About Face: Beauty Tips
by Virginia Bradley, 01/29/2009
February has a way of wreaking havoc on energy levels, exercise regimens—and, especially, complexions. Indeed, who doesn't feel the need for a little pick-me-up to get through winter's homestretch? And with Valentine's Day and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week just around the corner, now is the perfect time to spruce up your appearance with a fresh infusion of makeup and skin-care products. There are many places in the City to find a huge range of affordable or hard-to-find beauty supplies, and a number of spots favored by professional makeup artists are hidden in plain sight right in Midtown. Here's where to go to make yourself look and feel fabulous, with plenty of cash leftover to spend on that first pair of spring sandals.
Alcone NYC is where all the professional makeup artists go to get their goodies, whether prosthetics or powder. The shop carries unusual stuff like neck-lifting kits (the cheapest face-lift around) as well as your everyday eye shadows (only they're $6 instead of $16). You can find the best eyelashes to flutter and entice for $2.75 a pop. Alcone has a great selection of products, but one of the best benefits of shopping there is that all of the associates are real working makeup artists with knowledge of all the trade secrets. Talking to an Alcone artist is like taking a class, and she will always point you in the right direction.
Three Custom Color Specialists Color Studio
A trip to Three Custom Color Specialists Color Studio is a novel experience. Once you find the secret elevator, it will take you right up to a lab where jars of bright pigments and creams line the wall. If your favorite lipstick gets discontinued, no problem: bring your old tube to the studio, and the specialists there can have it re-created for you in roughly 10 business days. They can hook you up with the most portable concealer palette, taking you through the year from ghostly to toasty bronze. The lipstick palettes are like a paint box, allowing for all kinds of beautiful experimentation. You will also find highly personalized customer service. Can you imagine having a color technician and makeup artist totally devoted to your maquillage? Now that's priceless.
Though not cheap, Face Stockholm's prices are a drop in the bucket compared with the fancy shops surrounding its Prince Street store. The impeccable color range conjures up rich images: Indian dancers and flowery spices, or glittering fetes fit for a snow queen. The Eye Dusts are pure pigment and very versatile, so one $22 jar can last years. Are you interested in projecting a facade bold enough to catch a designer's eye? Face makes an eye shadow called Shocking that's reminiscent of a fruity Brazilian cocktail—so bright it glows. At a reasonable rate of $60, get a prepped-to-turn-heads makeover. Face Stockholm even provides a makeunder, so you can look flawless without even looking like you tried.
The Art of Beauty by Linda Mason
A fashion and runway makeup-artist legend, Linda Mason really knows how to create a unique boutique. Stepping inside her store is like entering an artist's studio. Mason's palettes are more like collector's items, but you can hold 10 fabulous colors in a chic case the size of a deck of cards. Her book, Makeup: The Art of Beauty, is the best deal for fashionistas who want to teach themselves how to be great makeup artists. However, if you want to indulge in individual tutelage and don't mind laying down the dough, Mason has a studio where students of makeup can glean all kinds of tricks. In addition, you can also have your portrait painted by Linda herself.
Wigs & Plus Beauty Supplies
Wigs & Plus Beauty Supplies has everything to meet your heart's (and hair's) desire. If you are into putting your hair up, $1.25 will get you thousands of bobby pins in any shade to match your tresses. If you are into long, tousled, right-out-of-bed hair, the friendly associates at Wigs & Plus can match you with the perfect hair extensions. Wigs run anywhere from $25 to $200 and can be found in any coif option, from the latest Yves Saint Laurent runway style to a classic Brigitte Bardot 'do. Finally, if you require a hairdo in a hurry, the best quick fix for a bad hair day is the $6 braided headband that looks entirely real.
Whole Foods Market
Who knew Whole Foods Market was a beauty hotspot? It carries a phenomenal variety of extremely effective treatments for the epidermis. Why pay $200 for that fancy night cream with rose hip-seed oil (and tons of fillers) when you can buy the pure (and more effective) oil itself for $38? Attack your blackheads with what the models use—aesthetican Kimberly Sayer's coveted products, like her Deep Cleansing French Clay Mask (with pure ingredients like oats, green tea, grapeseed extract and lavender), whisk away impurities and are endorsed by the top agencies. Many of the goodies here are multitaskers, such as a $13 bottle of jojoba oil that will beautifully moisturize your skin, eyelashes, cuticles and hair.
New London Pharmacy
New London Pharmacy is a well-kept secret for cosmopolitan hair and makeup artists, stocking everything from organic toothpaste to the rarest perfumes; you can do all of your toiletry shopping and then some at this gem of a store. Those in the know flock here to replenish that special skin crème they discovered overseas that "you just can't find in the States." The pharmacy stocks Gouttes Bleues eye drops, which will make the whites of your eyes so sparkly that suitors will be drawn like a moth to a flame. And if you are still dying to find that amazing perfume that you never forgot since you left Paris, let them know—they will track it down for you within two weeks.
A quick trip across the East River will land you at Miomia, where all kinds of unisex treasures are to be found. Now you and your sweetie can save money and counter space by sharing the same enviable products. (Try the Escentric 01 fragrance from Escentric Molecules for a cutting-edge pheromone scent that attracts men and women.) The owner, Katie Chang, keeps her boutique up-to-date with all the hottest items, many of which are sure to become new classics in the beauty biz. Definitely grab one of famed film artist Julie Hewett's award-winning red lipsticks, or try her Cheekies (a steal at $24)—they moisturize with camellia oil while leaving you with the most gorgeous, natural flush on your lips, cheeks and décolletage.
Cosmetics Warehouse features drugstore-brand beauty products at 40% to 80% off. It carries Almay Truly Lasting Color, a lipstick that lasts 12 hours, for $3, so you can kiss your sweetheart all night for 25¢ an hour. If you prefer a less wearable finish, grab Revlon's Pink in the Afternoon lipstick or a $4 Cocoa Glaze lip sheer. Revlon's Frost & Glow will highlight your luscious locks for less than $4, or mix it up a little and go Blondfire Red. Create some romantic curls with your new $13 Vidal Sassoon curling iron and spray your gams a glowing bronze with Almay's Bare-It-All Legs, and get ready to win some hearts…or at least a free drink.