If you're a bit of a shopaholic, it's comforting to know we live in the same country that's home to the world's largest shopping mall. You'll never be left short of a new outfit or two, with The Dubai Mall close at hand.
However, with more than 1,300 stores within its walls, sometimes it's hard to know where to start, whether you're a seasoned hand or a first-time visitor.
Below, we offer a guide to the best boutiques to visit if you're in the market for a pamper, to save you hours of endless wandering.
Whether you're after designer fragrances, effective skincare, luxuriously scented body lotions or celebrity-approved cosmetics, you're sure to make a few additions to your bathroom cabinet after visiting one of these.
This Australian brand's offerings look just as good on your bathroom shelf as they feel on your skin, thanks to the use of apothecary-style brown glass bottles. Offering skincare, haircare and body products, the label uses plenty of botanical ingredients and scents that'll leave your bathroom smelling super-fresh. With a stand-alone boutique in The Dubai Mall and a counter at Bloomingdale's Dubai, products to look out for include the exfoliating Reverence hand wash, nourishing Fabulous Face Oil and Parsley Seed Anti Oxidant Serum.
Its artisanal scents have garnered a cult following ever since Le Labo launched in New York City in 2006, with the brand growing to incorporate bath, body and haircare products in recent years. Le Labo has won over fans such as Alexa Chung with its minimal, Scandi-inspired packaging and intriguing fragrances, such as the bestselling, sandalwood-led Santal 33. Rose 31 and Bergamote 22 are also worth a sniff.
This celebrity-beloved makeup artist, who has worked with everyone from Amal Clooney to Kate Moss, launched her namesake brand in the UAE last year, opening a boudoir-inspired boutique in The Dubai Mall that stocks everything from her extensive beauty line. Tilbury's all-out-glam palettes will help you put together a statement evening look in no time, while her dewy foundations, including the bestselling Light Wonder, will see you through day to night. Her Pillow Talk lip liner and lipstick, in a flattering pinky-nude shade, make great introduction products if you're new to the brand.
This standalone beauty boutique – the first of its kind of launch in the region – stocks the French label's fragrances, skincare and makeup ranges. It's the latter that we go back for time and time again, with Chanel's lit-from-within collections of powders, concealers and foundation a sure-fire way to achieve a no-makeup-makeup look. The brand's creamy lip colours and subtly shimmering blushes and eyeshadow palettes are also worth a try, if you aren't already a convert, while Chanel's unisex Boy perfume makes a refreshing change to that bottle of No 5 on your countertop.
& Other Stories
Yes, this Swedish-owned store is most known for its uber-cool womenswear, but the brand also has a wide, and very affordable, range of in-house beauty options. The pigmented lipsticks are a great way to try out a bolder look without committing too much cash, but it's & Other Stories' evocatively scented bath and body products that are a particular stand-out. The Perle de Coco range, with a body oil, scrub, hand cream and more, is especially reminiscent of summer holidays, with its coconutty scent.
Like Chanel's iteration, this standalone boutique stocks the luxury brand's makeup, skincare and fragrances. If you're new to perusing Dior's offerings, start with its range of Diorshow mascaras, which will impressively plump up your lashes. The brand's foundations, such as Diorskin Nude and the barely there Dior Backstage, look just like real skin but better, while the moisturising Lip Glow balm stick turns lips a flattering shade of soft pink.
It's most famed for its beautifully scented candles, but Diptyque also has a wide range of delicate eau de parfums, skincare and bath and body products. The Softening Hand Wash, with a lingering scent that last long after you've left the bathroom, is a great present for friends or those who've recently moved house, as is the Tam Dao shower balm.
Its eponymous founder, Roja Dove, has cloaked many celebrities in his scents over the years, and last year Roja Parfums opened its first boutique in the region in The Dubai Mall. Dove, a British perfumer and fragrance historian, also has a haute parfumerie in London's Harrods, and previously worked with Guerlain before launching his own brand.
We couldn't talk about beauty without mentioning this retail giant, could we? While the beauty department store does stock plenty of mainstream labels, and couldn't exactly be described as a boutique, it's worth noting Sephora's wide range of harder-to-find and nice labels, such as Becca, Hourglass, Tarte and Too Faced. It also has a diverse range from Rihanna's Fenty Beauty brand, as well as a dedicated K-beauty section.
The LA-founded cosmetics label is another affordable option, with a bulging range of shades in its lipsticks, blushes and eyeshadows that help you create more vibrant evening looks. The Soft Matte Lip Creams are worth a try, while NYX's primers and setting spray really keep your makeup in place all day.
For those with sensitive or problematic skin, Clinique's science-driven lines are free from fragrance and irritating ingredients, meaning its products are a safe choice for those fearful of inducing breakouts. The buttery Take The Day Off cleansing balm is a must-try, easily removing every last scrap of makeup without leaving skin tight or greasy, while its impressive line of effective serums and boosters – from Vitamin C to retinol-based – are worth introducing into your regime.
Make Up For Ever
If you're looking for a lightweight, imperceptible foundation that still offers expert cover, this brand's Ultra HD Foundation comes highly recommended. While you're in Make Up For Ever's store, also browse the HD Concealer, array of primers and unbudgeable mascaras.
This British brand, born in London's Covent Garden, specialises in natural and organic toiletries, housed in recognisable indigo bottle, tubes and jars. The apothecary-style collection leans heavily on herbs, botanicals and essential oils, resulting in relaxing scents and soothing formulas; the multipurpose Wild Rose Beauty Balm, laced with wild rosehip, is a good place to start browsing.
The South Korean beauty brand is one to visit if you want to stock up on essence-soaked sheet masks, perfect for a home pamper or long-haul flight. The purse-friendly store also had large array of colour cosmetics, including cushion foundations, but it's the skincare that you should make sure to stock up on. The undereye masks are a particular saviour on cross-continent journeys.
Once you've tried the New York-born brand's cult Creme de Corps body lotion, it's hard to go back to anything else. And while the rich yellow cream is one of its best-selling products, along with the nourishing Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado, it's also worth dipping your toe (or should that be your strands?) into the label's line of haircare. We can vouch for the softening Amino Acid range.