Body Language: New York's Best Beauty Boutiques
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Body Language: New York’s Best Beauty Boutiques

How to look fresh in the city that never sleeps

Olivia Falcon’s guide to New York’s treasure trove of beauty boutiques and apothecaries 

Body Language: New York’s Best Beauty Boutiques

new york

Remember the mini break? Casually catching a plane on Friday like it was a train, a couple of nights carousing around Barcelona or canoodling in Paris and back to your desk bleary-eyed on Monday. In our post-Covid world, such fun is hard to find but for those prepared to brave the paperwork and processing, travel treasure awaits. I am currently gloating over a recent haul of foreign beauty gems.

Forget French pharmacies – New York is the place to go if you want to strike real beauty gold and there’s a trove of brilliant apothecaries and boutiques you need to know about. The High Line hotel (rooms from $299) in Chelsea – with a London bus parked outside that serves early morning coffee and late-night cocktails – is well situated for striking out uptown or downtown.

Shen Beauty

I started with a foray to Shen Beauty, Brooklyn’s hippest beauty destination, where guru Jessica Richards’ curation of products is designed to thrill even the most jaded beauty junkie. For surviving the tail end of winter Jessica introduces me to Mahoni manuka honey, £54, sustainably sourced, and individually packaged in paper sachets to soothe sore throats and stomachs. I bought two boxes which indeed proved invaluable through January. The honey is also an antibacterial humectant, so an ideal face mask for dry, ageing or acne-prone skins.

Next, Jessica flagged up Vella Women’s Pleasure serum, £49, a nano-encapsulated CBD gel created by the same team that formulated Viagra which is applied to the clitoris for added sensation during sex; unsurprisingly, it’s been a lockdown bestseller.

Thompson Chemists

A short subway ride over in SoHo, locals such as Sarah Jessica Parker and Patti Smith flock to Thompson Chemists run by Mama J and The Medicine Man AKA husband and wife duo Jolie and Gary Alony, who are famous for serving up vitamins, hard-to-find beauty ranges and monthly bluegrass concerts in their pharmacy. Not to be missed is their own CBD brand, Mama J’s, that Gary handcrafts; the Space Capsules, £52, address stress and anxiety, while 40 Winks is the best melatonin and CBD blend I have ever tried for a peaceful sleep without the hangover.

Knockout Beauty

Uptown, I’m bowled over by Knockout Beauty, a beauty store that offers precise advice and treatments. Owned by beauty insider Cayli Cavaco Reck, I’m thrilled to discover Roscuba Perfect B3 spray, £30, a miracle spritz for stressed skin, and Soliel Toujours Clean Conscious Antioxidant sunscreen mist, £36, both of which carried me through Christmas and winter sun without a breakout or wrinkle in sight.

Mind & Matter: Our Pick

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Verveine du Sud 100mL

WAFT Bastide Verveine du Sud, £92. libertylondon.com

The scent of a Provençal summer from the home of Shirin Von Wulffen and Frédéric Fekkai, who responsibly grow ingredients on site. Because we could all use a little sunshine right now.

MBR Liquid Surgery serum beauty product

RENEW MBR Liquid Surgery serum, £1,443. shen-beauty.com

Best used in the coldest months, this serum oxygenates skin cells and hydrates right down to deep skin layers. An eyewatering price but sells like hotcakes – go figure.

Vilshenko Spring Candle beauty

LIGHT Vilshenko Spring Doll scented candle, £120. vilshenko.com

Kitsch and cute with a kick of floral fruitiness: raspberry, blackcurrant and rose. A reminder that spring is indeed just around the corner.

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