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© Del Orbe
© Del Orbe
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An Insider's Guide to NYC's Best Cultural Beauty Spots

Picture of Esme Benjamin
Wellness Editor
Updated: 1 June 2017
When it comes to New York beauty tour guides, they don’t come much more qualified than Stephanie Flor. The New York-based makeup artist has a roster of high profile clients and is the founder of Around the World Beauty, a company that celebrates cultural beauty traditions around the globe. Skip Sephora next time and try one of these multicultural beauty emporiums, exploring New York’s diverse neighborhoods in the process, from Little India to Koreatown.
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CAP Beauty, Chelsea

Best for: All natural brands

At CAP Beauty I always find the most awesome workshops to attend that expand my idea of beauty. It’s a magical store filled with the coolest beauty finds from all over the country. This store inspired Around The World Beauty to host our own small intimate beauty meditations, empowering women to focus on self-care and invest in products that work from the inside out.

CAP Beauty, 238 West 10th Street, New York, NY, 10014, +1 212 227 1088

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The Alchemist’s Kitchen, East Village

Best for: Indie brands

Courtesy of The Alchemist’s Kitchen

You’ll find me here Instagramming all the awesome lifestyle products! The Alchemist’s Kitchen is one of my favorite escapes in the city for when I just want to feel connected to nature, and be among my tribe. Downstairs you’ll find HigherDOSE, an infrared sauna which works to detoxify the body, and a true hidden beauty secret for gorgeous skin. There’s always something happening here, from workshops taught by my favorite herbalist, to flower readings from Lotus Wei, or talks from my favorite beauty entrepreneurs, like Adriana from Anima Mundi. They’ve inspired me to see plant medicine as a way of life, and the owner Lou is the true definition of #lifegoals—free spirited and all-loving.

The Alchemist’s Kitchen, 21 East 1st Street, New York, NY, 10003, +1 212 925 1267

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Silvana, Harlem

Best for: Beauty for women of color

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I love going for breakfast and listening to the chill lounge music at Silvana while discovering new lifestyle products that speak to my gypsy soul. Their decor is African-inspired with glass bead adornments, and wooden accents. It’s basically my dream home, and during the evening private DJs give amazing ‘world’ music mini-concerts.

Silvana, 300 West 116th Street, New York, NY 10026, +1 646 692 4935

Tonymoly, Koreatown

Best for: K Beauty

This is my favorite beauty stop in NYC for the best karaoke and the cutest face masks in the world. After traveling to Korea last year and learning so much about K beauty it was great to find some of the best brands back at home. My Tonymoly beauty-must is the Snail Eye Cream and the mask bar, which has an endless selection of vegetables and odd beauty ingredients to make skin food.

Tonymoly, 35 West 32nd Street, New York, NY 10001, +1 212 564 4004

Paintbox, SoHo

Best for: Fashion nails

Courtesy of Paintbox
Courtesy of Paintbox

Head to Paintbox for the ultimate Sex and the City moment, glass of champagne included. This ultra sexy nail spot isn’t your regular mani—the in-house artists work backstage at Fashion Week and its creative director, Julie Kandalec, creates new collections every season inspired by her travels. You’ll find some of your favorite magazine editors and celebrities getting the hottest nail looks, too.

Paintbox, 17 Crosby Street, New York, NY 10013, +1 212 219 2412

Butala Emporium, Little India

Best for: Indian beauty

I visit this beauty bonanza when I’m running low on bindis or just need a little Indian beauty inspiration. The store has tons of goodies like henna and face packs, and everybody who works here is filled with goddess knowledge. I always stock up on DVDs that breakdown Ayurveda (an ancient Indian approach to healing) and Hinduism, which are great for exploring Indian culture and traditions.

Butala Emporium, 132 East 28th Street, New York, NY, 10016, +1 212 684 4447

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Aire Ancient Baths, Tribeca

Best for: A Middle Eastern spa day

Courtesy of Aire Ancient Baths

The city is always “on”, so when I want to decompress, Aire is my go-to. It allows me to connect to water and detoxify my mind, body, and soul. On Tuesday nights you can enjoy the pool waters listening to acoustic Flamenco music for deep relaxation. It’s the closest thing to the ancient baths of Greece and Rome, plus the treatments offered include some of my favorite global beauty rituals.

Aire Ancient Baths, 88 Franklin St, New York, NY 10013, +1 646 878 6174

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Inscape, Chelsea

Best for: Meditation

Courtesy of Inscape

Inscape allows your mind to wind down with guided meditation, and it wasn’t until visiting this haven that I truly learned to let go with the help of breath work. Any beauty regimen starts on the inside, and after one session I always come out glowing. Our daily rituals are reflected in our outer appearance and that’s why meditation is an essential part of my morning beauty routine.

Inscape, 45 West 21st Street, New York, NY 10010, +1 646 952 0706

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Annick Goutal, Upper East Side

Best for: Fragrances inspired by France

While traveling in the south of France, I learned that not all fragrances are created equal. The closest we get to pure luxury in NYC is Annick Goutal, where you’ll find me learning about product launches incorporating the newest fragrance discoveries from around the globe. One of my favorite beauty travel hacks is to get miniature sizes and testers when traveling for a long trip. Since fragrances usually come in glass I always get a mini-tester version for my carry-on. Such a conversation starter on flights!

Annick Goutal, 955 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10021 +1 646 964 4795

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SacredWaters, Long Island City

Best for: Mehndi or tribal body art

Courtesy of SacredWaters

This holistic wellness centre offers a flotation spa (great for finding inspiration!) and body art on its menu of services. Body art is a practice that dates back thousands of years to when women would come together to share in beauty, and that’s exactly what happens at SacredWaters. I gather my closest friends and we create highly charged body art, using henna or non-toxic body paint, that lets us be creative and express ourselves. There’s beauty in communication and drawing on one another — placing trust in your sisters to create beautiful designs that empower your look.

SacredWaters, 5–35 51st Avenue, Long Island City, NY 11101, +1 718 752 1414