An Insider's Guide to NYC's Best Cultural Beauty Spots
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.
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.
The Alchemist’s Kitchen, East Village
Shop, Beauty Salon
The Alchemist's Kitchen, New York | Courtesy of Alchemists Kitchen
Best for: Indie brands
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.
Restaurant, Bar, Middle Eastern, $$$
Harlem, Silvana, New York | © Del Orbe
Best for: Beauty for women of color
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.
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.
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.
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.
Aire Ancient Baths, Tribeca
Aire Ancient Baths, New York | Courtesy of Aire Ancient Baths
Best for: A Middle Eastern spa day
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.
Best for: Meditation 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.
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!
SacredWaters, Long Island City
Spa, Health Spa
SacredWaters, Long Island | Courtesy of Sacred Waters
Best for: Mehndi or tribal body art
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.