Monday, April 11, 2011

Baack from NYC with a Haul (of course)

Lol, I started this post two days after I got back from New York and I'm finally finishing it up! Slacker much? :P

I'm excited to start blogging again, though I don't expect to post as frequently until after finals! Bah, I'll try to take it easier academically in the summer, which means more blogging!

Here's a collective haul pic. 

It's not complete, as I hauled a NYX felt-tip liner and a NYX concealer pen the day after. But it's mostly what's there.

Haul deets

From Wigs And Plus, I hauled the NYX sharpener so I can finally sharpen those fat NYX Jumbo Eye pencils. I expected more NYX products in NYC, since we're so deprived over here. Wigs And Plus' NYX selection isn't that good. Beauty 35 is better, though they don't have NYX's Mosaic powders, which Wigs And Plus carries. Plus, I later found out that Beauty 35 sold the sharpener for a dollar less. Shopping FAIL.  

I was most excited about getting my hands on some Ben Nye. I haven't had any success finding a good Ben Nye selection in SF stores. I didn't want to buy Ben Nye online, because of shipping fees and I wanted to try out testers. Some forums pointed me in the direction of Ricky's. I went to four or five Ricky's before I realized that their Ben Nye selection is extremely limited. I was looking specifically for Ben Nye's blushes and contour powders, which none of the Ricky's carried. I was about to give up when I saw this post. I saw the contour powder in the post's photo and I knew I had found it! 

Alcone is a professional makeup shop that basically carries full selection of many stage makeup lines like Ben Nye, Cinema Secrets, etc. Check their website for info on their inventory. It's a very small shop, but there are trays and trays of testers for everything! Customer service is a bit subdued since they cater mostly to makeup artists. But that just means no hard-selling and pressure to buy more than you want. :D In addition to Ben Nye's Contour #1 powder, I also picked up the Visage Poudre in Banana to try, Tao's HG finishing powder. I was walking back to the subway when I decided to check MakeUpAlley on my phone to see what else Alcone had to offer. Then promptly ran back to grab a few of their awesome sponges, haha.

If you live in the area or will be visiting, it's better to go to the storefront than to shop on Alcone's website. There seems to be a price jack going on online. I picked up the contour for $8, and it retail $10 on the website.

If it weren't for the extreme weather (I'm a climate-spoiled Bay Area brat!) and slightly scary pedestrian traffic, I could see myself living in New York. Why?

The drugstores, baby.

Many drugstores were open very late and even 24 hours, a rarity in the Bay Area. If I lived in New York, my bf would know where to find me if I was missing at 3 in the morning. At the drugstore! ;)

I really loved Duane Reade, a local drugstore. Though their sales are meh, their selection is incredible. There are Duane Reade drugstores that have a specialized beauty section called "Look Boutique." Look Boutiques carry more higher-end brands not found at the normal Duane Reade, they remind me of drugstores in Canada , which are also more upscale.

At one Look Boutique

I pissed my pants when I saw this. I had no idea that any store in the US carried GOSH. GOSH is a cosmetics company from Denmark that is popular for their 24/7 eyeliner dupe. Before i saw this, I thought I could only buy GOSH online or pester my bf to CP it in Canada. But no, lucky New Yorkers have access to GOSH's full line!

Some mo' photos

A Lush-like bodycare company called Me! Bath. They have testers.

Another brand I'm not familiar with, a makeup company called StudioMakeup.
The regular Duane Reade is pretty awesome too.

Some brands that intrigued me. 

DERMAbaria, a moisturizer brand I've never seen before

Raw Essentials, a natural skincare line
And Duane Reade carries Korres' sister brand Kings & Queens! I love their scents!

Duane Reade's sales seem to vary from location to location
Aaand my Duane Reade haul

I picked up the DERMAbaria cream to help soothe my wind-chapped skin. Man, my combo skin type was really not equipped for East Coast weather! I also picked up GOSH Velvet Touch Eye Liner in Bananas, because Arianne recommends it as an inner corner brightener. Thanks for the lemming, Arianne!

My absolute favorite part of my trip was actually leaving the island and visiting Flushing! Flushing is a mecca of authentic and cheap Chinese cuisine. Obviously, my bf and I gorged ourselves silly on dumplings, $1 soymilk and scallion pancakes, and shaved ice!

I also discovered it's the place to buy Asian cosmetics, particularly Chinese Skincare. The drugstores in Flushing have the best selection of Asian cosmetics that I have ever seen in person! It's kinda sad really, since most of imported Asian cosmetics pass through the ports of California. Where's the Bay Area's supply?! :P

I couldn't get a better photo, the streets are super crowded near the subway!

Right by the Main Street, Flushing station is a pharmacy called Tung Ren Tang. They sold My Scheming Beauty masks for $10, which is very close to Sasa's price. 

I picked up Liyanshijia's 24-K Active Golden Yulan Oil Facial Mask, 10 pieces for $10. It is a whitening mask. I heard about the brand from Jean. My heart skipped a beat when I saw it. I asked my aunts to pick this up for me in China, and they couldn't find it. How strange to find it in Flushing! So I had to buy it. :) However, my spirits were a bit dampened when I later discovered that the masks expired last year. Learn from me and remember to check the expiration dates on the products!

My favorite drugstore for Asian beauty in New York was Starside Drugs & Surgicals. It is a Chinese pharmacy chain based in Flushing with five locations. Selection varies from location to location, but the well-stocked ones carry Japanese brands like Ishizawa Lab and Dollywink, etc. All the locations carry the Hong Kong beauty brand O'slee and a mainland Chinese brand I wasn't too familiar with called Tongrentang. I also checked out a few Asian beauty boutiques in Flushing, but don't recommend them. The markup was ridiculous (sometimes 3 times more than its retail value in Asia!) and it seems like the boutiques simply purchased their stock from Sasa. Pharmacies seem to actually purchase from importers, so I often saw products I couldn't buy from Sasa.

My Starside haul

I picked up O'slee's Peeling Milkshake Cleanser, because of Birkie's rave and since it was no longer sold on Sasa. I picked up Tongrentang's cleansing cream that claims to fade pigmentation (for my mom's age spots). The manager helped me pick it out. There were five different kinds of Tongrentang cleansers, which I couldn't tell apart since it was written in Chinese, so he helped me translate. So nice! The blotting paper was a freebie, since I spent over $20.

And that concludes my haul! It's quite a bit for me. I didn't tally it up for my budget, because I definitely surpassed my $40 beauty limit! But whatev, I was on vacation (the perfect excuse). Any reviews you would like to see next? Let me know. Any shopping suggestions to add? What are you looking forward to this spring? Your thoughts!
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