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Beauty Junkie London’s advice for shopping Macy’s style

December 23, 2014 | Shopping
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View of Macy's Union Square

I recently had the opportunity of a lifetime to combine THREE of my major loves in life together. I got to visit America (love number one), I got to shop (love number two) and I got to spend time playing with beauty products (love number three). Let’s just say I was one heck of a happy girl. It had been over 14 years since my last trip to the West Coast of the US. So whilst I have spent some time in New York (of course, visiting the Macy’s Flagship at Herald Square) I was excited to see what the store had to offer in another part of the country. Plus I did always have a feeling I may have left my heart in San Francisco when I visited as a teen...so was very excited to be going back.

Honestly, my first impression of the store was just how HUGE it was. It’s definitely the landmark building of Union Square which is very much a heart to San Francisco. I was lucky enough to be staying at the Westin St Francis, and in a room that overlooked both the store and the square as a whole. In terms of views, it was amazing. Plus it meant I got to check out the store from a whole different perspective!

So after having some time to explore the city and a little further afield in California. It was time to head to Macy’s to experience all things beauty. The Macy’s San Francisco store is very much a West Coast Flagship and the beauty hall is one of the most impressive I’ve seen. It has a really interesting mix of brands - there are many beauty halls that just stick to the typical ‘obvious’ brands. Which of course Macy’s was representing - but in addition there are some more unusual and unpredictable ones to be found in the mix too - like Inglot and Strivectin. The Inglot counter really caught my eye as it really does offer such a rainbow of colour!

When it comes to shopping in the Macy’s beauty hall I have a few tips and tricks to share:

Be Open Minded - Even if you know what you want, head to the counters with a bit of an open mind. I’m a beauty blogger and basically obsess over brands. Yet there’s always new things to be discovered and products I don’t know about. I would never expect to know it all, so it’s always to go in open minded as you may just discover a new shopping gem.

Spend Time Chatting To Staff - Believe it or not, they’re not just there to give you a generic sales pitch. They work in beauty because they love it too - ask them about what they love from the brand. If they answer ‘everything’, then maybe do take it with a pinch of salt. But ask what their favourites are or what they use every day. One, it’s quite fascinating to see what other people use and two, you might just find something you didn’t know about that works a treat for you too.

Make the most of the visitor discount - Little did I know that Macy’s actually offer a rather fabulous discount card. The card offers 10% discount on purchases (there are some restrictions but only a few). The discount can be added on top of existing sale purchases - I tried this when I bought a rather amazing coat that was in the sale at 40% off, then I got an additional 10% off! Some of the bigger stores (San Francisco included) have amazing Visitor Departments too that can help you as more than just a shopper. But they can sort you out with city maps and guides of places to eat/visit whilst there. They really are an amazing resource so don’t miss out. Plus… everyone loves a discount!

Don’t be afraid to ask for samples - A lot of the counters in beauty halls are selling pretty high value products. Foundations that are pushing $50 etc. It’s a fairly large amount of money to part with before you purchase. Sure, UK department stores can be a little guarded but I found US stores far more open to this. Just make sure you remember the name of the sales person who has been helpful to you when you do go back to make a purchase. Plus don’t take the mickey and ask for things you have no intention of buying!

Get a make-over - The number of the lovely members of counter staff I spoke to who said they’re more than happy to help people with a little post-work touch up or get them looking glam for a night out really surprised me. They said they don’t mind because it helps you experience the brand and if you get a look you love then you’re all the more likely to come back to pick up your favourite items! I for one discovered a few favourites on counter for a few brands!

My Macy’s Must-Buy Beauty List:

When getting chance to explore a selection of the various beauty counters in Macy’s San Francisco I picked up a few ‘must buy’ items that are now firm favourites of mine, including:

Laura Mercier Eye Bright Eye Basics - A pale blue primer for eyes. This stuff works WONDERS if you’re prone to red eyelids like I am. Instantly brighter and one I’m totally in love with. An essential if you maybe want to hide a lack of sleep at some point or just look perky!

Laura Mercier Bright Eyes

Chanel Les 5 Ombres De Chanel - The five shadow palettes from Chanel are a thing of beauty. When I visited the counter the lovely counter make-up artist George created a stunning smokey eye for me using the Oiseaux De Nuit palette. A mix of typical black/grey plus a pop of gold. It’s gorgeous and really made me want to do a smokey eye more often.

Chanel Les 5 Ombres De Chanel

The Benebrow - Ok, so this is more of a beauty service than a thing you buy. But you can’t not visit Benefit when in San Francisco - the quirky beauty brand started in the city and still very much has it’s roots there. They really do deliver a great brow look though so if you need to get yours tidied up then get yourself to the nearest Benefit counter and get your Benebrow on ASAP.

The Benebrow

I hope that helps you if you’re shopping Macy’s San Francisco or any of the Macy’s beauty halls! Just writing this has me wishing I was back in San Francisco. My other tip if you’re visiting the Macys’ Union Square Store - make sure you go hungry and head to The Burger Bar. Best. Burger. Ever.

About the Author

Meet Jen Riley

Jen started A Beauty Junkie in London in 2009 to combine her love of beauty with her craving for a creative outlet. Since then the blog...