Generally, you can fake a makeover. But when you’ve got a big-deal event—a first date, a meet-the-parents, a cocktail party—at day’s end, it’s better to leave your makeup needs to a professional. I polled product junkies, beauty-editor friends, and even a few glam-looking retail clerks to come up with five reasonably priced eleventh-hour beautifiers.
5. At Space NK Apothecary (99 Greene St., nr. Spring St.; 212-941-4200), I quickly developed a girl-crush on dishy Nina, who applied “smoky” this and “highlighting” that while complimenting my lashes. But the yeah-girl spell broke when I looked at my purple-glitter eyes and Silly Putty complexion outside the sneakily lit store. There was a “strongly recommended” buy-three-products policy; I spent $76.
4. Though J.P., my endearingly sassy artist at the Armani counter at Bloomingdale’s (504 Broadway, nr. Broome St.; 212-729-5133), gave me several valuable application tips, I left looking rather … pink. Insult to injury: I had to purchase a minimum of three products totaling $140.
3. Inglot, the enormous new Polish store hidden on the fifth floor of Chelsea Market (75 Ninth Ave., at 15 St.; 212-672-7124), paired me with another chirpy type, Ann, who was inclined to go the smoky route, too. The eyeliner looked boldly cool, and my skin looked like skin, not plastic—which for $40 seemed fair.
2. Runner-Up Erik, my pleasant but admittedly exhausted technician at M.A.C (113 Spring St., nr. Greene St.; 212-334-4641) lost points for a fifteen-minute wait. But after a half-hour and only $50 (“free” mascara included), I had smooth but not goopy skin, matte red lips, and the kind of winged-out liquid liner I consistently fail at applying myself.
1. Ironically, the only free contender (or at least the cheapest one—product purchase is “encouraged”) was also the best. Pierette, manager of the West Village’s new Nars (413 Bleecker St., nr. Bank St.; 646-459-2323), was clearly a professional, working efficiently, suggesting skin-care tips without aggressively pushing product, and proving that it is possible to rock a smoky eye without looking like a drag queen.
See Also: A Look Inside the New Nars Boutique
What Is This?
Each year, everything you see in “Best of New York” has been rigorously tested by a small army of discriminating critics. That’s a given. What you don’t typically see is so much as a glimpse of the process by which we reach our conclusions. To provide a taste of that (and to sneak in a few more picks), we’ve invented the Scratchpad, a brief look at the paths our testers followed in six categories.