99 Greene St., nr. Prince St. 212-941-4200
It’s a big claim, but the arrival of Britain-based Space NK here has shown what beauty retail can be (in other words, not Ricky’s or Sephora). Space NK combines an in-depth knowledge of its product lines (many are plant-based and paraben-free) with elegant store design and thorough service. Founder Nicky Kinnaird vets every product her shops sell, choosing only those she finds both effective and healthful. She also selected and trained the staff (she interviewed 30 facialists before hiring Oni, who does the signature Eve Lom facials in spacious, quiet treatment rooms at the back of the shop). You won’t be steered toward the most expensive lines, and sampling is generous. The aforementioned facials, while not cheap ($175 for one hour), are heavenly, and Oni’s own absurdly translucent skin is the best possible endorsement.