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Whilst on my internship in Dubai last month I took the full liberty of doing an outlandish beauty haul, because, well, yano, treat yoself.
Not being one to beat around the bush, I took advantage of Duty Free prices and made my first purchases there at Heathrow Airport. I’ve always wanted to try Urban Decay’s All Nighter Setting Spray, and the travel-sized version was only £7, so there was certainly no harm in trying one.
I also had my eye one of their Vice Lipsticks and a desire for a deep, rich vampy purple shade, so I bought one in the shade Disturbed – a stunning blackened burgundy-raisin. The finish is Comfort Matte, and I’m so impressed with the formula because whilst drying down to a matte finish, the formula is incredibly creamy, but intensely pigmented at the same time, which in my experience is a balance a lot of makeup companies struggle to achieve. I’ve previously been a devotee to MAC lipsticks, but the formulas and shade range of UD’s Vice Lipsticks are hands-down unbeatable.
Disturbed is the kind of shade that needs a lip liner, so I found one to match in the form of MAC’s Nightmoth. Finally, I decided to try out Benefit’s Browvo! Conditioning Primer, because I’m constantly (and also desperately, if you will) looking for products that make my eyebrows fuller and thicker.
As some of you may know from experience, the Sephoras in our neighbouring Europe tend to be a little disappointing. I was super excited when I found out there was a Sephora in Milan but when I finally made my pilgrimage there it was full of the same brands I’d encounter in the UK. No Anastasia Beverly Hills. No Kat von D. No holy grail US brands.
That all changed when I came to Dubai. The Emirate is renowned for its multitude of mega-malls, including the world’s biggest. There are a handful of Sephoras across the city, but you have to correlate the size of the mall it inhabits with the size of the store itself. On my first week in Dubai, I went to Mall of the Emirates, which was overwhelmingly massive and disorientating (and it’s not even the biggest one), and when I set my eyes on the distant glow of black and white stripes it felt like love.
I pretty much lost my cool from thereon out. They had all the coveted brands I was looking for – Kat von D, ABH, Becca, Huda Beauty et al. I’d spent months lusting after a selection of liquid lipsticks from the first two, so I went ahead and picked up Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick in Crush and Heathers. Going for a similar contrasting colour scheme with Kat Von D’s Everlasting Liquid Lipstick – a natural hue and a vampy shade, I went for Bow n Arrow and Exorcism, respectively.
To buy only four things from Sephora was a record demonstration of self-control for me. I’ve been back multiple times and hovered in the same areas, but I came, I saw, I conquered and got what I wanted.
My next big feat was at Makeup Forever in Dubai Mall, where I met celebrity makeup artist Hrush Acheyeman, aka Styled By Hrush, and Dubai-based Hindash. It would’ve been rude not to buy something as a token of appreciation and a souvenir to remember the special moment by; inevitably, I picked up Makeup Forever’s Brow Sculpting Pro and their exclusive Brow Liner. I’m not too convinced by the Brow Sculpting Pro – the angled nib has already become blunt and ideally you want a super fine nib – but I’m sure I can still make do with it.
My final beauty purchases were Inglot’s AMC Pure Pigment Powders, because I swatched about half of the collection and they were absolutely insane. I picked up shade 264 – a brilliant cranberry rust, and 120 – mauve with blue iridescent reflects.
Have you been on a Sephora haul recently? Let me know what you’ve been buying in the comments!
The Style Banks x