September 21, 2021

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11 Must-Have Products Beauty Counter Staff Actually Buy Themselves

3 min read

Swatching, sampling and colour-matching are yet to be possible over Wi-Fi, so while online shopping may be taking over, it’s always worthwhile to head into a bricks and mortar store when shopping for beauty products.

In store, you’ll find the true beauty influencers. Not those plugging #sponsoredposts on Instagram, or showing off #gifted products. We’re talking about those who work the shop floor of our favourite department stores, such as Liberty, Selfridges, Harrods and more.

Whether it’s skincare specialists who receive regular training sessions direct from brand founders, or artists who give makeovers to individuals of all ages, genders and ethnicities, it’s safe to say they really know their stuff (including what’s worth your hard earned money and what simply isn’t).
 
Ahead, we got the lowdown on all the beauty products the real experts buy on repeat.

Kyle Andrew, skincare consultant at Fresh in Harrods.

“This is my ultimate skin saviour; an all-in-one multitasking product. It’s a soothing face balm which melts into a delicate oil. I use it to heal and calm my skin, especially when I’ve got a bit sunburnt, and even to calm me down if I’m feeling anxious or down, as the scent is so relaxing. It’s like mint chocolate meets a sea breeze and it just cocoons you in a happy tranquility. Yes, it’s pricy, but it’s a treasure to own and I always know it’s on hand for any skin SOS.”

May Lindstrom The Blue Cocoon Beauty Balm Concentrate, $, available at Space NK

Daisy Dean, sales consultant for Byredo at Liberty London.

“The spray bottle is perfect for on the go and fits easily into my handbag. The delicate halo of scent works with movement to continue to release the fragrance throughout the day. It’s also no coincidence that every guy I’ve ever dated always whispers into my hair of secrets — ‘I can’t stop smelling you!’ A quick spritz leaves a divine smell as I get up to mischief across London.”

Byredo Black Saffron Hair Perfume, $, available at Liberty London

Charlotte Ponberth, store manager at SpaceNK, Nottingham.

“I’ve been with SpaceNK for 18 years so I’ve literally tried it all. Chantecaille’s Just Skin is the best thing since sliced bread. It covers and evens out skin tone without feeling heavy. It lends skin a super radiant finish and it’s ideal on dry or mature skin. I’ve tried every other tinted moisturiser out there but this one always wins for me. And I’ve probably sold millions!”

Chantecaille Just Skin Tinted Moisturizer SPF15, $, available at Space NK

Arrie Harries, store manager at SpaceNK, Victoria, London.

“I’ve been working at SpaceNK since 2007 and have used these religiously since we started stocking them years ago. They are game-changing. Not only do they make skin smoother and brighter but any product you use afterwards will be absorbed much more efficiently. This maximises the effects. I sometimes alternate these with a cheaper acid toner so I don’t run out too quickly.”

Dr Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Peel Extra Strength Formula, $, available at Space NK

Sandy Dosanjh, makeup artist at Harrods .

“Everyone knows the original Orgasm blush but the loose powder version is my absolute favourite; it’s definitely an unsung hero. Because the powder is loose, it gives skin a very subtle, dewy, soft-glam finish rather than an OTT Insta-glam look. Products I love for myself normally make their way into my freelance kit so I can use them on clients and I’m also my own guinea pig. Whether it’s for a dinner date or everyday, I’ll pop a bit on as I can’t live without it.”

NARS Illuminating Loose Powder in Orgasm, $, available at NARS

Magda Furmanowska, store manager at SpaceNK, Duke Of York Square, London.

“This is hands down the best mascara I have ever used. It gives my lashes the most amazing voluminous effect without ever clumping. Sensitive eyes are covered, too, as it’s super gentle and also easy to remove. I find it lasts for months so I don’t have to repurchase it too often, either.”

Chantecaille Faux Cils Mascara, $, available at Space NK

Elle Cieslak, counter manager for YSL at John Lewis, Westfield London.

“When I was 15, I heard Gigi Gorgeous describe this as a scent for ‘an old rich woman’ on YouTube, and thought it was the best thing ever. Growing up in Poland, I headed to Sephora to smell it and I instantly fell in love. I had to save up for months to get my hands on it. When I got my first bottle I treasured it. I even bought a fake version, which I would alternate using so I could make it last longer! It must have been fate because I moved to the UK and now work for YSL.”

Yves Saint Laurent Manifesto Eau de Parfum 50ml, $, available at John Lewis

Sanita Sopi, store manager at Glossier London.

“I’ve been with Glossier since the London launch in 2019, but I loved their products even before then. Brow Flick is my number one must-have for a polished but still naturally thick brow look. The pen is so microfine to fill any little gaps and it defines brows with minimal effort. It’s also water-resistant, so doesn’t budge throughout the day, which is ideal for sweaty mornings on the Tube or at the gym.”

Glossier Brow Flick, $, available at Glossier

Linnet Yates, beauty consultant for Votary at Liberty London.

“I don’t mean to sound biased because I work for them but I’ve been a beauty consultant for over 20 years, and even when I worked for other brands, I’d use the Votary Rose Geranium and Apricot Cleansing Oil. It takes off everything but doesn’t leave skin feeling dry or tight. I normally dread taking my makeup off at night but the scent makes me look forward to taking the day off. It makes me happy! You also wouldn’t think something as dull and boring as a flannel could be so good but this is hands down the best.”

Votary Cleansing Oil, $, available at Liberty London

Sam Golley, makeup artist for Hourglass in Harvey Nichols, London.

“This is my go-to for troubled skin. Working in our environment with the constant perfume spritzing and air-con, I find my skin really dries out. But this hydrates, eliminates any unevenness and gives me a glow. For just over two years, I’ve been alternating it with The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution. I use the Equilibrium 4-5 days a week and the Glycolic twice a week, and my skin has never looked better. I constantly tell friends and clients about the toner, as it’s great and fits into everyone’s budget, but Equilibrium is definitely worth the splurge when you can afford it.”

Hourglass Equilibrium Skin Active Serum, $, available at Harvey Nichols

Shareen Gerald, national artist for Chantecaille, travelling nationwide.

“This is a genius product, especially if you like a dewy skin. It reduces any ‘cakiness’ and I really love the mist itself as it’s not too invasive like some aggressive sprays. It doesn’t make the face too wet but deeply hydrates and leaves behind a glow. I don’t know what they put in there but it works! I use it on myself but it’s always in my kit for shoots and weddings, too. At this point I’ve probably bought around five so I never run out.”

Morphe Continuous Setting Mist, $, available at Boots

Katie England, skincare specialist at John Bell & Croyden, London.

“I normally love to switch products because I’m all about finding the next best thing, but I’m obsessed with Medik8 Crystal Retinal 6, available in store. Even when I moved to Australia I’d go out of my way to buy it. Talk about dedication. It works super quickly, never makes my skin ‘purge’ like some retinol can and I completely credit it for keeping my skin looking glowy and helping to minimise pigmentation.”

Medik8 Crystal Retinal 6TR, $, available at John Bell & Croyden

Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?

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