RECOMMENDED: The best shops in Los Angeles
The potions at Barney’s may not come cheap, but this is LA—a city where no price is too high for HD-ready skin and shampoo-commercial hair. Those willing to drop serious cash will find the latest cult beauty brands from the world’s style capitals—from fragrances by Sweden’s Byredo to delicate face creams by Japan’s Tatcha. And for everyone else, there are plenty of staples under $20, by equally covetable makers such as Malin+Goetz, Davines and Koh Gen Do. There’s also ample opportunity to try before you buy, thanks to a treatment room in which brands demo their products on eager shoppers.
This NYC-born apothecary houses a salon alongside its vast retail offerings, so you know that its assortment of hair products is going to be top-notch. The store’s owners, sisters Erin and Misha Anderson, have amassed an impressive collection of hard-to-find hair brands, all of them road tested by Erin during her many high-profile editorial hairstyling gigs. We’re partial to the all-natural, sustainably harvested Sans from New Zealand, and Swedish brand Sachajuan, which contains loads of nutrients from sea algae. Cosmetics, skin care, facials and make-up applications round out the mix.
If your idea of an alluring complexion is more English rose than spray-tan saffron, you’d be wise to check out this Brentwood beauty spot. UK-based proprietress Nicky Kinnaird has a knack for discovering under-the-radar skincare brands and turning them into household names—Brit hits currently tipped for greatness are restorative skin serums by facialist Sarah Chapman, heavenly scented bath products by Beautannia, and high-tech anti-agers by Zelens (fronted by plastic surgeon Dr. Marko Lenz). Add in ultra-savvy sales staff and a space that maintains its original 1940s charm, and you’ll soon be converted to this shop’s cutting-edge-meets-classic beauty approach.
Sure, that aquamarine eye shadow looks good in the package, but how do you actually wear it without looking like a freak show? At this French cosmetics brand’s LA flagship—a favorite of makeup artists—all guesswork is subtracted from the equation thanks to a friendly crew of staffers trained to school you in the art of makeup application. Take a seat in the shop’s recording studio, listen to your pro dispense tips using your choice of products from the shop’s 1,000+ item range, and leave with a video of your makeup lesson on a USB drive for future reference.
We love shopping in Benefit’s pink-and-white, boudoir-style boutiques. Our favorites among the brand’s collection of everyday-beauty routine staples include defining mascara “They’re Real,” super-natural “Dandelion” brightening blush, and “Benetint” lip and cheek stain (a product that was originally developed as a nipple tint for exotic dancers). We also swear by the shops’ $20 signature brow shaping technique, which delivers a perfect arch in less than ten minutes.
We’ll warn you now: after exploring this artisanal fragrance boutique, you’ll never again be able to stomach that synthetic department store spritz. Proprietress Alexandra Balahoutis creates her certified organic wares from pure botanical essences right in-house, referring to her process as "narrative" fragrance making that evokes places, people and scenarios through scent. Fair Verona, for instance, was inspired by Shakespeare’s Juliet, resulting in a mélange of jasmine, sandalwood, mimosa and pink grapefruit.
Consider Evolué your one-stop shop for all things relating to eco-friendly beauty. Lovely and knowledgeable owner Jean Seo has curated a mix of the most effective, highest-quality green brands on the market, from skincare (Tata Harper, Arcona) to hair (Rare Elements), nails (Sheswai Lacquer) and cosmetics (RMS). Facials, brow threading, manis and pedis are also on the menu at this industrial-zen pampering haven, making for a truly all-inclusive beautifying experience. Be sure to also keep an eye out for Evolué’s new proprietary skincare line, made for sensitive skin with all-natural ingredients.
We all know that outer beauty and inner health are inextricably linked—just think of how your skin looks after a gluttonous weekend in Vegas. This holistic idea forms the basis of French expats Valérie Grandury and Romaine Gaillard’s Beverly Boulevard shop, which resembles a particularly chic farm stand. At Detox Market, you’ll find products that refresh both inside and out: edible beautifiers including juice cleanses, detox teas and supplements; and external revitalizers like all-natural deodorants, organic lipsticks, and freshly made, zero-toxicity skin potions from Grandury’s own brand, Odacité. French je ne sais quoi, finally within reach.
Beauty boutiques are few and far between on the Eastside, but this sweet vintage-inspired neighborhood apothecary offers just about anything that one could possibly need. Le Pink is perfect for gifts, such as Voluspa candles and Mistral soaps, but also for everyday essentials (our favorites include paraban-free deodorants by Lavilin, organic sunscreens by Coola and dry shampoo by Lulu Organics). Le Pink also has all your beauty service needs covered, with waxing, lash applications and a menu of facials using organic Eminence skincare products from Hungary.
Dudes looking to graduate from drugstore blades need look no further than this old-timey barber shop in West Hollywood—just look for the black-and-white barber pole spinning at the front door. Along with shave brushes, razors and after-shave balms, the Baxter of California brand also encompasses skincare, hair products, body washes, candles and soaps, making it easy to stock your bathroom in one visit. Be sure to also spring for a signature Baxter Finley cut-and-shave when you visit, administered the retro way with hot towels and straight razors.