By Betsy Aaron
I live in a great Brooklyn neighborhood. If you’ve seen HBO’s “Bored to Death,” (“The Gowanus Has Gonorrhea” episode in particular,) or “In Treatment,” and are in the know, you’ve caught many subtle references to my happening hood. It feels like a small town elsewhere and, other than seeing Manhattan friends who still won’t cross the bridge, attending client meetings, having my teeth seen to and looking at art, I rarely need to leave. We have a good farmer’s market, a cheap cinema, BAM, restaurants that I prefer to those in the city, the best yoga teachers I’ve ever had within walking distance and just the right boutiques for basics and binges. From an isolationist POV, I thought it was the beginning of the end when a Barney’s Coop popped up just in time for the hols. But now that the indie natural beauty shop Shen is here, the quality of life in the hood is back in balance.
Shen is a delightful, exuberant yet serene shop on Court Street – inviting and seductive with an intriguing and exotic selection of admirably packaged products at every price point for people of all ages and genders. Step inside and you will discover brands from around the world, most of which are currently available exclusively at Shen. If you crave the temporal uplift of a frou frou indulgence you can definitely find it but mostly what’s in stock are sensible, natural products that are conceived to enrich your life on a daily basis.
Perhaps the best product I’ve thus far had the pleasure of sampling is Amanda Lacey’s Cleansing Pomade. It’s a spa in a jar: emollient, lubricating, mildly exfoliating, somewhat mentholating, lightly scented, a wonderful way to end the day. It removes all traces of makeup and soothes and renews, leaving your face perfectly primed for night cream and sweet dreams.
And speaking of night cream, I tried Lubatti’s Dreamy Night Cream. The mango and avocado oils give it a scent that is appealingly fruity. It’s easy to use, not overly goopy and is readily absorbed. You’ll wake up looking smooth, radiant, refreshed and ready to board the F– if you must.
Nora Ephron, always insightful about the quotidian, remarked that among the things she will not miss upon passing is the chore of nightly makeup removal. These products transform that nocturnal ritual into a rewarding, sensuous and meditative way to end the day.