Pretty in Prague: Cosmetics

Getting glam in the Golden City Staff

Written by Staff Published on 12.02.2007 11:49:22 (updated on 12.02.2007) Reading time: 3 minutes

Written by Elizabeth A. Haas

You recognize the labels and packaging, have spotted your favorite brands, but can´t seem to track down that Perfect Plum Pucker #5 lipstick you´ve worn since college. Face it: Cosmetics in Europe differ drastically from their American counterparts in look, feel and name. That´s because The E.U. now enforces strict regulations on cosmetic companies in order to reduce the number of toxins used in their products.

And that´s not necessarily a bad thing. You´re in a new city after all. Now is the time to embrace flexibility and change. Practically speaking, it may even be a wise to purchase new, moisture-rich products that can stand up to Prague´s dry indoor heat and poor air quality.

For addicts and die-hard brand junkies who can´t deal with change a number of web sites will ship to the Czech Republic. Check out UK-based boutique Space.NK.Apothecary ( for your Stila, Laurer Mercier, and NARS fix; on-line pharmacy sells hard-to-find lotions and potions; stocks everything from Anna Sui to Bobbi Brown.

Budget shoppers should stick to drugstore chains (drogerie) like dm, Droxi, Rossman, Teta and Tesco, which carry a variety of shades at prices so nice you can afford to experiment. Here you´ll find stand-bys like Maybelline, L´Oreal, Cover Girl, and Max Factor. Sephora stocks these brands as well as their mid-priced Sephora line. Budget-friendly favorite Avon is available in Prague, too. Grab one of the catalogues handed out in the metro en masse and a Czech-speaking friend to help you order.

Above all don´t get frustrated (frown lines, ladies!). Slowly but surely a wider selection of brands are becoming available in Prague. M.A.C. fanatics will be thrilled to know that the uber-trendy cosmetics retailer has just opened a shop on Václavské náměstí.

Our shopper´s guide—tailor made to suit a variety of looks and dermatological needs—and purse-sized glossary will help you navigate the waters of Prague´s cosmetic offerings beautifully.

The Classic Girl
You prefer a more subdued, sophisticated palette. Inside your make-up bag you´ll find matte textures, cool eye colors and classic red lipsticks. Best brands: The red doors of Elizabeth Arden (Pod Bruskou 7, Praha 1) are a familar sight to those who seek the luxe look; the Estee Lauder brand (Železná 18, Prague 1) is as classic as it gets; purchase any product at Lancome (Jungmannovo nám. 20, Prague 1) and get a free make-up lesson.

The Euro-Vamp
You exude continental style and sex appeal. A smoky eye, a nude lip—your choice of colors is dramatic yet refined. Best brands: Christian Dior (V Celnici 4, Prague 1); Chanel (available at Sephora) Institute de Beauty Orlane Paris (Rybná 13, Prague 1)—are all posh purveyors of things Parisian; Bourjois (available at Sephora) won´t break the bank.

The Trendster
You lust for the hottest looks, opting for the right-now colors and on-the-edge styles popular in New York, London and everywhere in between. Best brands: Fusion Beauty lip colors (available at Sephora) are currently an international sensation; Miss Sporty and Rimmel (available at drugstores) exude urban style; Czech-based cosmetics company Gabriella Salvete (available at drugstores) is a local favorite.

The Natural Beauty
Young, fresh and dewy best describes your look. You want natural shades that merely enhance your features and give you a sun-kissed glow. Best brands: Y´ves Rocher (Václavské náměstí 47, Prague 1) offers a variety of all-natural products for a nice price; Like Avon, Oriflame (, peddles their naturally inspired Swedish brand via direct selling—i.e. you´ll need a catalog and some knowledge of Czech.

The “Sensitive” Type
Your problem skin demands serious coverage foundations, products that contain skin-soothing ingredients or those featuring “anti-aging” components. Best brands: You´ll find Clarins and Clinique at Sephora but expect to pay a quite a bit more than at home; Dermacol products (available at drugstores) are cheap but effective.

How to say it
Most upscale cosmetics retailers employ English-speaking sales associates but these phrases will be helpful when shopping for make-up at Tesco or drugstores outside the city center where cosmetics are kept behind glass cases.

Lipstick – rtěnka
Lip liner – tužka na rty
Lip gloss – lesk na rty
Lip balm – balzám na rty
Eye shadow – oční stíny
Eye liner – tužka na oči
Mascara – řasenka
Face Powder – obličejový pudr
Blush – červeň (na tváře)

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