Note: This post does not contain any product reviews, just a list of places I visited and recommend.
I live in Los Angeles – the home of incredible film and celebrity skincare experts. So when I tell you that New York City blew my mind in terms of accessible skincare and beauty shopping, I don’t mean that lightly.
I had planned my romp through the available pharmacies and beauty hot spots well in advance, and thanks to the New York subway, I was able to visit most of the locations on my list, despite the cold, rainy weather.
Let’s get right into it, shall we?
Glossier is best known for their makeup. You’ve probably seen one of their ads in your Facebook feed or following you around the web after your cursory Google search.
When I got to the Glossier showroom, I was greeted by a woman at the door who told me to proceed to the top floor of the building for Glossier. There was a large number of people waiting to go up to the showroom, and when the elevator came down, we all packed in.
The door slid open to a bright, neatly organized showroom, bustling with people. There were multiple stations with testers, cottons, and disposable applicators. There was a general arrangement to it all: skincare and makeup primers, blushes and cream eyeshadows, bases and powders, and a washbasin with their multiple bottles of their famous Milky Jelly Cleanser as well as their skin salves.
To purchase products, you simply pick up a sheet with a list of all the products, marking what you want and how many. Take it to the front, pay, and they call you when your order is ready for pick-up!
I found the process to all be very smooth and quick, despite the showroom being so busy and crowded.
oo35mm (pronounced like “oh oh thirty-five millimeter”) is a small shop in Chinatown. It’s a short walk away from Glossier, and a highly recommended jaunt for any Asian beauty aficionado.
Ceiling to floor, oo35mm is stacked with cult classics like Cure, Missha, Biore, My Beauty Diary, and Hada Labo but also slightly lesser known brands such as Benton, Hana, and Cosrx. No matter what you’re looking for, oo35mm is exhaustive in their collection of Japanese and Korean beauty.
You can sample anything before you buy, though there is a $10 minimum on any credit card purchase. Thankfully, there are plenty of sheet masks to choose from to meet your purchase minimum.
New London Pharmacy is everything a girl could ever want. It is the brick-and-mortar home of the beloved Internet brand Stratia, as well as several French pharmacy favorites, such as Avene, Bioderma, La Roche Posay, Caudalie, and Embryolisse.
As a French pharmacy fangirl, I was reeling at the selection inside of New London Pharmacy. Besides housing the big French skincare brands, they’re also… you know… an actual pharmacy. While there, pick up a tube of Marvis toothpaste or virtually any drugstore skincare brand you can think of (including hard-to-find products like DML Moisturizing Lotion).
I was so overwhelmed that I visited the store twice. The first time, I picked up some Stratia Liquid Gold (the cashier told me that it has sold out twice, and “everyone is coming in for this stuff”), a deliciously scented bar of soap, Embryolisse, and a tube of Cinnamon Mint Marvis toothpaste. Upon my second visit, I bought a tube of the French favorites Hexomedine (known for it’s acne-drying properties) and ialuset (a pure hyaluronic acid creme).
As if this wasn’t enough to choose from, New London Pharmacy also stocks a small selection of European sunscreens that are neigh-impossible to find in the United States.
If you only have time for one stop in New York City, I highly recommend making it New London Pharmacy.
Worth a Mention: Ricky’s NYC
Okay, okay — so it isn’t strictly skincare, nor is it particularly exotic, but Ricky’s is a store that pops up everywhere across NYC. In fact, no matter where you are, you’re bound to find a Ricky’s within a short walk (or subway ride) away.
Ricky’s is the perfect spot to get your Ardell lashes and stock up on your basics, like deodorant, toothpaste, and delicate wash detergent, but it is also a pretty good spot to find The Ordinary, Baby Foot peels, and Embryolisse.