The best beauty stores and haunts in NYC
Step into my beauty parlour
Let's be honest — Sephora is great, it offers choices like no other beauty store can, but sometimes it's just fun to find out about a product before a majority of people do. And it's definitely more enjoyable shopping to soothing music, in ambient lighting, or even both. With that in mind, we put together a list of independent beauty stores in Manhattan and Brooklyn for all you beauty-obsessed travellers. So, take a New York minute and push pause in this highly stimulating city and make some beauty discoveries of your own in these gorgeous, unique spaces.
238 West 10th Street, New York
While on your stroll in the quaint West Village, be sure to stop by CAP Beauty, one of the neighbourhood's most comforting little nooks. The feel: like visiting the apartment of your stylish friend who's got self-care nailed down to a tee. Her shelves, stocked with not only the best brands in the world of natural beauty, such as Tata Harper, In Fiore, Rahua and Marie Veronique, but a whole lot of health foods (Queen Moon Reishi Gheenache that promotes digestion and Sun Potion's He Shou Wu for luscious hair) for wellness all round. Testers are everywhere, against blush pink walls and under modern lighting fixtures, and there's no cash register in sight, so there's no pressure or fuss. Take a nap if you wish in one of two cozy treatment rooms where a range of facial treatments are offered, the most popular being one simply called 'The Facial' — for pleasurable facial massages to aid in lymphatic drainage and almost painless extractions, although extractions are really not the focus at all here. You'll feel pampered, you'll smell botanically divine, and you won't want to leave.
123 Lafayette St, New York
If you only have time for one store, make this it. Since its launch in 2014, Glossier has established itself as the make-up label that all cool girls use, due in large part to its popular affiliated beauty blog, Into The Gloss. Apart from its e-store (they don't ship to Singapore), this is the only place when you can get your hands on Glossier's affordable and well-designed products that work as promised. With Byredo's Burning Rose candle gently scenting the minimalist white and blush pink space, fans can experience the beauty start-up's innovations, including new additions like Cloud Paint ( a cream blush) and Stretch Concealer, as well as favourites such as Boy Brow and Milky Jelly Cleanser. Its pink bubble wrap pouches that are used as packing material for shipping are even coveted and available for sale — cult status sealed.
Multiple locations in Manhattan (NoMad, TriBeCa, and Upper East Side)
A facial spot for effective, quick and affordable (by NYC standards) treatments that are bound to make you crave dessert right after. Many of the products used are delightfully sweet-smelling and you can get them right there from its shop out in front. The range of brands — which include Ursa Major, Image Skincare, Naturopathica, and One Love organics — makes it worth making a trip to do some beauty exploration even if you have no plans to get a facial. One other thing to do: pick up a copy of its free zine for beauty tips, product recommendation, and career inspiration.
12 W 28th St, New York (The NoMad Hotel)
The founders of minimalist accessories label, WANT Les Essentiels, have opened their fourth outpost and first US location in the stylish NoMAD hotel. Like the other stores in Canada, its NYC space takes the look of a 19th-century apothecary, featuring chandeliers, herringbone floors, and custom oak tables. Where beauty shopping is concerned, you'll find products that will most likely stand the test of time, industry favorites like Byredo, Grown Alchemist, and Susanne Kaufmann. And among these more established brands is Singapore's very own, skincare label Allies of Skin, which was launched just last year. A curated selection of apparel and accessories from WANT Les Essentiels, Acne Studios, Toteme, M.Martin are also available.
149 Smith St, Brooklyn
You'll find cafes in just about any corner of NYC, but a cafe, general store, newsstand and beauty destination all rolled into one, not so much. Regular Visitors opened in Brooklyn's Boerum Hill late last year adding to the neighborhood's strong list of independent retailers. Since this is all about beauty, we'll leave the aromatic coffee from Nobletree rosters, print products, and fancy household cleaning devices for a separate conversation. The apothecary-style shelves hold a mix of hard-to-find and popular independent brands, Odeme nail polish, which is free of many harmful chemicals; Australian skincare label Rohr Remedy; men's skincare brand Prospector Co., and the darling of the industry, Herbivore Botanicals. Regular Visitors is an ode to the traditional American general store, so you can surely treat it as a cultural attraction if you need more reason to visit. For those who can't make the trip to Regular Visitors anytime soon, get a cup of joe and start clicking away on its new e-commerce store.
315 Court St, Brooklyn
When the cool girls aren't beauty shopping in Manhattan, they're likely to be found at Shen Beauty in Brooklyn's Cobble Hill. Known clients include Instagram's Eva Chen, Moda Operandi's Lauren Santo Domingo, and Gwyneth Paltrow is a fan too, so yes, do head to Shen Beauty for potential celebrity sightings, but keep beauty at the top of your agenda. Just as you wouldn't wear one designer from head to toe, one beauty brand can't do it all, so you'll find only the best from various brands, including goop, The Beauty Chef, Joanna Vargas, and Rare Elements.