Duty Free Fragrances, Cosmetics and Skincare
Shopping is part of the travel experience and spoiling ourselves • or a loved one • with a new fragrance, beauty product or cosmetic set is all part of the pleasure. Plus, with tax-free prices offering what can be significant savings off the High Street, there’s no better place to shop for fragrances, cosmetics and skincare than at the airport, onboard or inflight.
Prices should at least show a tax saving compared to the High Street, though in these days of cut-price discount stores, you may have to shop around. World Duty Free • which runs the duty free/tax free shops at seven UK airports, including Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted • makes a point of offering selected brands at 40% below High Street prices and airports generally will highlight specific lines at promotional and seasonal prices.
Apart from price, there are a number of reasons why buying fragrance and beauty products tax free makes good sense. For a start, like good leading department stores, all the products here are genuine; no cut-price imitations! Watch out for exclusives • presentations and pack sizes that you simply can’t buy on the High Street. Many of the leading beauty and cosmetics companies, such as YSL, Clarins, Clinique, Estee Lauder, La Prairie and Revlon offer exclusive travel essential packs and cosmetic palettes at great value for money prices.
If you’ve got time to spare, you can even get a makeover at many of the bigger international airports. Bobbi Brown, Chanel, Clarins, Clinique, Giorgio Armani, Guerlain, MAC, Urban Decay and Yves Saint Laurent all offer one-to-one make-up consultations.
But what we really enjoy most of all is spending time spraying ourselves (and each other) with all sorts of woody, fruity, musky, flowery and sensual smells. The majority of fragrance brands these days (not all) are happy to be sold on a ‘self-service’ basis, with consultants standing by waiting to help and advise, which is great if you want to browse and experiment with what’s on offer. And with airport shops typically offering well over 1,000 fragrances, that’s a lot of spraying and sniffing. (Come on guys, you enjoy it just as much, we know!)
You’ll find all the world’s best known brands on show, along with regional and local favourites, and there will always be special promotional offers available- gift with purchase being the norm (buy the perfume, get a free bag, for example, or buy the edp and receive a body lotion free). Some brands find the airport environment such a ‘showcase’ for their products that they launch new lines here first, so look out for ‘hot of the press’ fragrances that you may not be able to buy at home for a few months. In some cases, like DKNY’s Golden Delicious and Victoria’s Secret fragrances (through World Duty Free) you can only buy at the airport. So take advantage!
Check out our other guides to ....
A cautionary note. Remember that security measures today apply to liquids and gels (LAG's) carried as handluggage. If you buy a 200ml fragrance or body lotion at the airport en-route to your destination, chances are it will be placed in a sealed bag from which it should not be removed until after you have landed and passed through security . You will not be able to bring the same product back as hand luggage • only liquids and gels up to 100ml can be brought through to airside and must be placed in a see through sealable bag. Anything over that must be placed in the hold (eg in your main suitcase). There are also restrictions if you are transferring flights and, to avoid any of your possessions being confiscated, check when you buy.