Where do you shop for your skincare products? I did an informal Facebook poll recently and the majority of the respondents said that drugstores and department stores are their retailers of choice. And for good reason: they have unbelievable selections. Whether you're searching for travel-sized products for your next trip or seeking out new shops while on the go, you won't go wrong with these stateside beauty shopping picks.
Basics from Coast to Coast
CVS and Beauty 360
Since you don't always have to pay a lot to get great results, I've always been a big fan of drugstore-based skincare, and the Beauty 360 brand at select CVS stores breathes new life into the shopping experience. There are currently 25 outposts in California, Connecticut, and Washington, D.C. where you’ll find a sleek, modern décor and trained consultants who know their stuff, plus luxury brands like Dead Sea-inspired Ahava, B. Kamins, and no-nonsense Mario Badescu. All Beauty 360 stores are adjacent to traditional CVS stores, where you can stock up on my beloved RoC and CeraVe. See their site.
We all love Target for affordable basics, but when was the last time you took a spin through the skincare and cosmetics department? The shelves are packed with wallet-friendly lines from some of the beauty industry’s heaviest hitters, including celebrity makeup artists Jemma Kidd and Napoleon Perdis. You’ll also find all your favorite "mass" skincare lines like Aveeno, plus Target exclusives from U.K.-based Boots, all-natural Lavera, and Target’s in-house brand, up & up (their sunscreens can’t be beat). See their site.
For more of a department-store feel without losing sight of the bottom line, Ulta is ideal for a beauty fix. Budget-friendly names you know sit beside prestige favorites, and the selection is unparalleled. And in addition to skincare and makeup, the fragrance and haircare departments are overflowing with the latest and greatest. Their in-house line of cosmetics and makeup tools are fabulous as well. See their site.
New York City Favorites
If you’ve ever wondered how those New York City socialites get such amazing skin, their secret is probably a fantastic dermatologist and regular trips to Clyde’s. The aisles of this high-end pharmacy are packed with high-end offerings like Clarins, Dior and Lancome, plus many European and indie brands that can be hard to find. The home and men’s sections are perfect for gifting, with luxurious offerings from Roger & Gallet, Geo F. Trumper and more. See their site.
Not far from Clyde’s you’ll find Zitomer, which is an upscale shopping paradise for the beauty minded. Aside from the unbelievable variety of skincare and makeup from off-the-beaten path brands like Kneipp, Japan's Yu-Be, cult favorite Model Co., and much, much more, Zitomer may just have the best selection of hair accessories I’ve ever seen—so I stock up to protect my hair from drying plane air when I fly. See their site.
Downtown New Yorkers have been shopping for their beauty needs at this institution for the past 168 years, and you can, too! The throwback feel makes shopping a pleasure, and stocking your basket with both luxury and budget finds like beauty editor favorite Smith’s Rosebud Salve, Marvis Classic Mint Toothpaste and Bigelow’s own line—which can also be found at Bath & Body Works stores across the country—will fulfill all of your beauty needs. See their site.
Unique Boutiques in Glamorous Locales
Brownes & Co.
Being a Florida gal, Brownes & Co. is my go-to shop for all things beauty, and no trip to Miami is complete without popping into this swanky apothecary. (They have two locations, one on Lincoln Road and one in the Design District.) From smaller prestige lines like France's grape-based Caudalie and spa-inspired Elemis to favorites from serious skincare specialist Skinceuticals and countless names you may not of heard of before, these skincare and makeup experts do the prescreening for you so you’re left to choose from the best of the best. See Fodor's review.
For more than 25 years, Cos Bar owner Lily Garfield has been beautifying the skin of residents and visitors in enchanting locations like Aspen, Carmel, Charleston, Montecito, Sante Fe, Vail and beyond. No need to worry if you forget your favorite face cream or foundation when traveling to one of these locales, because Cos Bar is known for its well-edited selection from super-high-end brands like Chanel, ReVive, Cle de Peau, Amore Pacific, and more. See their site.
For the girl who likes to be on the cutting-edge of beauty, look no further than Space NK. This was my home base when I was researching the UK edition of my book, since you can find all of the top British brands under one roof. This London-based export opened in New York in 2007, but now ladies from coast-to-coast can sample the offerings at Space NK outposts in larger Bloomingdale’s stores. Filled mostly with names you don’t know (yet), stock up on cutting-edge makeup from Ellis Faas and skincare from Aesop, the Asian export Wei, and more. See their site.
Specializing exclusively in travel-sized beauty products, 3floz.com should be an online destination for every traveler. You get TSA-approved sizes of countless favorites for him, her and baby—including hard-to-find lines like Alterna, DDF, Supersmile, Weleda, and more. And since these lines tend to fall on the pricey side, 3floz.com is also a great place to shop if you want to try before you buy the full-size product. See their site.
If you want new products delivered directly to your door every month, check out this upscale beauty site that ships samples from high-end lines like Korres, reBloom, Laura Mercier, Phyto, and Benefit for just $10 a month. Not only will you always be up on the latest and greatest beauty regimens, but have sizes that are perfect for staying under that 3.4-ounce air travel rule. See their site.