By Bahar Takhtehchian

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It wasn’t until after I finally stepped foot into Takashimaya (I walked past the entrance TWICE because the storefront is so unassuming from the outside) that I realized I don’t know as much as about beauty and makeup as I once thought I did.

Even though I was focused on scoping out Takashimaya’s expansive beauty selection, I had a hard time avoiding the exotic-smelling candles and beautiful orchids and plants on the first floor – there are six in total. The high-end Japanese store sells everything from room sprays and jewelry to bedding, furniture, art and chocolates. Who knew!

I rode the fancy elevator up to the sixth floor and entered an airy, open space stocked with exotic fragrances, candles, makeup and skin care products. The ambience was incredible – subtle lighting, big windows, lovely chiffon curtains that draped along the floor.

As I walked the perimeter of the room I realized something: I didn’t recognize about 80 percent of the brand names. The only companies I was familiar with were Fresh, Jurlique and Shu Uemura. Hmmm.

Thankfully a number of friendly and well-informed salespeople were on hand to assist me with my questions. In addition to being totally informed and inquisitive in all the right ways, they weren’t the least bit pushy and didn’t mind that I left the store empty-handed.

As my trip to Takashimaya confirmed, I still have a lot to learn about the beauty world, but below are some brands that piqued my interest. And while I’m more of a Sephora girl (Lorac and Dior, anyone?), I’ll definitely make a return trip to Takashimaya for the sake of educating myself, and of course, for the opportunity to try one of the more than 40 varieties of tea in their basement level café.

Brands worth a second look: Babor, Bonnie Holmes, Nouba, Kanebo, Cle De Peau, ViseArt and Sensai.

Takashimaya is located at 693 Fifth Ave. 54th St. For store hours, call (212) 350-0100

Originally published March 2007



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