wear. The colour Bamboo is the perfect medium nude-pink and appears fairly neutral on me. With a few swipes I achieved a flattering semi-opaque finish.
Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask
A product that I frequently hear being mentioned on Youtube, but has yet to come to the UK (unless you risk ordering on Amazon or eBay), is the Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask. I picked up the shades Natural (which seems to be colourless) and Smashed (a bright red). So far I have tried wearing the red colour in the day time but I haven’t been too keen on it. It’s very occlusive and not so hydrating or nourishing, which is what I prefer during the day. I do look forward to trying the natural colour as an overnight lip mask though as I usually like to use a very thick formula for this purpose.
I was originally planning on picking up some of the Amuse Bouche lipsticks, but when I swatched them they seemed very thick and opaque and I feared they may be slightly drying (or at least not very moisturising) so I skipped these for now.
Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial
The DE Babyfacial acid exfoliator is the product that is a Holy Grail for many, but sadly is not sold outside of the US due to regulations exporting an exfoliator that contains such a high percentage of acid. Drunk Elephant to me is very overpriced for its rather mediocre formulas and questionable philosophy, not to mention their troublesome customer service on their social media platforms. I have tried their mini starter kit, which I gladly used up but would not say that any product is worth paying full price for. The Vitamin C serum was already oxidised and irritated my skin (which I have seen other people also complain about). I have a full size of the marula oil, which I cannot distinguish from The Ordinary marula oil (neither of these seem to do anything for my skin). I recently finished a full size of the Lala Retro Whipped Cream, which was a nice consistency on my dry winter skin, but did not help with dry patches or moisturise me as well as my HG Avene Skin Recovery Cream does. The T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum was never groundbreaking for me. I already use plenty of acid exfoliation in my skincare routine, and the COSRX AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid is my current favourite for banishing closed comedones and waking up with a soft, bright complexion. The Framboos Serum in comparison has no noticeable benefits the next day, or when used for consecutive days. It’s difficult to know the strength of this exfoliator since the percentage of each acid and the pH of the product is not disclosed, but it feels very mild to me so I will not repurchase once I have used it up.
tldr: I happily used up most of my DE products, but would not repurchase any nor would I recommend them based on the price tags.
Babyfacial will be the final thing I try from this brand, and I was the most keen on trying this out of their entire line, which is why I purchased it despite my underwhelming experience with the brand so far. I have only used this a couple of times so can’t comment too much yet, but despite the strong tingling sensation on application, I have yet to see any big overnight results.
Koyudo Kabuki Brushes
When Beautylish first started stocking the Japanese fude brand Koyudo this year, they did not ship it to the UK for some reason. I kept checking right up until I went to the US, so ended up shipping an order to my friend in Alabama so that I could pick up a couple of their adorable Kabuki brushes – Fuderinn and a blue flower, both made from Sokoho Goat hair. Upon returning to the UK, I went back on the Beautylish site and lo and behold they now ship Koyudo to the UK! At least I avoided the extra cost of import duties and taxes.
Kristin Ess Dry Shampoo
My friend, Victoria, recommended that I picked up the Kristin Ess dry shampoo from Target. I got a full size and travel size (I was supposed to have two of the full size but one of them turned out to be a completely different product). I have yet to try this out as I am currently swimming in bottles of dry shampoo, but will report back when I finally get to put this to the test. I have been told to expect great things.
Another frequently talked about brand that is sold at Sephora is Tatcha. I picked up minis of the Silk Canvas primer and the Luminous Dewy Skin Mist. I have been carrying the mist in my bag, and while it is perfectly fine, I’m not sure it’s better than any other mists I have tried. I have yet to try out the primer as it’s not something I use on a daily basis due to the concern of disturbing my SPF application.
Last but certainly not least, I picked up a little handbag essential from Target: a compact of wipes for removing red wine stains on lips and teeth, complete with a little mirror. Genius.
Food & Drink in the South
My main reason for wanting to visit the Southern United States, besides wanting to see my friend and having an urge to go into Sephora, was of course to eat! So I’m going to briefly list the highlights from this incredible culinary experience.
- Zapp’s Kettle Potato Chips – Voodoo flavour. Apparently this flavour is a New Orleans delicacy. 9/10
- Cheetos Flamin Hot – although I have tried these in the past, I couldn’t resist grabbing these from the shelf. Would recommend, but not really suitable for breakfast. 9/10
- Pop Tarts – Pumpkin Pie Flavour. Yes. 6/10 (due to a lack of craving for these now)
- Fruity Lucky Charms cereal. After the initial excitement and sugar high died down, I never wanted to eat these again. 3/10
- The Company Burger New Orleans – The signature burger with two patties. I wholeheartedly agree with Victoria in that this is THE BEST BURGER I HAVE EVER EATEN. perfect ratio of patty to bun. Thin patties. SO juicy. Fresh pickles. Just stunning in every way. Run don’t walk. 12/10
- Café du Monde, New Orleans: beignets – kind of like a square donut. Covered in icing sugar. Sort of difficult to eat but can imagine wanting one during the winter. 7/10
- Cane and Table, New Orleans – a Pan-Latin restaurant that serves excellent food and amazing cocktails (their Hurricane and Table Cocktail is top notch). 10/10
- Turkey and the Wolf, New Orleans – a mean, lean fried bologna sandwich shop, with salads that resemble the trifle featured in the Faulty Towers episode ‘Gourmet Night’. 10/10
- Fried Oysters. No. 4/10
- A good old backyard southern BBQ with all the trimmings, some terrible American ‘beer’, lots of great company, and a spot of water volleyball. 11/10
- Collard Greens – my favourite vegetable, especially when served in a salty umami broth with a sprinkle of chilli flakes. 10/10
- Cheese Grits – I love grits, but I do prefer mine with just a generous scoop of butter rather than cheese flavoured. 7/10
- Gumbo – only had this in restaurants, but it’s right up my street. 9/10
- Waffle House – had breakfast here (sober) with a side of ‘biscuits and gravy’. Exactly the kind of food I came to the south for. 10/10
- All of the seafood! Ed’s Seafood Shed has a lovely sea view and great food (minus the fried Oysters), only spoiled by the presence of a giant moth that was mistaken for a baby hummingbird. The Half Shell Oyster House has fantastic charbroiled Oysters with various toppings, and their other seafood dishes were equally as delicious. 10/10
- Flora-Bama beach bar, located on the Orange Beach, Alabama and Perdido Key, Florida line. I went during a quiet time, but I can still vouch for their Bushwackers! 10/10 (assuming it’s great when busy)
I also enjoyed bingeing on Taco Bell and Chick-fil-A which is only exciting for people who don’t live in the States.
I would love to hear of any other food or beauty recommendations for visitors to the US, either in the South or anywhere else!
This is not a sponsored post. All products mentioned in this post have been purchased by me.