Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sunday This and That - Shopping and More

Where do you like to shop for beauty products? I have my favorite stores, and I'll bet you do too. I'll share if you will.

For fragrance, I have a couple of best sources. One is MiN New York, shown above. Established in 1999 by Chad Murawczyk and located in Soho, New York, MiN is a mecca for fragrance lovers. MiN features niche fragrances - the treasures you can't find anywhere else. MiN was featured, along with many of my fragrance friends, in this month's Elle in an article on the Goodsmellas (men who are really into fragrance). As you'll read, MiN is a great hang-out for fragrance lovers, and Chad and Mindy host events just about every week.

The West Coat equivalent, perhaps a bit larger than MiN, is LuckyScent. I've spent way more than my fragrance "budget" at these two retailers over the last year. I also love Beautyhabit and Bergdorf Goodman (which has a more exclusive stock than its sister store, Neiman Marcus). More than any other feature, I look for free shipping and shops that don't charge me tax. If you buy enough at Bergdorf Goodman, your SA will waive the shipping. Just ask.

I also shop online for fragrances you can't buy in a store. They might be discontinued or available only in Europe. Sometimes, I'm just looking for a sale/discount. I order from Parfum1, First in Fragrance, and eBay. Those are only the top three. I often buy directly from perfumer's own sites. One order that pleased me enormously last month was placed directly with April Aromatics. Tanja Bochnig's fragrances are amazing! I'm sure that the moment I click on Publish here, I will regret not naming another source. I've been buying a lot of fragrance.

For makeup, I have my regular sources: Neiman Marcus Mazza Gallerie and Tysons Galleria, Saks Fifth Avenue at Chevy Chase, and Nordstrom and Bloomingdale's at Tysons Corner Center. I purchase at least weekly from Sephora, but almost always online. I hate the dirty store near me, and I don't like to wait in line to part with my money. There's something offensive about asking customers about to spend $150 to wait in line. This customer who has spinal issues finds it painful as well as inconvenient.

Just as I do with fragrances, I often order from companies' Web sites. Bobbi Brown appears frequently on my credit card invoice, as does Chanel and Giorgio Armani Beauty.

Skin care? Take all my makeup sources and add a ditto. Additionally, I look online when I'm shopping. I like SkinCareRX, an advertiser here, and SkinStore (right now 20% off store-wide).

If there were a Bluemercury near me, I would shop there often. The boutiques are elegant, but I've never found one in Virginia. With traffic as bad as it is here, I seldom venture that far to buy beauty products.

Hair care? Almost always online - often from Beautorium. Of course, I purchase my AVEENO at drugstores.

I have to add Costco to my shopping list. You never know what you'll find. I can' leave the store without browsing the beauty department.

Where do you shop? Have you found a local retailer you love? Do you want to tell us about a local boutique we'd never find if it weren't for your recommendation? This shopper would love to know!

I'd also like to know how you feel about the sales representatives where you shop. I have my faves at every store and only shop with them. For example, I purchase everything at Neiman Marcus Tysons from Loula Ayoub. She is a professional, as well as a caring person. She is always busy, but once she's free, gives you her full attention. At Saks, I shop with Loyd and Georgia. At Nordstrom, I seek out Diron at Bobbi Brown. He shops the whole department with me. At Bloomies? I always find my friends at SPACE.NK.

Switching subjects, everyone is wondering how and why Chanel choose Brad Pitt as the newest face (spokesman) for Chanel N°5. The ludicrous short videos have drawn a lot of attention, but not good attention. Last night, the short advertisements were spoofed on Saturday Night Live. We know why Brad did it ($7 million), but why did Chanel? Not all notice is equally desirable.

Moving along again, La Prairie sponsored three awards for environmental action in London, with help from Prince Albert of Monaco. During an event at the Science Museum, the luxe Swiss beauty brand and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation handed a grand prize, worth $100,000, to the Monk Seal Conservation Project, which aims to save endangered animals in the Mediterranean Sea. The Kalabla Marine Conservation Education Program received $20,000, while the Toliara Reef Complex Project was awarded $10,000.

I read a quote in WWD [edited for brevity here] by Patrick Rasquinet, President and CEO of La Prairie Group. “Our ambition is to make progress in sustainability. We need to make sure we are producing and developing products in a sustainable way - step-by-step progress in this right direction." Rasquinet’s future plans include using recyclable materials and ingredients that are eco-friendly and ensuring animal-free testing. Kudos to La Prairie!

Photo of MiN by, and La Prairie


Appu said...

I love to read where others shop for makeup, skincare etc. I don't leave Costco without checking the beauty section but they don't seem to have anything great these days. I remember seeing Stila and Shiseido at one point. And yes, it is SO much better to order online at Sephora. Their dirty testers just put me off...not that I even try to use them :D

Nemo said...

Love your Sunday this and thats! Couldn't agree more about Brad Pitt! And talk about timing! I was just out of perfume and about to buy a lot of CHANEL #5, my favorite for years. Then I read your NEST feature and instead, just for fun, ordered the 3 rollerballs of the sexy scents instead of the CHANEL. Then here comes Brad Pitt. Whoa! I am not a celebrity lover or liker. I deplore the arrogance and egos and our communal worship of them. The ads are stupid and even worse, corny. Downright corny. Meanwhile, I love my NEST rollerballs! My LMD Nouvelle Vague arrived this week. As soon as I saw it, I knew it would be trouble. I was right. The pinky-mauvey colors do not work for me. But even worse, the black shadow is like something from hell. Not kidding! I am used to pigment problems, and can handle them, but not here. Black pigment all over me, the bathroom, everywhere. Had to bathe to get it off me!It is going back. Also arriving this week is my Guerlain Ecrin 4 Couleurs Turandot palette. Love it! Can't get enough of it or my new Lou-Ling lipstick. All of this is thanks to you, Cg (I can't believe you are a fan of the LMDB Nouvelle Vague, either). Here's to a new week of shopping!

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Appu,

I haven't been to Costco in awhile because they stopped carrying my favorite peanuts. I need to go soon, and I will be disappointed if the beauty section has become boring!

I'm not sure how Sephora stores stay open with such feedback on how dirty they are.

Charlestongirl said...

Oh Nemo,

Those NEST fragrances are gorgeous! I know you will enjoy them.

The black in Nouvelle Vague is the blackest black I've ever used. Go easy with your hand! Michael used it on me, and it was dramatic, but it wasn't all over the place.

Isn't Lou-Ling stunning?

so said...

I moved to Little Rock, Ar. years ago and kissed most of my shopping fare well. There's very little here to attract most shoppers. I've never even heard of a most of places where you shop. I've heard of Costco but this is Walmart country. If you don't shop at Walmart or Sam's Club, there's always a Dillard's. I usually read your reviews of new products then go to Dillard's or the relatively new Belk which is really small and they've never heard of some of the things I asked about. When new Bobbie Brown products come out I can get them a month or two after I hear about them. I love going back to the SF Bay Area to visit but don't get to very often. My new love in cosmetics which I've found very effective is Peter Thomas Roth which I have to order on line as most things. I have a Sephora here but they're not carrying many products in the different lines. I heard that Sephora carries Bobbi Brown. Not here. It's very limited. So needless to say,I love your reviews. I learn more about products on line and when I ask about them in my local stores they have no idea what I'm talking about. Thanks for the great reviews.

Anonymous said...

Have you tried the Bluemercury in Clarendon?

Anonymous said...

It's good to see shopping recommendations for the US - I'll keep a note of them to use on future visits - fingers crossed ! Anne

Anonymous said...

In Canada, we are at the mercy of The Bay, Sears, Holt Renfrew, Shoppers Drug Mart Beauty Boutique, and Murale (similar to Sephora). Companies such as Chanel, Bobbi Brown, Armani, etc., will not ship into Canada. I have trusted SAs in Dior, Lauder and Lancome at The Bay, and a beauty boutique manager at a Shoppers Drug Mart. When I'm in the U.S. on vacation, I hit Neiman Marcus, Dillards, and Bloomingdales or Saks. I do wish Canadians had online shopping access to HE lines.

Nemo said...

Lou Ling is the most beautiful lip color I have ever owned! Perfect, not too much color, stays on forever, moisturizing, and just enuf sparkle. I want another. As for the LMDB, you can now call me Inkpot.

Bonnie J. Weissman said...

I love the Cosmetics Company Outlet (CCO) at Leesburg Corner outlets for Lauder, Bobbi Brown, and MAC, among others at a discount. Also like Neimans at Tysons Galleria. I love Ebates, so a lot of my shopping is done online to get the rebates, especially when Sephora or is the daily double.

Charlestongirl said...

So, you need to just shop online. Use the brand sites. Or try Nordstrom. They put everything new up quickly.

I would be depressed if I lived so far from my favorite stores.

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Anonymous,

I didn't even know it existed! Thanks!

Charlestongirl said...

Maureen, it's not fair that they won't ship to Canada. They could charge more. I'm certain customers would happily pay the difference to have access to fab things.

Charlestongirl said...

Nemo, that's pretty funny. How about smudge pot instead of sexpot?

Charlestongirl said...

Oh Bonnie,

I have actually run into a limit at Leesburg. Did you know that you can only buy so many items (or spend so much) on a single day before they cut you off? One day I had my guy friend buying things for me because I had hit my limit. I know they are trying to keep resellers away, but I am a "real customer"!

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Anne,

Good places all. :)

Virginie said...

Charleston Girl, you are very funny. And the worst part, I am kinda like you ;-))

Evelyn said...

Could you imagine if you went to a counter at Nordstrom, Neiman's or Saks and were told you reached your makeup/perfume quota for the day? lol just imagining my face has made me crack up.

Tatiana said...

For fragrances I frequent Beautyhabit, Luckyscent and I do the 45 minute drive to my local Saks and Barney's because I have favorite SAs at each store that I try to be loyal to. I stopped shopping at the local Neiman's (10 minutes away) when my favorite SA disappeared from fragrances and cosmetics. My local Nordstrom is small and sometimes doesn't have the brands I want, but I try to shop there when I can because I love their points back.
For cosmetics I try to shop at my local Nordstrom. When they don't have what I want I drive that 45 minutes to Barney's or Chanel or Saks or the larger Nordstrom (which carries Guerlain and Burberry).
My skin care either comes directly from Tatcha or Barney's. And I hate to admit it, but I'm a drugstore person for my haircare. Except for the Christophe Robin I use that I get thru Beautyhabit.
I've not had much luck with on-line discounters and I've been burned one too many times on the Bay to trust any seller there. Can you say watered down perfumes?

Running with Scissors said...

Very interesting post! My favourite places to do my beuaty shopping our two of our biggest shops: Mecca Cosmetica and Kit Cosmetics which is Mecca's "little sister".

You might wanna check them out, but unforch, we get all the products and ranges *long* after you guys.

Charlestongirl said...

My sympathies, Virginie! :)

Charlestongirl said...

Evelyn, it's the darndest thing! I know why they do it, but I don't go to Lessburg that often anymore, so I like to stock up when I go.

On the other hand, it might be a good thing for me if NM put a limit on how much I could buy.

Charlestongirl said...


I am very careful on eBay. The seller must have impeccable feedback. I just bought a L'Artisan that was advertised as BNIB. I got it and found the shrink-wrap seal had been opened on both ends, and about 5 ml of the fragrance had been removed. I left negative feedback. They seller offered to send me another bottle to get me to remove the feedback. I am anxious to see what this second "rare" bottle has in it.

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Christy!

I will. Often for us, shipping from international sites is prohibitive.

Eileen said...

Oh my goodness! I'm so late in getting to this, but couldn't resist the opportunity to give a shout out to some of my favorite SA/MA's. I am very fortunate to have some super talented, generous, fun women who keep me apprised of all the latest happenings: upcoming collections, special events, visiting celebrity makeup artist (although each of these women is also very talented), the arrival of collections, etc. Yuki, Megan, Gisoo--you're the very, very, very best!

I shop for cosmetics primarily at Nordstrom's and Neiman's. I'll order on-line from Sephora but rarely go in to shop. I think the reason Sephora is so popular is because it has become a playground for the kids and because they do their famous 20% off sale. All four of the Sephoras that I have visited are dirty, testers are in deplorable condition if they're available at all, and safety from a health standpoint is none existent. Anyone actually testing products there would have to have questionable standards vis-à-vis hygeine. If Sephora were a food establishment, it would have been shut down by the health department ages ago.

When it comes to skincare, I get that from my dermatologist and mainly from websites like the ones you mentioned, Charlestongirl. I've also been ordering directly from TATCHA as I've become enamoured with that line.

Wishing everyone a great week.

Jane said...

Hello, all, I am late to the party!

There's a lovely new Bellacara at the Mosaic District on Gallows. So many of the testers were still untouched that I actually felt weird!

If anyone knows if I can buy/where to buy Tromborg makeup Stateside, I'd be very glad to know. It looks very interesting, but then my head is easily turned by good copy.