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Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics
Photograph: Alex Strada Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics

The best beauty supply stores in NYC

Want to find the best beauty supply store? NYC has everything from cosmetic counters to unique discount shops.

By Melissa Kravitz

Especially at a beauty supply store, NYC shopping is a never-ending adventure for those always on the hunt for the next major trend. Though a plethora of clothing stores and shoe stores keep avid shoppers occupied, beauty stores are friendlier to cramped NYC closets with their supply of tiny treasures. The faster you build up your makeup stockpile, the more you can treat yourself without having to trek to nail salons or spas in NYC.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to shopping NYC

Find a beauty supply store in NYC

Photograph: Courtesy Sephora

1. Sephora

Shopping Cosmetics Upper East Side

Though often overcrowded, New Yorkers still flock to Sephora for quick touch-ups and products galore. Invest in higher-end lines like Lancôme, Dior and Clinique, or experiment with their cheap and colorful in-house line, which, at five bucks for eyeliner and $12 for a lipstick, definitely gives drugstore brands a run for their money.

Benefit Cosmetics
Photograph: Courtesy Jon Simon

2. Benefit

Shopping Cosmetics Soho

All sugar, spice and everything nice, this Soho branch of the popular San Francisco brand is decked out in soft pinks and lit by chandeliers like a Barbie dream beauty shop for a modern adult woman. Downstairs, buy products like They’re Real mascara ($24), Dew the Hoola bronzer ($28) and Benetint lip and cheek stains ($30), then head upstairs to the beauty bar for to-die-for spray tans and eyebrow waxing.

Photograph: Courtesy Kent Rogowski

3. Birchbox

Shopping Cosmetics Soho

Following the trend of websites opening brick-and-mortars (Piperlime and Warby Parker are recent NYC additions), Birchbox launched its first boutique in Soho in 2014—shelves packed with full-size versions of the men’s and women’s product samples the company's been sending to customers for years. In addition to stocking popular brands like Smashbox, Caudalie, Baxter of California and the Art of Shaving, the store has testing stations, as well as free how-to classes on makeup and hair styling. But don't worry, it's not getting out of the distribution business: at the BYOB (build your own Birchbox) area, you can fill a box with five samples for $15.

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Hayley F.

4. Bluemercury

Shopping Cosmetics Upper West Side

This luxury beauty product store is artfully overflowing with every product you mentally bookmarked in all those guilty pleasure magazines you read at the beach this summer. Treat yourself to luxe skincare, makeup, hair products and more from over 90 renowned brands.

Beauty 35
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Chasey S.

5. Beauty 35

Shopping Cosmetics Midtown West

The discount supplier of world-famous drag queens and makeup artists alike, this midtown beauty emporium sells makeup on the cheap, so you don’t have to use your newfound glitter eye shadow and metallic nail polish sparingly. Expect teenage glee upon arriving in the aisles offering thousands of products.

Photograph: Courtesy Kiehl's

6. Kiehl's

Shopping Cosmetics East Village

This East Village apothecary dates back to 1851, and while the eponymous skincare and haircare products are found throughout the city, nothing compares to a visit to the original location, where custom apothecary preparations are professionally tailored to individual skin types. Stock up on signature creams and concoctions—and don’t be shy about asking for samples.


7. Bite

Shopping Cosmetics Soho

For lip colors that’ll smack away the competition, pucker up at this natural beauty line’s New York location. Previously only available at Sephora, the brand allows folks to work with a makeup artist to create their own lip color—whether that’s a bright red or the perfect nude—and the ideal finish (matte or gloss) that’ll be ready to wear in just 10 minutes ($28). Loyal fans of Bite Lip swear by the lip crayons ($24) and the traditional, high-moisture Amuse Bouche lipstick ($26).

Photograph: Courtesy Alcone

8. Alcone

Shopping Cosmetics Hell's Kitchen

This beauty joint is a cult favorite for makeup artists, but you don’t have to be a pro to benefit. The shop opened in the 1950s as a supplier of cosmetics and false lashes for showgirls on Broadway—they’re still killing the lash game to this day—but now you’ll find everything from tools to brushes and hair dye. Nab the best loot from popular brands such as Visiora, Kryolan, Veil Cosmetics, RCMA and more. if you’re in need of a recommendation, store manager Jacob Hyzer can hook you up. 

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Sashi B.

9. Credo

Shopping Nolita

With a strong stance on vending sustainable, ethical and effective products, this chic Soho boutique will make you feel good (mentally and literally) about your purchases. Experts there will help you swap out toxic, chemical-laden beauty staples for Credo’s clean, toxin-free alternatives.

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Cecillia T.

10. Tonymoly

Shopping Midtown West

The U.S. flagship of this South Korean beauty emporium opened in Koreatown last year with much fanfare over Tonymoly’s enticingly colorful and exotic products. Pet-theme sheet masks, panda-shaped cream containers, egg white deep conditioner in a squeezable mayo container and more quirky beauty treasures can all be unearthed there.

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