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5 English Brands You Should Try

By Polly, Local Contributor, English

Polly is a 22-year old recent graduate who hails from England. She studied East Asian studies, so she learned some Japanese and even spent six weeks in Japan last summer–she loved it and hopes to return one day.

She currently lives with her family and waitresses while trying to decide on her future career. Polly is fortunate to have a wonderful boyfriend who spends countless hours with her at Boots and makeup counters–even if it is done so begrudgingly! Check out her blog, Beauty Mish Mash!

5 English Brands You Should Try

There are so many amazing English brands that I found it hard to choose just five! Which ones would you have chosen? I would love to hear about your favorite English brands and products!


I’ve seen a lot of love for Sleek in the blogosphere, and I’m not surprised!  The products are extremely high quality for a very reasonable price. Their eyeshadows are smooth and pigmented, and they come in a wide range of colors.  Their blushers are equally fabulous!  I’m always excited to see their latest release, and have never been disappointed in a product from them.

  • My star product: Sleek’s Pout Paints (£4.99) are incredible. The first time I tried one, it wore for 12 and a half hours before I had to remove it to go to bed! They are ridiculously pigmented, and they are designed to be mixed together, so you can even create your own customized lip color. I can’t wait to try this out!


MeMeMe is only available in larger Superdrugs or online – I do wish it was easier to locate! Over the last few years the packaging has all been redesigned, and now it looks really pretty and feminine. The prices are slightly above the average drugstore brand, but I do think that the products merit this. A couple of the products remind me of their Benefit equivalent – think cheek and lip tints and boxed blushers. I can’t say how they compare though, because after trying MeMeMe’s version I haven’t felt the need to see how Benefit fares in comparison!

  • My star product: I love, love, love the Poppy Cheek and Lip Tint (£5.25)! It is a lovely baby pink that gives such a healthy flush to my cheeks. It’s a great every day color for lips, too, but can be a little drying (I’m yet to find a lip tint that isn’t, though).


17, available from Boots, offers the cheapest products out of these 5 brands. I do feel that this is reflected in the quality of some of the items, but I still think it is a great brand to try if you’re new to make up, or if you’re trying to save money! 17 often have a generous GWP on offer, and you only need to spend around £5 to receive it.

  • My star product: I’d say see whatever takes your fancy! Some days I like looking through the lipsticks, and other days, I like the nail varnishes. Because the price is so reasonable, I don’t mind too much if I end up with a color that doesn’t suit me, or a product that isn’t perfect – it’s fun to experiment sometimes!

Barry M

Barry M is probably my very favourite English make up brand. Discovering it really was the beginning of my make up addiction! I love their products, their prices and their bright colour selection. If you want to try out a new bright colour of eyeshadow or lipstick but you’re not sure whether you’ll like it or not, Barry M is a great way to try it without breaking the bank.

  • My star product: Without a doubt, it has to be their Dazzle Dusts (£4.59). There is such a vast selection of beautiful colors, and I really can’t resist them. They look lovely once applied, but I do need to wear them over a good eyeshadow primer, otherwise they are prone to creasing.

Soap & Glory

Soap & Glory isn’t primarily a make up brand, though they have very recently launched a new make up line that I have yet to try. They specialize in skincare and bathing products, and they definitely do it well. The products all smell incredible and feel lovely on my skin. Their vintage style packaging looks very nice in my bathroom too!

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Tarina Tarantino Violet Storm Jewel Eyeshadow Palette

Tarina Tarantino Violet Storm Jewel Eyeshadow Palette
Tarina Tarantino Violet Storm Jewel Eyeshadow Palette

Tarina Tarantino Violet Storm Jewel Eyeshadow Palette

Tarina Tarantino Violet Storm Jewel Eyeshadow Palette ($20.00 for 0.32 oz.) is a limited edition palette from the Aurora holiday collection, which, apparently, sold out between when I tested this and today, at least online. A few readers said it’s still in stores, though, so on the off chance that you’re braving the mall today or gearing up to spend any Sephora gift cards on Monday, maybe this will be of help. $20 (these are normally $32!) gets you a full-sized palette featuring five stunning eyeshadows. The outer packaging of this is rather holographic and the metallic portion is a pink-lilac.

The top shade is a dirty, almost mint-esque, green. The color payoff is good, and the texture is soft and smooth when applied. None of the many, many green eyeshadows I’ve come across seemed to compare. Make Up For Ever #302 came the closest, buit it’s much more of a teal, whereas this one is still fairly green.

On the left, there is a pale, metallic pink with subtle gold sheen; the pink has more of a yellow undertone, so it is a warmer pink. The color payoff is good, though the texture is just a smidgen dry compared to other Tarina Tarantino eyeshadows, but it’s still quite soft and there’s no difficult in applying it. It is similar to the pink in the Delightful palette. MAC Defiance is similar but lighter.

In the middle of the palette is a purple-tinted blue–it’s not quite indigo, not quite violet–wiath a satiny sheen. It has a really dense, soft texture and intense color payoff. NARS Rated R is quite a bit lighter. It’s not as purple as MAC Cobalt or as a blue (or as dark!) as MAC Atlantic Blue. It’s a bit like MAC Royale but bluer.

On the right, there is a pink-lilac with a very frosted finish. It’s incredibly soft to the touch, so it applies very smoothly and yields excellent pigmentation. Inglot #440 is a bit lighter. theBalm Curtain Call is a little pinker and lighter.

The final shade, on the bottom, is a jewel-toned purple with a soft, frosted finish. It has good pigmentation, and it applies very smoothly against the skin. MAC Shock-a-holic is similar in color but has a matte finish. MAC Violet has less red tones.

Tarina Tarantino Violet Storm Jewel Eyeshadow Palette


It doesn’t impact it either way – I won’t not buy a product because a particular celebrity has endorsed it, but I also won’t buy a product because a celebrity says it’s great. I don’t blame a brand for cashing in on a celebrity’s audience/reach, but I really don’t follow celebrities, so I don’t identify with any of them and want to buy products they like/endorse.

— Christine

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NYX Kiss in Casablanca Eyeshadow

NYX Kiss in Casablanca Eyeshadow
NYX Kiss in Casablanca Eyeshadow

NYX Kiss in Casablanca Eyeshadow

NYX Kiss in Casablanca Eyeshadow ($5.00 for 0.09 oz.) is an ocean blue with a soft, frosted finish. What I love about this particular shade of blue is the overall soft, muted quality to it, but it hasn’t diminished the quiet vibrancy of the color at all. It’s like a mix of MAC Freshwater and MAC Deep Truth. MAC Pure Creation is a bit similar, too.

The eyeshadow has a really soft, powdery quality that can result in fall out if you aren’t aware of it (I also think you end up with more product than you need for application, because a little goes a long way). It has great color payoff and melts against skin for a really smooth result. NYX says these will wear “for many hours,” though I will say they tend to look faded after six or seven hours if used without a base. This particular shade I didn’t have any fading issues with when I used it over an eyeshadow base.


Benefit Saucy Full-Finish Lipstick

Benefit Saucy Full-Finish Lipstick
Benefit Saucy Full-Finish Lipstick

Benefit Saucy Full-Finish Lipstick ($18.00 for 0.10 oz.) is described as a “sparkling tangerine.” This is a lovely brightened coral-orange with peach and copper shimmer. It delivers mostly opaque color coverage. CoverGirl Rapture is similar in the base color, though a bit more orange. MAC Drive Me Wild is like a much deeper, redder version, but it has the same coppery shimmer. Milani Cora Bora Bora is frostier but the colors are similar–just no gold shimmer in this one. Dior Coral is in the same vein but with subtler shimmer. It’s a bit pinker but reminded me of Guerlain Gems.

Benefit’s Full-Finish Lipsticks are supposed to deliver medium to full coverage with a smooth finish. They’re really creamy and have a nice glide. For a lipstick with as much slip as this one, I was surprised that it wore so well–it lasts a solid four hours and almost makes it to five. I didn’t detect any scent or taste either!  I also liked how moisturizing this one; it’s quite hydrating and wears comfortably for hours without leaving lips feeling parched.