I moved to England about eight years ago from Oklahoma. This was a huge endeavor on it’s own, but to make things worse, I had to re-learn so many things. The language was different, the food was different, the people are definitely different, and so are the beauty products. If you are an American that is planning on coming to the United Kingdom, there are a few things that you might want to know before you get here.
Bring your own antiperspirant and deodorant. I still buy loads of Secret Solid when I go home to Oklahoma. If you go to the supermarket here, you will be amazed by the variety of brands you’ve never heard of, and by the fact that they are either antiperspirants OR deodorants. There are brands that do both, but not as well as the American ones do. If you do you get stuck and need to buy some here, the closest thing I have come to is one called Mitchum for Women. It’s a solid and it doesn’t smell too bad and works pretty well. And yes, in the summer, there is a lot of body odor in England. It’s not nice, it can catch you off guard, but you don’t have to be one of the people smelling that way.
If you take a bath, don’t use too much bubble bath! I found this one out the hard way. I used to buy the big gallon jugs of pink bubblegum or peach bubble bath from Wal-Mart in Oklahoma. You’d have to dump about a cup and a half worth in the tub under the running water to get some good bubbles. I did the same with a brand here called Radox and came back five minutes later to a huge mountain of bubbles! I could have used about a fourth of a cup and had excellent results but didn’t know any better.
If you dye your hair at home, for goodness sake, be careful or just don’t do it! I have been told by several UK hair dressers that the store-bought hair color in Great Britain is a bit “dodgy”. The amount of peroxide in the kits varies wildly. I was going to dye my hair a beautiful deep red once after being a dark brunette. I used an at home “color remover” and turned my hair completely white. It removed ALL color from my hair. Thinking this was normal, I put the red dye on top of it and turned myself into a clown! I had to wait three days wearing hats the entire time to see a hair dresser to fix what I had done to myself. Since then, I buy my color from the beauty supply or have a professional do it if I’m changing color and not just touching up roots.
Bring your own toothpaste and toothbrushes. I know, I know, Americans are a bit mean when we think of English people’s teeth, but I have been here long enough to be able to say, hand on heart, that we are RIGHT about them!! I have not seen such abysmal teeth in my entire life. To see mouths full of dark yellow tombstones on television still shocks me to the core. The teeth in real life would give most Americans night mares. I have tried and tried to find a toothpaste in this country that leaves my teeth feeling clean and smooth, but I have wasted my money. I just buy loads of Coalgate or any other American brand and bring it back with me. I also like our toothbrushes better, but if you buy the medium ones or firm ones then they are ok. The soft ones are entirely too soft for me. It’s not just me either, when friends come to visit and try to save room in the suitcase by buying things here, they say the same thing. And bring your own white strips because they are not sold here.
The UK is not a bad place at all, and no, the people are not all smelly and have bad teeth, but a few beauty creature comforts from home makes it a much better place to be.