Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Guide to Makeup Shopping in New York City

The idea for this post is courtesy of Arianne of Glitter Geek, who is visiting NYC in a month and wanted to plan out her beauty shopping route beforehand. I was already making a list of shops we have to visit in her short three day stay, and thought I might as well chronicle it here in case someone needed it in the future.

First, and how do I say this without being all disclaim-y? I'm not an expert in New Yorkness. I've logged in less than a year's worth of living in NYC (though I will be living there), but the aim is to start a list that hopefully will grow through time, whether through experience or your input. Thus, feel free to suggest additions to the list in the comments!

*I don't list every brand each store carries, just because that would make the list too tedious. I try to include only the less conventional brands/brands you can find only at that store.

The Messy Wands Guide to Makeup Shopping in New York City

1. Bergdorf Goodman (58th St and 5th Ave)
Did you think it would be anything else? Besides housing one of my favorite beauty brands ever, their window displays are always a treat to behold. 
Notable brands: Le Métier de Beauté, Paul & Joe, Hourglass, Kevyn Aucoin, Edward Bess, Tom Ford

2. Barney's (61st St and Madison Ave)
The beauty level of Barney's is smaller than I thought it would be for a luxury department store, but houses some ultra-exclusive lines.
Notable brands: Tatcha, Serge Lutens, Koh Gen Do, Sunday Riley, Beauty is Life, Sue Devitt, Deborah Lippmann

3. Bloomingdale's (59th St and Lexington Ave)
The Bloomingdale's beauty department is worth visiting because aside from being quite large, it houses Space NK. 
Notable brands: By Terry, Vincent Longo, Ellis Faas

4. Saks Fifth Avenue (49th St and 5th Ave)
Huge beauty level surrounded by beautiful bags. 
5. MAC Cosmetics Times Square (506 Broadway)

6. Inglot Times Square (48th St and Broadway)

7. Sephora at the Meatpacking District (27 9th Ave)
While there are almost as many Sephora locations as Starbucks outlets in NYC, the Sephora at Meatpacking is unique because it stocks more obscure brands. That said, unless you're in the neighborhood, I don't think a specific trip is necessary since those brands are available in the department stores listed above.
Notable brands: Ellis Faas, Koh Gen Do, Edward Bess

8. Duane Reade
A couple years ago, Duane Reade committed to expanding its beauty section. A few of them even has beauty bars with brow shaping services. *When I find a particular DR that demands shouting about I'll update this with a specific address.

9. Kiehl's Flagship Store (13th St and 3rd Ave)
This store is huge, as befits the first ever Kiehl's store (originally a homeopathic pharmacy).

10. Make Up For Ever Boutique (12th St between 5th Ave and University Pl.)
Three words: custom blended foundations.

11. Chanel Boutique, SoHo (139 Spring St)
For exclusive collections. I believe they still have the SoHo de Chanel Blush on display.

12. Benefit Cosmetics Boutique, SoHo (454 W Broadway)
Houses the original bottle of Benetint and is possibly the cheeriest makeup store in the city.

13. NARS Flagship Store (413 Bleecker St)
Self-explanatory. Worth noting: There are a few Marc Jacob-related stores in the vicinity, and more importantly, a Magnolia bakery just a couple stores away.

14. OCC Makeup Flagship Store (174 Ludlow St)

I hope this helps first-time visitors get a sense of what's available makeup-wise in New York City. Remember, if you have a unique store you think would be a great addition to the list, please let us know in the comments!


  1. milktea said... I've always dreamed of a makeup shopping tour in NYC! If I ever make it there, I'll use your guide! :)

  2. Perfect! I'm from Germany and in october I will be in NYC for one week. Your post is already printed! Thanks a lot!

  3. Thank you for this! Oh, how I wish I had this list when I visited New York back in April. I hit up the major department stores, but completely forgot and/or didn't know about all the boutique stores. This will come in handy the next time I visit!

  4. You are amaaaaazing! Thank you. I know it will be helpful for most people as well. Let's go EVERYWHERE. Hahaha who cares about the company I'm bringing to NYC. Just... half kidding.

    I want a custom blended MUFE foundation! Do they custom blend any formula?

  5. Ugh, I want to tag along SO bad! WHY do I live so flipping far away??? >_<

  6. And Macy's! yeah, yeah, most people think Macy's is like the US equivalent of The Bay but the Macy's in Herald Square is pretty awesome, they even have an Inglot counter if you can't make it to the Time Square one (or for those who prefer to avoid Time Square like the plague).
    There is also a really nice Duane Reade on Wall Street that has a beauty section akin to the Shopper's Drug Marts in Canada.
    Rite Aid for cheapest price on drugstore brands!

  7. Awesome list!

    I would also add that the Alcone shop near Times Square is also worth checking out, since they stock more pro brands and stuff like z-palettes and the like.

  8. It's also worth noting that there is a Inglot in Chelsea, a short walk from the Meatpacking Sephora. I find this location more convenient than the department stores if you're based downtown or on the Westside. That being said, the department stores are definitely worth visiting if you're in the city as a tourist.

    Also, I am not a huge MAC fan, but the MAC Pro store is worth checking out! If I remember correctly, it's not open on Sundays, though.

  9. oooh so envious of you! I don't think I have what it takes to actually live in NYC, but to visit on a BEAUTY shopping excursion?!? I'm all over that idea! One day...

  10. Henri Bendel's has Becca, Jouer, Youngblood, Paula Dorf, Trish McEvoy
    Duane Reade stores have great skin care brands like La Roche Posay, Vichy, Lierac, Nuxe, Klorane
    Ricky's stores carry Embryolisse products
    I believe that Edward Bess is carried at the Sephora in Union Square only.
    Barney's also has Claudio Riaz

  11. To add on to the previous comment, the Sephora at Union Square was recently remodeled and now has brands like Armani, Ko Gen Doh, Edward Bess, etc. It's quite large..

    Some Duane Reades has something called the "Look Boutique" inside, which contains brands like Becca and Pixi. There's one around Grand Central station that definitely has Becca.

    Like productdoctor said, Henri Bendel has some hard to find brands as well. Youngblood is definitely worth checking out. ALSO! Henri Bendel has a L'Artisan Parfumeur shop upstairs.

    Saks also has Tom Ford and I think it's the only place left in NYC you can find Killian fragrances since MiN no longer carries the brand.

  12. Oh, gotta add Cosmetic Market! It's between 5th and Madison on 37th- it's basically like in store form. It's a good mix of high end and drugstore makeup, and so freaking cheap. Not as fancy as Bergdorf's, but it's a lot of fun!

  13. AZ - I think Saks still carries By Kilian? (Haven't been through there in a while...)

    I'd skip the Times Sq Mac store - always overcrowded and not even the best store in terms of space, products, sales associates, etc. Go for the pro store or one downtown.

    I would also add CO Bigelow (6th Ave between 8th and 9th) or New London Pharmacy (23rd and 8th) for hard-to-find gems if you are wandering through the general area.

    My personal fav for Duane Reade's Look Boutique is the one at 35th and Broadway/6th Ave. It's on the second floor, usually quiet, and right near Macy's. (Also, a pleasant walk south from Times Sq.)

    - Alex

  14. I all of a sudden want to go to NYC. :)

  15. I love this guide! Thank you :)

  16. Macys Herald square has Inglot as the huge inglot store and mixing station in Chelsea piers. They will give samples of the dozens and dozens of beautiful pigments they have in chelsea piers.
    Also, do get hands-on with testers for NYX - there is a store called Beauty 35, I believe, at the corner of 35th and 8th avenue.

    Giella for custom blending is also in Henri Bendels (about 56th and 5th).

  17. Great guide! I would also suggest:

    MAC Pro
    7 W 22nd St(between 5th Ave & Avenue Of The Americas)

    + some stores that stock Asian cosmetic brands:

    Kose Beauty Shop
    55 Bayard Street
    New York, NY 10013

    The Face Shop
    35 West 32nd St(between 5th Ave & Broadway)

    Kam Man (top floor)
    200 Canal St(between Walker St & Mulberry St)

  18. There are three duane reader that I love and always have what I am looking for.. The one on 3rd ave &14th street ... the one on Broadway &35th street, adjacent to Macy's.. and the one on Park ave & 18th street

  19. I love all the chemists/pharmacies in new york as well! Lots of bioderma, embryolisse, nuxe, institut esthederm, dermalogica, aesop,...Zitomer and Carnegie Hill just to name two in my neighborhood.

  20. I really do not suggest Bloomingdales. I've lived here 23 years and never once were they friendly at their cosmetics counters. Regardless of brand. Most recently on Friday I was at the Chanel counter to pick up a pressed powder, on a not particularly crowded day, waiting 10 minutes just to speak with someone, who brushed me aside for another woman who brought in an empty product to find something similar. Macy's really depends on the day you go, and is always, always crowded. Saks has overall been the most generous and helpful.

  21. One more thing, the beauty department in Duane Reade on 57th and 3rd is amazing. Definitely worth it.

  22. Bookmarking this NOW lol. Suffice to say I want to visit every store on that list. You ladies are going to have so much fun :)

  23. i agree, the bloomingdale's uptown didn't have the best service! I prefer the one in soho, though smaller. There is also a space nk boutique in Soho too, if that helps! Hope arianne has fun in NYC with you! :)

  24. Just want to add a shout out for the DR at 72nd and broadway-it also sells Becca. It's also convenienty located near the Space.NK on Columbus:)


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