Some years back, at my previous editor gig, we did a story on Toni Ko, the Korean American founder and creator of NYX Professional Makeup. She had just sold the makeup line to L’Oreal, a huge coup for someone who started the line when she was 25, in a humble 600-square-foot space with only one product: eyeliner pencils.
Fast forward to today, and NYX Professional Makeup is on a tear, one might say. The super affordable makeup lover’s brand has gone from the Target aisle to nine freestanding boutiques in California alone, its latest opening at Westfield Fashion Square in Sherman Oaks. Next week, they’re opening another store in Pleasanton, California, and the week after, New York City.
Designed like a mini Sephora, the NYX boutique offers no shortage of testers for almost every single one of its 2,000 skus. Just the lip glosses alone merit its own Lip Bar (and even then, the colors spill over into another section for lips), and little disposal lip brushes allow for sanitary testing. Perhaps the coolest part of the store is the digitally enabled beauty bar, which offers not only pro makeup touchups but also video tutorials. Shop the top YouTube trends or scan a product to see how that bright yellow shadow can look on real people. Basically, play to your heart’s content, inspiring your inner makeup artist.
In fact, “play” was the operative word of the night. CEO Scott Friedman mentioned the word several times when describing the atmosphere of a NYX boutique, all in the context of encouraging customers to “have fun” and play around with the colors. One woman tried out black gloss with glitter applied on top by an on-site makeup pro. Another stashed a pile of tissues next to her at the lip bar as she swiped on a shade, snapped a photo and moved on to the next shade. (“Are you taking a photo of every single color?” a salesgirl asked, with a smile.)
You’ll need a lot more tissues if you’re going to try every single shade NYX is constantly rolling out. Think of it as Zara for makeup — the line is continuously coming up with new products and new designs, often offering a more affordable dupe of whatever is hot and trendy in the beauty world. (Instagram is flush with NYX’s Soft Matte Lip Cream, considered a Kylie Lip Kit dupe — and at $6 versus $29, it’s no wonder.)
And it’s not just the color cosmetics. My mom swears by NYX’s Shine Killer to blur out her pores — after trying all sorts of primers and blurring products, she says NYX’s is by far the only one that works.
Indeed, the hallmark of NYX is its affordability, color payoff, and never-ending rollout of genius products, like its Lid Lingerie, a super pretty sheer eye tint in the most delicate of shades, and Liquid Suede lipsticks. And whether you’re a goth girl or preppy debutante, there are plenty of colors for you to choose from.
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Photos by me!