My Favorite Shops in NYC-Beauty Edition

Happy Tuesday, peeps!

So I was running an errand for my mom at the Macy’s on Livingston Street in Downtown Brooklyn, and I was perusing the makeup floor to look at some of the new(wish) goodies. It was weird seeing such a shiny new beauty concept store with brands that I’m used to seeing in Sephora. I mean, I remember the days when the cosmetics were sold by women in white lab coats behind elegant glass counters and I would watch my mom buy a compact and a lipstick, then leave with the GWP (Gift With Purchase). I wonder if Estee Lauder knew what she was getting herself into when she started the concept of GWP back in the 1950s as a way to get women to try new products…..

Anyway, so I saw that Tarte had a new palette out, and I searched for the tester. After being helped by a lovely associate named Octavia, the two of us began talking about beauty business and the state of the industry today. You know, which conglomerates are buying certain indie brands, which makeup brands have enough shades for us Brown girls, the glory of Aunt Jackie (aka Jackie Aina), and so forth. Then she mentioned to me that she was also a make-up artist looking to expand her kit with some different products. When I heard that, I couldn’t help it. I started fangirling, and I mentioned to her that in order to diversify her kit, she had to diversify where she shopped for her products. So in honor of the women who are constantly searching for new and better, I present to you my favorite beauty shops in NYC.

(1) C.O. Bigelow Apothecary:
Address: 414 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011

This is one of the oldest continuously running pharmacies in the US, having been founded in 1838. After a negative experience here many years ago, I had to get a prescription filled here last year because they are one of the few compounding pharmacies left. (Compounding pharmacies make certain prescription medications on-site.) When I came here, I’ll admit, I spent more time perusing the beauty section than anything else. This is a great place to visit if you are looking for high-quality sunscreens that go beyond the typical drugstore fare, and they are always rotating new ones. Some of my favorite finds here include Supergoop, MDSolarSciences, and COOLA. They also carry Jane Iredale Mineral Makeup, ByTerry, as well as Smith and Cult nail polishes.

C.O. Bigelow Pinterest
Photo Credit-Pinterest

(2) CAP Beauty
Address: 238 W 10th St, New York, NY 10014

Ahh, CAP Beauty. The eco-chic playground of the super-rich and (not always) famous. Founded in 2015 by the former owners of the fashion boutique Castor and Pollux, Kerrilyn Palmer and Cindy DePrima Morrisse, CAP Beauty has become the premier shop to find high-end natural skincare brands which actually work. This is the place to come if you want to find that obscure but high-quality natural skincare line from Hawaii (Leahlani Skincare) that everyone’s been raving about. If it’s a high-performance natural brand, chances are that you will find it here first, and they offer a full range of spa treatments in their gorgeous treatment rooms. They also have an in-house brand of supplements and foods which are yummy, but again…not cheap. The makeup lines they carry are not necessarily brown-girl friendly, but it’s okay. The skincare selection more than makes up for it.

Photo Credit- Mother Mag

(3) SHEN Beauty,
Address: 315 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

Founded by Jessica Richards, this Cobble Hill gem tucked away in South Brooklyn, is the place to go if you want to find both established brands and new brands which are going to be the next big hit. What I love about this place is that there isn’t a lot of faff and clutter. Jessica’s philosophy is to carry only the best of the best of a brand. She’d rather have the best three SKUs of a line than 15 SKUS which do nothing. Another aspect of this shop that I love is her expert curation of natural and cosmeceutical products. So while you’ll see Skinceuticals and Verso Skincare, you’ll also see Antonia Burrell and 37 Actives by Dr. Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas. This shop also offers brow services by Josh, who also happens to be the assistant manager.

Photo Credit- Allure Magazine

(4) Apthorp Pharmacy
Address: 2201 Broadway, New York, NY 10024

This pharmacy has been an Upper West Side Legend for over a century. Built as the ground floor of the historic landmark the Apthorp Mansion, this is the place to go if you’re some who has a preference for the classic French brands but prefers to buy them at a mom-and-pop shop. They also sell the classic German body care brand Kneipp (AMAZING bath soaks), Mason Pearson brushes, as well as a host of other up-and-coming brands. I personally love the Kneipp section and the T. LeClerc polishes. They are also one of the oldest-running pharmacies in NYC, and they fill specialty prescriptions as well.

Photo Credit:  Apthorp Pharmacy

(5) Anwaar Co.
Address: 354 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

This gem is located in the Boerum Hill section of Brooklyn along the beautiful Atlantic Avenue commercial strip. It’s one of my favorite places to shop for minority-owned natural cosmetics brands. They also sell perfume oils, supplements, Shea butter, and…….bulk raw oils! You can buy some amazing carrier and essential oils such as argan, moringa seed, carrot seed, pumpkin seed, pomegranate seed, and jojoba to name a few. Plus, the expertise of the owner is amazing. Go there. Your inner hippie kitchenitican will thank you. Trust.

Anwaar Co. Yellow Pages
Photo Credit: Yellow Pages

(6) Metro Integrative Pharmacy
Address: 931 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10065

I found this pharmacy on the Upper East Side when I stopped in to grab a healthy snack on my way to a function, and I was pleasantly surprised at the beauty selection they had here. This shop is a licensed pharmacy which dispenses medications and vitamins, in addition to cosmetics. The cosmetic product selection at this place is classic French pharmacy brands meet classic and new natural brands.  Think Avene, Institut Esthederm, and Leonor Greyl meets Dr. Hauschka, Trilogy, and David Goldfadden, M.D. They also have lower-priced brands in both the classic and natural categories for people on a budget. Another aspect that I love about this place is that they have dietitians, nutritionists, and aestheticians on staff to assist you with selecting purchases. WIN!

Metro Drugs-Natural Awakenings
Photo Credit: Natural Awakenings

Anyway, this is Round one of my favorite beauty shops here in NYC. I’ll be bringing you the scoop on more places as my travels expand.

What are your favorite shops for beauty? Let me know in the comments below!

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