What do two fashion-forward women with a background in beauty spend their money on when it comes to skincare, makeup and haircare? Devina DiCarlo and Sarah Auerbach, co-founders of British accessories label Aurora London , launched the brand in 2014 after working together in marketing and PR at Givenchy Beauty, so they have plenty of insider knowledge of the luxury end of the industry.
Taking their love of luxury labels into the fashion arena, the co-founders defend that all women should be able to own a designer quality handbag without it costing the earth. Every bag, designed in the label’s Marylebone studio, is produced by artisans in Southern Spain using stunning soft grain or smooth leathers, yet all styles fall below the £150 mark and can be personalised through gold foil monogramming. Our own founder Susannah Taylor is a fan and you may have seen it cropping up on your Instagram feeds - it’s one to watch for affordable chic.
But back to the beauty; we took the opportunity to grill the two founders on their shopping habits now that they’re on the other side of the counter. From their favourite budget skincare to the luxe fragrances they won’t go without, here’s how the business founders spend their beauty budget…
GTG: Do you shop for beauty products online or offline?
Devina: I prefer to walk in to my local SpaceNK to check out what’s new and touch and feel products – I’m loyal to a brand for a few months and then as the effects start to plateau I like to try something new. With makeup you need to see them in natural light and for skincare it’s the best place to discover the new. As a serial online shopper I strangely tend not to use the net to buy beauty. I tend to buy bulk in Duty Free when I travel.
Sarah: I like a mix of both. I love the beauty departments at Selfridges and Harvey Nichols for discovering new products, so when I have some elusive spare time I’ll pop in to see what’s new, and then I top up on my go-to products by buying on-line either direct from the brand or Amazon which is a general life saver.
Which beauty products do you buy on repeat?
Devina: Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair , £75, is a staple that I use all the time and have done for over 20 years. I used to work for them on Saturdays in Harrods when I was at university, and my love for this product started then. My husband, who is not into skincare at all, uses it too!
MAC Extended Play Lash , £16.50 – it’s natural, long lasting and really doesn’t budge in the heat or in water. I have tried many and even dabbled in lash extensions , which I find irritating.
Byredo Black Saffron , £105 - one of my favourite scents.
Sarah: I swear by the Obagi Rejuvenation System for sensitive skin so these are on repeat – the fortified sunscreen is amazing for my fair, sensitive skin.
I also love Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray , £41, for giving my hair some volume and fell in love with Le Labo Santal , £125, after we burned candles of this scent at our press launch a couple of years ago. I get stopped a lot by people wanting to know what it is.
What’s the last makeup item you bought?
Devina: Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Filter , £30. As with all her products it really delivers for a sleep-deprived working mum of two small kids. It makes me look human on my most bedraggled days.
Sarah: Trish McEvoy Instant Eye Lift Concealer , £40 – it’s amazing, silky soft and blends in well and leaves me looking more rested than I actually look and feel most days.
And your most recent skincare purchase?
Devina: REN Ready, Steady, Glow Daily AHA Tonic , £25. A fantastic product with immediate results. It has made my skin look very clear and consistently glowing. Definitely will become a repeat purchase.
Sarah: Sol de Janeiro Brazilian 4 Play Moisturizing Shower Gel , £10 – it feels amazing and smells divine. Makes my quick morning shower such a pleasure and gives me some nano seconds of indulgence!
Which beauty item do you gift to friends?
Devina: Cire Trudon Candles , £70 – they are so unique and something you wouldn’t indulge in buying for yourself.
You have £500 to spend at a makeup counter. Which one do you choose?
Devina: Charlotte Tilbury – her products are a game changer and just brilliant. The shades are so modern and the formulations like magic.
Sarah: Armani Makeup – I have loved these products since I worked on the marketing of Armani Beauty years ago when I was a marketing manager at L’Oreal.
What would be in your Boots or supermarket shopping basket?
Devina: Nivea Body Cream , £5.99 – one of the best and so moisturising and affordable and the scent of all Nivea products are so comforting. Sudocrem , £2.99, discovered after having kids and it’s amazing on everything from spots, to burns and rashes – it just seems to rejuvenate the skin.
Sarah: Carmex lip balm , £2.69 – so brilliant and seems to also have secret lip plumping effects on me, and Johnson’s Baby shampoo , £1.59, for cleaning all my makeup brushes.
What’s your favourite budget beauty buy?
Devina: Nivea Crème , £2.99 – so moisturising and brilliant for parched skin.
Sarah: Aveeno Body Moisturiser , £7.69 – so emollient and brilliant all year round.
And the most expensive?
Devina: Currently Colbert MD Nourish Eye Cream , £105 – yet to see a difference but I find this the most difficult area to treat. Also, as I age I’m getting more pigmentation under my eyes, which will be difficult to reduce. Any tips welcome!
Sarah: Currently Obagi Rejuvenation Advanced Night Repair – seeing good results so far.
Where do you get your hair done and what products, treatments and tools do you buy?
Devina: Aveda in Hampstead – my hair is luckily very low maintenance and naturally straight. I could use a bar of soap on it and it would cope fine. I use cheapy OGX Coconut Water Shampoo , £6.99 and Conditioner , £6.99, and no products (apart from dry shampoo). I couldn’t live without my Parlux Hairdryer .
Any other beauty services you regularly book in for?
Devina: Shellac mani and pedi every 10 days and one month respectively, mesotherapy every two months has made a real difference to my skin, plus eyebrow threading every 10 days.
Sarah: Shellac mani every week, massage once a month at Cowshed.
What’s next on your beauty shopping list?
Devina: A jade skin roller , £18!
Sarah: A silk pillow I keep reading about.
Shop the Aurora London range on their website .