Which Health and Beauty Products Should I Pack and Which Should I Buy in Spain?
As you reach the final stages of preparing to move abroad (in which the suitcase finally comes out and the nerves kick up), you may be wondering which of your favorite products to bring with you and which ones to plan to purchase in Spain once you arrive. It’s a tricky balance to strike as many of the items we use on a daily basis are large liquids that cannot be packed in a carry on and will therefore weigh heavily on our checked-bag weight limit (pun intended). If you’re in need of some tips for avoiding having to pay overweight fees and packing more effectively, check out my pro-packing article here. Still, you’re likely to be scratching your head over what to do with those brand name (but heavy) products you swear by.
Well, today is your lucky day! A fellow reader and follower of the blog asked us this very same question and so we set out to check the exact prices of a wide range of the health and beauty products you’re likely curious about. Thanks to the help of Jennifer, we were able to draw up a list of price comparisons so that you can see what some of the brands and items you’re used to buying in the US will cost here in Spain. To our surprise, when you work out the exchange rate, almost everything was relatively the same price, but there were a few outliers. Also, keep in mind that the prices on the products here in Spain include the tax whereas in the US they do not. For the sake of full-disclosure, prices were checked in Granada, Spain and the Chicago suburbs so you may find some variation according to your region.
Here’s what we found...
|Product||Brand||Price in Spain (€)||Price in US ($)||Details - Spain||Details - US|
|Sunscreen||Nivea||18.30||16.61||SPF 50+ (400 ml)||400 ml|
|Sunscreen||Nivea||15.50||14.45||SPF 20/30 (400 ml)||Protect and moisture 200 ml|
|Sunscreen||Hawaiian Tropic||11.50||7.99||SPF 15 (177 ml) -spray||6 oz bottle|
|Sunscreen||Hawaiian Tropic||12.90||7.99||SPF 20 (177 ml) - spray||6oz bottle|
|Make-up Wipes||DeMak Up||2.55||4.99||Neutrogena|
|Foundation||Lancome||33.00 - 42.00||35.00 - 47.00|
|Face Mosturizer||Clinique||55.00||39.00 - 52.00||Price depends on size|
|Exfoliator||Neutrogena||15.40||8.00||Visibly Clear Spot Proofing Daily|
|Face Wash||Clean and Clear||6.75||4.99||3-in-1 Blackheads|
|Face Wash||Clean and Clear||7.10||5.99||Daily (silver tube)|
|Body Lotion||Dove||6.99 - 7.75||10.99||Two-bottle offer, 800 ml total|
|Dry Shampoo||Schwarzkopf / Kallos||1.99 - 2.99||4.88||Dove brand|
|Salon Shampoo||Bed Head / Cat Walk||9.95 - 12.95||15.95 - 19.00||Joico shampoo 15.99|
|Salon Conditioner||Bed Head / Cat Walk||9.95 - 12.95||15.95 - 19.00|
|Liquid Eyeliner||Kat Von D||19.90||22.00||Stila brand|
|Mosturizer||Cetaphil*||19.85||14.49||Mosturizing lotion (face-only)|
|Toothpaste||Colgate||2.70 - 3.50||3.99||Max White|
|Toothpaste||Colgate||2.15 - 3.50||1.49||Total Original|
|Mouth Wash||Listerine||4.80 - 5.50||5.49 - 5.99||Prices vary depending on flavor||Prices also vary depending on flavor|
|Men's Razor||Gillete||16.15||11.49||Fusion Proglide Power|
|Body Spray||Axe||3.80 - 3.99||3.99||Prices vary depending on scent|
|Body Wash||Axe||3.80 - 3.99||5.66||Prices vary depending on scent|
*I was only able to find this brand at the parafarmacía, which is a non-medical "pharmacy" that sells more natural medicinal products, so just be diligent in your search!
Where can you find these products in Spain?
It’s very important to note that not all of these cosmetics are available at the same store (sorry, Spain still hasn’t jumped on the Target train!). Instead, you have to know where to look and where to find the best deals on particular items. Here are some places to get started:
1.) Cosmetics Stores aka Perfumerías: These stores sell more than perfumes and will likely have the health and beauty item you’re looking for (and they have men’s products too!). PRIMOR is definitely my favorite perfumería and I would venture to say they have the best selection of products. While on my price-check outing, I asked about some of the salon brands and was directed to a third floor I never knew existed! This place is a perfumería, parafarmacía, and productos de peluquería profesional (professional salon products outlet) all in one.
2.) El Corte Inglés: When it comes to international brands, sometimes your best bet is the Corte Inglés. Like any department store, you’ll find a huge selection of different makeup brands (think Clinique, Este Lauder, Lancome, etc) with stands and salespeople ready to pounce. You’ll probably spend a little more here, but you’ll have the best luck finding the exact product you’re used to back home.
Pro-Tip: Head down to the pharmacy section and even what you would consider the grocery section for your sunscreens, face washes, and other toiletries.
3.) Mercadona and other grocery stores: While you won’t find as many of the brand names you’re used to, don’t completely overlook the grocery stores! They tend to stock face washes, shampoos/conditioners, and even makeup at very competitive prices. It may be a bit of trial and error to decide what it is you like out of their selection and what you prefer to splurge on elsewhere, but there are some definite scores—the most notable being the 1€ packs of makeup remover wipes at Mercadona!
Hope that the information helps you decide what you’re going to pack with you and what you can safely plan to purchase once you’re living abroad. If there are any particular brands or products you’d be curious to know about (or if you’re in another country you’d like us to provide a comparison for) give us a holler and we’d love to collaborate with another price-check for you—same goes for non-cosmetics, too!!
Feel free to let us know about any of your other packing woes, we’re happy to help!