Living in America – An Adopted New Yorker Gives Us Her Beauty Shopping Lowdown!

By | March 20 2007 | 20 Comments

new york skyline

Reader Juliette got in touch with us to tell us about her favourite makeup haunts in New York. Considering how us Irishers love to take to NY for a long weekend of shopping till we drop, knowing where to go to get the best stuff is quite literally priceless information.

Juliette’s gen on New York’s best kept secrets is fab and I just have a feeling this is going to prove to be one of’s most popular posts:

We know them the moment we see them, and by we, I mean adopted New Yorkers (must live in Manhattan, and for a minimum of three years). Yup, the Irish are coming, and in fact have been coming in droves for years, but for shame; they just don’t know where to go!

Now I’m no patron saint of Mammy shoppers, so if it’s Macy’s you’re lusting after, stick with it, and every bus and train and car that winds its way to Woodbury Commons or Jersey Gardens is taking more people out of the city and out of my way. But before you throw your computer out the window and try to find out who this bitch is, come a little closer.

I am a staunch believer in the following; if you’re coming to New York to shop, you bloody well need to know where and I’d like to help you in this. Now because I’m a huge fan of the girls, I’m sticking to cosmetics today, but I might be able to help later on in the clothing department.

For starters, New York abounds with Sephora stores; there are in fact twelve in Manhattan alone. (cue ahhhh music from Heaven). The largest, and therefore best, for one-stop shopping, is on 34th St between Broadway and 7th Avenues (across the street from Macy’s, handily enough). Sephora is marvelous for advice because the assistants do not work for any one cosmetics company and therefore, are impartial. (Watch out for guest makeup artists/assistants, who work for one company whose name they will be wearing).

I always wander around for a while and earwig on their advice before seizing one who makes the most sense, though this can take a little time, and sometimes appear a little stalker-esque. Also remember that you can always ask for a sample of any product on the shop floor, even perfume. For Elizabeth Arden, Estee Lauder and Bobbi Brown, you’ll have to venture into the department stores. M.A.C. has stores throughout the city, including one at Bloomingdales.

Department stores such as Bloomingdales, Macy’s, Bergdorf’s, Saks etc all have glorious makeup counters, but you have to dodge seriously pushy salespeople at every turn. In fact, they can be so aggressive that you’d very nearly miss the BT girls. One time in Clinique, they even had dancing cheerleaders. Ouch. However, department stores have the best Gift with Purchase offers, which tend to be much more generous than the ones at home and have much lower minimum purchase requirements. You can find out about these on a particular company’s website, or in the Sunday or free papers.

Then there’s a little known gem; my favourite; The Cosmetics Market. Located at 5 East 39th St between Fifth and Madison, is a bargain hunter’s paradise. Loaded with overstock from Stila, L’Oreal, Prescriptives, Prada and many more, you can save up to 75% off the recommended retail price. Odds are, there are times when you’ll be luckier than others, but $7 for a Stila lipgloss is always worth the trip.

Finally, and if you’ve room left in your check-in luggage (please remember to not pack any of your thrilling new liquid/paste purchases in carry-on) head to Bed Bath and Beyond for all of your basics. You can save up to 30% off regular drugstore brands and they carry everything. Beware the travel section; I get sucked in EVERY TIME!!!

Thanks a million Juliette! Now all I have to do is book that flight!

On a Budget, Salons & Spas, Tutorials , , , , ,

20 Replies to "Living in America – An Adopted New Yorker Gives Us Her Beauty Shopping Lowdown!"

  • Aphrodite says:

    Wow thanks Juliette – give us more!!

  • glittergirl says:

    Sounds fantabulous roll on October!!!!!!!

  • montagne says:

    Yah!!! Im going on April 3rd!

  • Gio says:

    I always head to BB&B too – it’s heaven on earth! Also, CVS drugstores (like a Boots and an Urban Outfitters combined) do lots of discounted basics, I usually stock up on shampoos, shower stuff etc. They also do some brilliant travel sizes in all productsm, including Burts Bees etc

  • Gio says:

    Juliette could be’s roving correspondant! Please let us know of the most innovative treatments that all the Manhattan socialites are availing of etc!

  • Gio says:

    P.S. Or the best spa’s, beauty rooms etc. The Charlie Bird of (only prettier of course!).

  • Aphrodite says:

    Yes I’d love to hear all about those sisters who run the world famous waxing salon – is it called Brazil?? Can’t remember. Anyway have you been to them Juliette?

  • Juliette says:

    The J sisters, I believe are the sextet of sisters. I have not, in fact, been to see them, on the advice of my ex-roommate, who hails from Rio. She sent me to a real Brazilian salon in Queens where the women spoke no peep of English. I had to sign the shape I wanted, and I still ended up with a vertical eyebrow!
    I now go to a bargain place called SoHo nails.
    I would love to be your Charlie by the way, but sadly am leaving my beloved NY after 5 years to return to the bosom of Dublin.
    I hope I land softly

  • Gio says:

    It’s the J Sisters – they’re from Brazil and everyone from Naomi Campbell to Gywneth raved about them! (I only know this coz I vegged in front of Oprah one day ages ago!)

  • Gio says:

    Check out this link and click on the slide show – looks fab ‘n swanky!!

  • Gio says:

    Sorry Juliette – my comments were delayed (posted before but only appeared after yours!). Happy homecoming :-)

  • Aphrodite says:

    When are you home Juliette?

  • dhyana says:

    oh sephora, i’ve spent many a happy hour in that store on a recent NY visit. wish we had one here.

  • Juliette says:

    I arrive back on March 30th!!! then off to Sligo for a hen (where I;, secretly hoping to entice the others into a spot of Thalassotherapy; mmmmm seaweed!)Treats to soothe a tired traveller.

  • Aphrodite says:

    Oh you’ll have to write us a review about the seaweed baths now Juliette!

  • Marena says:

    I’m just back from my trip to the Big Apple and thoroughly enjoyed oogling all the beauty products. I didn’t pick up as much as I’d hoped as some things are still expensive over there. I loved Sephora, I was like a kid in a candy shop whilst himself was waiting patiently outside!! I picked up the Bliss triple oxygen mask (which I love) for a bargain 40 euro. Got some Aveda shampoo’s and conditioner’s and their hand cream and some Becca products for a fraction of the price’s here. One Becca foundation here is 42 Euro and it’s 40 Usd there. Bloomingdale’s was great for jeans but my God, the beauty counter’s…. Pushy is not the word. I don’t like when sales assistants keep pestering me and they really don’t leave you alone there. I wandered over to the Creme de la Mer counter and the tall moisturing lotion was 168 Usd. I’d spent so much money I really couldn’t justify it but to make up for it I bought the Guerlain Midnight secret in duty free on the way home for 55 euro, bargain !!

  • Aphrodite says:

    marena that all sounds like my idea of heaven!!

  • Marena says:

    Oh if I could go back I’d go with lots and lots more cash and more credit on my credit card !! Or else a very wealthy man.

  • DeeDee says:

    hi there,
    lucky me, i’m off to NY shortly and i can hardly wait. Just wondering if anyone knew what are the most discounted brands to go for in makeup? I heard that MAC is much cheaper in the States for example. would appreciate any advice.

  • June says:

    Do these Sephora individuals not realise that there are thousands of cosmetic junkies just dying to melt their credit cards online? The most annoying thing on earth is getting to the checkout stage and realising they dont ship internationally!! GRRRRRRRR

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