Beyond Sephora: Brooklyn’s Other Beauty Bars for the Product Obsessed


The Sephora Brooklyn grand opening. Credit: Zimbio

The Sephora Brooklyn grand opening. Credit: Zimbio

In the last month, Brooklyn has seen the arrival of frigid weather, a new mayor elect, and an enormous Sephora in Cadman Plaza. This is just the latest in an onslaught of chain stores invading brownstone Brooklyn, and although I wanted to boycott the mega store just on principle, the allure of such an upscale selection of beauty products was just too much of a pull. One afternoon, I sandwiched myself through the glass doors into the heavily fragranced, beauty-lovers haven. Enveloped in its suburban mall atmosphere, I found myself overlooking my fear of herpes and actually experimenting with the makeup on display. Eventually, I acquiesced to a quick “makeover” when I made the mistake of asking for a concealer recommendation. Ten minutes later my face was glowing and my wallet was much lighter. Instead of a concealer, I changed my life with the amazing Guerlain Precious Light Rejuvenating Illuminator ($49.50). And then to complete my eye look, I couldn’t leave without a greenish-gold Givenchy Magic Khol eye pencil ($22.50) and a refill to my Murad Instant Radiance Eye Cream ($68). And since I was there, I also picked up some Clinique Dramatic Different Moisturizer ($26). That was only my first visit.

Obviously I have a problem. But Sephora is luckily not the only option in Brooklyn where product junkies can indulge themselves. Beauty boutiques can offer more personalized services, unique lines and special events. Although nothing beats the wide selection of Sephora, I live in a NYC apartment, so a restricted choice of preferred beauty essentials is actually what my overflowing medicine cabinet needs.

Inside Miomia, where you can source local products like McBride's Rescue and Repair in A Jar and Night Cream, a favorite moisturizer of some BB staffers.

Inside Miomia, where you can source local products like McBride’s Rescue and Repair in A Jar and Night Cream, a favorite moisturizer of some BB staffers.

Miomia (318 Bedford Avenue, between S. 1st St. and S. 2nd St.,Williamsburg)

This unisex apothecary (which BB has raved about before) carries exclusive lines that reflect the vibe of the Willy-B neighborhood. Owner Katie Chang describes their customers as “people looking to up their skincare game without the typical bullshit you’ll find in a bigger, sales-driven environment.”  The staff doesn’t work on commission, so you can rest assured that they stand behind all of their product recommendations.

Services: A staff aesthetician, Hillery Sklar, is available for appointments Wednesday through Sundays.  Facials range from the Classic ($85) to The Bearded Gentleman ($70.)  A complete menu can be found at

Winter Must-Haves:  McBride’s Rescue and Repair in A Jar ($27) will heal the driest skin, Hakansson’s Lip Balm ($26) is a luxurious lip treatment, and Dermelect’s Hand Cream ($22) will take years off aged hands.

Upcoming Events:  December brings a festive free-gift-with-purchase promotion for all their customers.

The brow bar at Shen Beauty. Credit: Nikhita Venugopal /DNAinfo

The brow bar at Shen Beauty. Credit: Nikhita Venugopal /DNAinfo

Shen Beauty (315 Court Street, between Sackett and Degraw, Carroll Gardens)

What do you get when an American stylist and a British beauty journalist open a beauty den?  A gorgeous space, full of well-curated, upscale, international products that is, according to  owners Jessica Richards and Jules Stringer, “the antithesis of Sephora.” The company stands out for their personal touch, customer service and hard-to-find products.

Services: A recently opened Brow Bar is open four times a week, where brow stylist, Carrie Lindsey, will style and tint your brows and lashes, and even wax your face if necessary. In the new year, they will be offering mini-facials for the discerning woman in a hurry. Also, look for their Friday night classes where customers can learn skills like perfecting the smoky eye.

Winter Must-Haves: Annee de Mamiel Winter Oil ($100) is a perfect intro into the trend of oils, Therapie by Michelle Rocques O’Neil Bath Salts ($66) will assist in de-stressing this season, and a new foundation by Terry ($115) will fix winter complexions.

Upcoming Events: Enter Shen’s 25 Days of Christmas Raffle–each day they pick a winner of a $20 gift card, until Dec. 25. Also through New Year’s Eve they’re offering Holiday Makeovers, a $45 session with a makeup artist to get you glammed up for any of your holiday parties.

Related: A guide to the natural beauty products of Blades Natural Beauty and luxurious natural skincare from Soapwalla


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