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It seems that every day a new makeup flagship store pops up, and so, for a period of months during 1999, we conducted a consumer investigation. We visited top brand makeup stores -- 12 of them, all in Manhattan. We visited everyone from Face Stockholm and Shu Uemora to Avon and Kiehl's. We wanted to tell you what we liked and what we didn't. Our report is completely independent. You won't find this kind of honesty anywhere else.

We intentionally visited each store twice, both times unannounced, to get the real feel for the stores, instead of the performance that would have been choreographed for us by the PR people and staff.

In general, there are pros and cons to shopping at these stores, versus department store cosmetic counters.  On the one hand, these stores totally leave you alone, in some cases to the point of providing no help at all. Some people like this.  At a department store cosmetic counter, sales people usually work on commission, and their sales approach is somewhat more aggressive.  At a department store, the cosmetic sales people are trained by the cosmetic company, and they tend to be more knowledgeable about the products they're selling.  Some people like this approach.  Department store cosmetic counters offer take-home samples,  and gift-with-purchases, something that is rare in the makeup flagships we visited for this issue.

And so, here is a hyperlinked list of the stores we reviewed. 

Visit one, return to this page, and visit another. We think you'll find our report helpful in the endless quest for the ideal makeup shopping experience.


Face Stockholm

Shu Uemura


Helena Rubinstein


Mary Quant




The Body Shop


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