This is the home for all of my beauty posts-my skincare discussions, haircare tips, make-up trends, manicure colors, you name it.

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!


Three Product Roundup-Vitamin C Serums

Happy Friday, lovely people!

For the second Three Product Roundup, we’re going to talk about Vitamin C serums!

Now, I love Vitamin C serums. They are great for two distinct reasons: (1) They work wonderfully in conjunction with your sunscreen to provide you with antioxidant protection from the sunlight and environment during the day, and (2) They work really well at percentages over 20% during the nighttime to help brighten dull skin. If you are someone who chooses to ignore warnings about the sun and go out during the hottest times of the day especially, you need a Vitamin C Serum. Period.

However, here’s the catch: there are a LOT of products on the market, and as with most skincare trends, we are now seeing an explosion of products coming out at lower price points with the intention of making such ingredients a line-item in someone’s skincare budget. So, with that in mind, we’re going to discuss three well-known Vitamin C serums today which are well-known and figure out….which one is the best!


Three Product Round-Up :Cleansing Balms

Greetings, readers!

This is my first beauty post of 2018, and one of my resolutions was to create more meaningful content in the space of beauty which actually discuss care in detail.

So I’m starting a new series for this blog called “Three Product Round-Up.” In this series, I’m going to test three different versions of a product at three different price points:


Department Store:$$

Higher End:$$$

For my first foray, I’m going to do a three product round-up of cleansing balms. Now, what are cleansing balms, you ask? Cleansing balms are solid, oil-based cleansers which are mostly used as the first step in a skincare routine. Now, most people use them to remove sunscreen and make-up before using a second treatment cleanser, however, depending upon the product, there are some products which can be used as a second cleanse. 


The three cleansing balms which I am going to be comparing are the following:

Pixi’s Nourishing Cleansing Balm ($20) Available at Target  

Clinique’s “Take the Day Off” Cleansing Balm ($29.50) Available at Sephora and Macy’s

Sunday Riley’s Blue Moon Tranquility Cleansing Balm ($50) Available at Sephora and Space.nk Apothecary

Now…let’s begin, shall we?

I. Amount in packaging:

Pixi-3.04 oz

 NourishingCleansingBalm Open 04AUG16 web large

Photo Credit: Target

Clinique– 4.2 oz (Originally 3.8 oz)

 Clinique Take the Day Off Macys

Photo Credit: Macy’s

Sunday Riley-3.38 oz.

 Sunday Riley Sephora

Photo Credit: Sephora

II. Marketing Jargon (Taken directly from company websites whenever possible)

Pixi: :A gentle cleansing balm that removes all traces of makeup as it nourishes, leaving skin silky-soft.”

Clinique: “Lightweight makeup remover quickly dissolves tenacious eye and face makeups, sunscreens. Transforms from a solid balm into a silky oil upon application. Cleans thoroughly, rinses off completely. Gently helps remove the stress of pollution so skin looks younger, longer. Non-greasy. Non-drying. Ophthalmologist tested. For all skin types.”

Sunday Riley: “Blended with gentle sugar-based cleansers, Sunday Riley’s ‘Blue Moon Tranquility’ balm will remove impurities and makeup without stripping your face of essential oils. It’s infused antioxidant-rich Cocoa Butter, moisturizing Mimosa Flower Wax and a calming blend of Blue Tansy and German Chamomile to soothe irritation. Tangerine and Sweet Orange Essential Oils tone and clarify while creating a relaxing, spa-like experience.” (Taken from

III. Ingredients:

Pixi: Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Cetearyl Isononanoate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glyceryl Behenate, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Glyceryl Stearate, Glyceryl Cocoate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Lecithin, Tocopherol, Cetyl Alcohol, Benzyl Alcohol, Fragrance. 90 ml / 3.04 fl.oz

Clinique: Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Caprylic / Capric Triglyceride, Sorbeth-30 Tetraoleate, Polyethylene, PEG-5 Glyceryl Triisostearate, Water / Aqua / Eau, Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol.

Sunday Riley: Glycerin & Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides & Aqua & Sucrose Laurate, Jojoba Esters (And) Acacia Decurrens Flower Wax (and) Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Wax (and) Polyglycering-3, Glyceryl Behenate, C10-18 Triglycerides, Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides (Coconut Oil), Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Moringa Oil/ Hydrogenated Moringa Oil Esters (Moringa Butter), PEG-8 Beeswax, Cetyl Alcohol (and) Ceteth-20 (and) Steareth-20, Polyglyceryl-6, Polyglyceryl-3 Beeswax (and) Cetyl Alcohol, Squalene, Tangerine (Citrus Tangerina) Oil, Citrus Sinensis (Sweet Orange) Oil, Tanacetum Annuum (Blue Tansy) Leaf Oil, Matricaria Recutita (German Chamomile) Essential Oil, Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Extract, Ylang Ylang (Canaga Odorata) Flower Oil, Citrus Aurantium Var. Amara (Neroli) Flower Oil, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile Roman) Flower Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin And Caprylyl Glycol. (Taken From

IV. Directions for Usage (According to company directions)

Pixi: • Use AM & PM 
• Step 1: Apply a coin size amount onto dry skin & neck. 
• Step 2: Massage gently for 30 seconds. 
• Step 3: Remove with damp face cloth, using circular movements. 
• Petra’s Recommendation: For best results, follow with Glow Tonic.

Clinique:  How to Use
Use fingertips to massage balm over dry skin.
Rinse well with warm water. Pat dry.
Follow with your 3-Step Skin Care System.

Sunday Riley: How to Use
Massage balm into dry skin and remove with a warm cloth or apply as a hydrating mask on clean skin. 
Once open, most effective when used within 12 months. (Taken From

V. Texture and Scent

Pixi: This product feels like a solid oil. It’s very smooth, and goes on like a very slippery oil when rubbed on the face. I love the mild rose smell.

Clinique: This feels like Lard or Crisco. When you rub it between your fingers, it goes on like an oily cream. This has no fragrance, which is perfect for those who don’t like scented products.

Sunday Riley: This product feels rich, but it is quite grainy. I found the blue tansy scent quite calming, though. Still, the grainy texture..nah. I’m not a fan of it.

VI. How Did I Use It?

All products: I took a quarter-sized amount between my hands, rubbed them once, and then massaged it into my face for one minute to remove makeup. Then, I used a warm, clean washcloth to remove my make-up and sunscreen.

VII. My Thoughts on Each Product

Pixi: This was my least favorite. I used my usual method, and my face felt as though it was coated in wax. I had to use a stronger second cleanser to remove the remnants of this cleanser. Even on my hand, my hand felt as though it was coated with wax. A really nice smelling wax….but still…I don’t like wax near my face. Ever.

Clinique: I really liked this product. I’m normally a sucker for scent, but the performance of this was so good that I didn’t miss the scent. I was able to remove this in 1-2 swipes, and it even removed my waterproof eyeliner as well as my makeup. WIN! 

Sunday Riley: I do like this product. It performs well, and it can actually double as a moisture mask. However, I will not be repurchasing this product because there are much better cleansers which can be purchased for the price, and the grainy texture just wasn’t my thing. 

VIII. Final Verdict

Pixi: I will not be repurchasing this. Ever again.

Clinique: I really love this product. The issue that I have is Clinique is one of the flagship Estee Lauder brands. If you don’t know…Estee Lauder Companies sells their products in China, which requires internationally-owned brands to test their products on animals before they can be sold to the Chinese market. This issue is a LOT more complicated than it appears, and I will be making a separate post on it in the near future.

Sunday Riley: If the price point were $20 lower, then absolutely. However, it’s just not worth it to me.