body products, Personal, skincare

My Epic Hungary Haul – Summer 2017


In case you didn’t know, last month I went to Budapest on a vacation. We had a great time looking at architecture and drinking wine. But, you know me. I’m obsessed with skincare (and everything else). So, of course I took the time to check out drugstores and beauty stores. I’m embarrassed to even post what I bought because I went crazy. I blame the fact that my hotel was next to a DM Drogerie (one of my favorite stores).

When I travel, I look for things that I can’t find in the U.S. When it comes to Hungary-specific beauty products, there wasn’t much noted when I searched online. Obviously, you go to Budapest and you do the thermal baths. But, as far as products, there are a lot of European products (especially German) that I can’t find easily in the U.S. (those of you in Europe reading this, probably won’t be that impressed).  I spent a lot of time at drugstores like DM, Rossmann, Müller and some beauty store called Douglas. Pharmacies carry all the French pharmacy stuff but I didn’t really buy much of that because the prices were close (enough) to the U.S’s. Honestly, I could have spent more time buying stuff but I was with my spouse. And he’s patient but he wasn’t looking into visiting every DM in Budapest even though I was there to mainly “slide into the DMs”.

ruin bar in Budapest
a ruin bar

So, let me show you what beauty items I bought. My pictures are bad. I take them while I travel and throw out boxes when I travel back so I can get things to fit into my luggage!  I forgot exactly where I bought each item so for my drugstore stuff, I’ll group it by item type instead of store:

German bath products


I’m obsessed with shower products (gels, bar soaps, etc.). However, I’m particularly obsessed with European drugstore shower gels. They’re cheap and make me happy. You will see that I stocked up for the year. In general, I love European bath/body products. Their quality is better than what I can get in the US (compared to the same price points). I also like how there is sort of an emphasis on seasonality and “wellness”. There’s “tonics” for summer, etc. They also are all about the firming products.

Balea Dusche & Ölperlen mit Pfirsich-Duft (DM) – An overripe peach. I actually wish I bought more. I’m almost finished with this bottle. It’s now one of my favorite bath scents.

Isana Krémtusfürdo in Mézzel (Rossmann) – Powdery, soapy honey. Like the one above, it’s almost gross and overripe as well.

Isana Duschlotion in Buttermilk Cream (Rossmann) – It’s a buttermilk and lime that smells exactly like those two things.

Palmolive Body Butter Wash in Chocolate Passion – I bought this because a perfume pal basically told me to. It’s the nastiest stuff. Milk chocolate with sweaty feet.

Fa Or*ental Moments Shower Cream in Desert Rose & Sandal Wood – Bought this because of Fa nostalgia. It smells like synth oud and a super powdery, non-descript floral. Honestly smells like something Victoria’s Secret would make. I couldn’t remember which Fa I loved and they have so many now! I just grabbed something.

Kneipp Wunschlos Glücklich Rhubarb & Rose Bath Oil – It’s more rhubarb than rose, which I love. It’s tart and fruity.

Kneipp Glückliche Auszeit Red Poppy & Hemp Bath Oil – I can get this in the US but it was much cheaper in Europe (like over $10 cheaper). The scent has always vaguely reminded me of Malle Lipstick Rose.

Kappus Violet Lilac Soap – Heady, perfect lilac

Kneipp Intensiv-Handcreme – Smells like fruity violets

Ziaja Kakaóvaj – I can buy this in the US but it was under $1.

Balea Handcreme in Buttermilk & Lemon (DM) – Smells like lemon sugar cookies

Alverde Cremeöl-Lotion in Bio-Jasmin (DM) – I needed a body moisturizer and bought this one because of the jasmine. It absolutely smells nothing like jasmine. It sort of smells like apricots.

Dove Derma Spa Uplifted Massaging Body Roll-On – Toning creams are a joke but I love them. I love their temporary firming and tingling feeling. Europe has so many and they are my weakness. I’m so surprised that I left with only one cream like this.

Hungary haul


I’m usually more about Korean and Asian skincare, but anyone’s sunscreen formulas are better than the U.S.’s. I ended up buying more skincare than I thought I would. I sort of got into that entire “nourish” mindset that Europeans have. Like in the U.S. we are so aggressive with our skincare. We love acids and results. Other places are more about being gentle and hydrating and well, not really fearing aging as much as we do in the U.S.

Balea Multitalent Creme-Gel & Maske (DM) – A lightweight gel-cream moisturizer that smells like peaches. The ingredients are basic but I love how this wore in the 107º weather.

Balea Ölfreies Pflege Serum (DM) – Also, very cheap and had malic acid, so I bought it.

Alverde Nachtcreme in Bio-Wildrose (DM) – This is a Weleda knock-off/dupe, I think. It was super cheap and I don’t really know why I bought it.

Nivea Make-Up Starter in Normal to Mixed Skin – This is supposed to be their aftershave rebranded for “girls”.

Garnier Night Hydrating Cream with Jasmine – I only bought this becuase of the jasmine. It’s probably junk.

Isana Young Extra Starke Anti-Pickel Patches (Rossmann)- I got a zit and needed something ASAP. I bought this (easy to travel with, not a liquid) because I thought it was a CosRx Pimple Patches sort of product.

Garnier Ambre Solaire SPF 20 Lotion – Smells sort of amber and orange blossom-y.

Sun Dance Mattierendes Sonnenfluid SPF 30 (DM) – Liquid facial sunscreen that smells like orange blossoms.

Eveline Creme Solaire in SPF 50 – “High” SPF wasn’t easy to find. Bought this for the face, no clue if it is good or not.

Sun Dance Lippen Balsam in SPF 30 (DM) – I totally forgot to pack a lip sunscreen. Picked this one up. It smells like vanilla.

L’Oreal Sublime Sun Cellular Protect SPF 30 Milk (not pictured) – These smell amazing and feel great.

L’Oreal Sublime Sun Cellular Protect Sun Crème SPF 50+ (not pictured) – Also smells amazing like orange blossoms and jasmines and vacations.

Hungary haul


I tried not to buy too much makeup because I feel like I can get great makeup in the U.S. for cheap. If I did buy something, I wanted it to be something I couldn’t get in the U.S. Oddly, I bought an abnormal amount of blue eyeshadows. I don’t know why. It just felt right.

Art Deco Beauty Box Duo in 135 and 81 – Art Deco was insanely expensive in Hungary (much cheaper in Germany). I bought a color combo that was disco fabulous (red and blue).

Astor Eye Artist Eye Shadow Palette in 200 Style is Eternal – Cheap, pretty and good quality. Includes 5 matte shades and a chunky, gold highlighter.

Trend It Up The Nudes Eyeshadow Palette (DM) – A lot of neutrals, formula reminds me exactly of Essence Eyeshadow Palettes.

She StyleZone Eyeshadow Quattro in 220 (DM) – Mustard shades in that same Essence-y formula

Alverde Eyeshadow Trio Limited Edition Summer 2017 (DM) – Basic summery shades with a Frido Kahlo inspired ad campaign. I really don’t know why I bought it.

Essence Lip Powders in 03 Take the Lead and 04 Set the Stage – I noticed lip powders are very popular in Europe (again). So, I bought the cheapest ones I could find to try.

Alverde Highlighter (DM) – Pearly white highlighter that gives that glowy, sticky Vaseline look. It’s very editorial and great for pale, ghostly vampire girls.

Lovely K*Lips Matte Liquid Lipstick & Lip Liner Duo in Milky Brown – Because it’s a Kylie knock-off by a Polish brand and I thought that was great.

Pupa Ombretto Compatto in 300 – A bright, pigmented Yves Klein-ish blue

Pupa Pure Color Lipstick in 425 – Gross, zombie brown shade. I love it.

Pupa True Lips Lip Liner in 30 and 05 – These were in their summer collection and on clearance. Formula is very much like Lancôme Le Lipstique Lip Pencil.

Alverde Lippen-Pflege mit Minze-Beeren (DM) – Labello style lip balm with the grossest mint and currant fragrance…that I’m now hooked on. It’s like a vitamin or something.

Labello Blackberry Shine – Berry sheer tint with the perfect blackberry flavor.

Labello Original in a neon tube

Hungary drugstore haul


I want to say something that will probably make people (AKA Europeans) angry. All I ever hear from perfumers is how Americans want to smell like candy. Well, that may be true but so do Europeans. It was the exact same stuff I smell on people here: Lancôme La Vie est Belle, Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, Mugler Angel. Those are big sellers! In NYC, everyone smells like Le Labo Santal 33 or Thé Noir 29. In Budapest, I kept getting whiffs of women that smelled like tubs of store bought vanilla frosting or chocolate syrup. I have no clue what they were wearing, but I kept smelling it on women older and younger than me. Whatever it is, it’s popular. Also, Budapest has quite a few niche perfume shops. The brands were the same as I can get in NYC, but they did have a great selection of niche perfumes.

4711 Acqua Colonia White Peach & Coriander – It’s what the name implies. I love it. I have been in a peachy mood this summer. I also ate so many apricots in Hungary that I wanted to have a fragrance that reminded me of that.


I got a haircut in Hungary at a place called “Horror Barbie”. They did a great job. Also, they’d dye your roots for $10 USD. Unrelated, everyone had glorious lash extensions except me. Lash extensions must be almost free or at least a huge priority for young ladies.

I bought a couple little one time use Swiss Hair Masks (one by Rausch and the other by Swiss O-Par). No clue if they are good or not.



I had a facial at their flagship. It was very relaxing and I highly recommend it. Basically, the 60 minute facial is free when you buy stuff. The products themselves are available in the U.S. but slightly cheaper in Hungary.

Elemental Emulsion – I realized that I have nothing lightweight and needed something like that. Now I do.

Queen of Hungary Mist – An expensive mist but it’s good.

Thermal Cleansing Balm – I’ve used this in the past and loved it.

In addition to beauty stuff, I stocked up on effervescent vitamin tablets. They are my favorite thing ever and very expensive and difficult to find in the U.S. In general, I bought a lot of supplements/vitamins. I also bought a stylish denim kimono thing from The Row and another jacket thing from a local Hungarian designer at a place that had the worst customer service ever (and I say this as someone in NYC).

Budapest was a great city to visit. It’s a beautiful city with resilient, tough people that make it an even better place. There’s spas, wine and skincare. I was content.

*All photos are mine!

6 thoughts on “My Epic Hungary Haul – Summer 2017

    1. Oh, fun!

      I haven’t been to Thailand. HOWEVER, I do have a few suggestions of things to buy as recs from friends, family and a few bloggers I like. Overall, Thailand has many of the popular Asian brands. You will find all of that and more! Sheet masks, snail slime, BB Creams… If you’re looking for cute cosmetics: Baby Kiss, Beauty Cottage (ADORABLE) and Srichland powder (which sort of has a cult following).

      I have seen these brands on blogs/IG accounts I like: Scentio (cute bath products and skincare), Mistine cosmetics (drugstore makeup).

      You can also find brands I can’t get in the US like Golden Rose (Turkish makeup brand – their liners are amazing). But, wander into a makeup store, you’ll see lots of stuff. What I like about Asian makeup is that it isn’t expensive but the quality is good. Which I know surprises people because the packaging is a bit over the top.

      Other things to pick up if you like them: coconut oils, coconut skincare and “spa” products. Apparently there are many of these brands and they are great quality. So, all those wellness/massage oils/scrubs/bar soaps in relaxing fragrances. I also hear that even the drugstore hair products are worth picking up. I mean, it’s designed for humidity and heat, right? It has to be good. I have used the brand “Sunsilk” for the Thai market before and was surprised by how great it was.

      As far as fragrances, they are these bespoke stores. One is called “Erb”, I think. You’ll see little fragrance stores around with fragrances inspired by the flora and fauna of Thailand. There’s also ya dom which are like scent inhalers to help with health…so like essential oil poppers in a sense. I haven’t tried them but you’ll probably see plenty of people huffing tubes and wonder what it is up. They’re inhaling peppermint.

      You’re going to have a great time!

  1. I’m going to be in Belgium for a few days next week (after Dublin and Edinburgh). So here’s a question: If you could only buy ONE thing from a Belgian pharmacy that you can’t get in the US, what would it be?

    1. Sounds amazing! How is Dublin and Edinburgh?

      Tough question. It’s been years since I’ve been to Belgium so I bet they have even more products than before. I guess it’d be one of those goopy French ointments like Homeoplasmine or any of the other brands’ variation of that theme. They really know how to make a salve that’s perfect for winter lips. OR I’d get something like a Belgian Eggwhite Soap because it’s Belgian…and cute.

      Safe travels!

  2. Hahaha, “slide into the DMs.” Italy is the only continental European country I’ve visited, and it was surprisingly hard to find makeup and skincare in the drugstores there (or what looked to me like drugstores–I may have been searching in the wrong places entirely). So I loved reading this post! I hope I can try some of those German brands one day.

    That’s an interesting point about the aggressive nature of American skincare vs. the “nourish” mentality of European skincare. The endless anti-aging paranoia in the US can certainly get tiresome.
    auxiliary beauty recently posted..Lipstick Project Pan, Fall 2017

    1. It is different than it is here. Pharmacies are more like pharmacies. They may carry skincare but you have to ask and it’s not like something you pull off the shelf. There are stores that are like a Duane Reade that have all of that sans the pharmacy or “wellness”. It’s good to ask a local before you go 🙂

      Another thing I should have mentioned, is that so much of the skincare products (like Garnier and Ziaja) have ages on them like “40s” or “50s” (I think this is on my Garnier jasmine cream). In this US, this absolutely would not fly because people don’t want to be their age. I mean, I think the age on a package is dumb for other reasons (what does it even mean? it’s as stupid as putting “for men” on a box). But, in Europe there isn’t the shame of being someone in your 40s. None of my aestheticians have been from the US. Most are European. They always mention this was the hardest thing about adjusting to work in the US. They say people are rather aggressive with their skin and always looking for immediate results. They like to focus on “nourishment” and being gentle. The solution to ALL skin ailments is moisture (even if you have acne). They think we use too much retinols and acids. It’s an interesting difference to observe.

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