Souvenirs are to travelers what sonnets are to Shakespeare – both seldom exist without the other. And as a thoroughbred traveler we turn everything that we pick as a souvenir of our travels – a subway ticket, entry tickets to famous monuments, water bottles (yeah I collect them all the time), restaurant bills, city maps and what not. I am no different when it comes to my collection, but I have added one more to my list of souvenirs – the glitzy treasure trove of local cosmetics.
Well this is the easier of the lot. Many of the brands that you get in the UK are available the world over. However it might still be a good idea to get your fill of some of the best known British brands right when you are on the Queen’s land.
Two of my favourite British brands are Rimmel and No.7. Although I am not a makeup junkie but the one thing I love about Rimmel are its lipsticks. They are the smoothest that you could get and the lightest on the pocket. I remember owning a red shimmer lipstick and its a real shame that I can no longer recall the shade, but I would trade my Ruby Woo for that any day (sounds blasphemous but that’s how good Rimmel is at that price point). At present I am using Vintage Pink and its a real pleasure on my lips. Also try Rimmel’s Glam’Eyes Day2Night Mascara which comes with a 2 in 1 cap for volume and length and their eyepencil series (I use the Exaggerate eyedefiner in shade 261 Noir). And if you need to stock up on your skincare products then look no further than the No. 7. Although I don’t have a particular favourite there, but you could use any of their skincare products based on your skin type and yes they have a great range of men’s products too. And always remember, when in the UK do never forget to visit the holy shrine of Boots, because even their private labels are better than many you get elsewhere.
The two most important places in Jordan are the Petra and the Dead Sea and its a pity that you cannot carry a part of the lost city of Petra with you, but you sure can carry quite a bit of the Dead Sea back home. The best brand of the Dead Sea products that one can possibly pick from Jordan is Dolmen with their range of skincare products made from real Dead Sea salt and something that you would get there at one half the price. Stock up on the Bath Salts, Soft Muds, Body scrubs, Soaps and anything else that catches your fancy. They claim to be safe on irritated skin too and so far I haven’t seen anything not to believe them. They do have their official e-store but I have not tried it yet. I had stocked up enough from my trip to Jordan, to last me a couple of years. Another alternative to Dolmen is the brand RE-LIFE. I have not used their salts but have a few of their olive body soaps and the cupboard where I have stocked up all these is a total sensory pleasure.
United Arab Emirates
When you are in the UAE you have access to every cosmetic head brand that exists but if you really want to pick up something that is Dubai’s own, then head straight to the HUDA counter at your nearest Sephora store. I have seen women literally fighting it out to get their hands on the latest HUDA products and product lines going out of stock in minutes. Two of the best known HUDA products are their range of liquid mattes (don’t miss their liquid matte minis) and their eye shadow palette Rose Gold which is often touted as the best ever eye shadow palette.
When in Greece do as the Greek’s do and head to the nearest apothecary where you will find shelves of Korres and ApiVita products lined up. If you are in Athens then head to Ermou street for the Korres store whilst Athens airport has a well stocked ApiVita store. I found an ApiVita store in Santorini too in the main market at Fira. Anyhow, availability of these brands in Greece is not a problem, it is just how much you can carry back home. Their skincare products are one of the best and that I can say from my personal experience having switched from Clinique to Korres. In fact I was so desperate to shop Korres even after I was back in India that I have discovered a rather good site Look Fantastic to satiate my skin’s craving for the wonders of this Greek apothecary product. Donot miss out on their range of face and body sunscreen lotions and the moisturising creams (I use the Wild Rose range).
If you want to stock up on some awesome looking nail colors and lipstick and lip gloss shades and you happen to be in the Middle East or the Med, then look around yourself and more likely than not you would chance upon a FlorMar store. I found these stores while in Greece and in Jordan while the products are manufactured in Turkey. They have good reviews on the internet and if for nothing else I would definitely buy these for their excellent range of colors and economical pricing. Most of the products are under EUR 10 with some of the nail paints under EUR 5. Now that’s a steal given the stellar quality of the brand.