When we usually think about travel beauty, it’s either the pre-vacay waxing/mani routine or the “how to fit all those bottles in a plastic baggie” debacle (or both). But what about a little shopping and TLC during the trip itself? Beauty retailers are upping the ante in cities across the country, with stunning flagship stores, customized services, exclusive products and unique shopping experiences. Check out these swoon-worthy boutiques that we think are worth the plane ticket — especially if you’re heading to New York City and Los Angeles.

Bite Beauty Lip Lab

1. Bite Beauty Lip Lab: Forever in search of the perfect lip color? Head over to the Lip Lab in New York’s SoHo neighborhood and Bite Beauty will find a shade that’s made for you… by literally making it for you. Each tube starts at $36, which isn’t that steep when you consider how much you’ll save on tossing out lackluster lipsticks.

Chi Nail Bar

2. Chi Nail Bar + Organic Spa: This Beverly Hills spot is where all the most glamorous celebs, like Jessica Alba and Solange, get their mani-pedis. It’s easy to see why with their pics of intricate nail art we can only aspire to.


3. Drybar: We’re sure you’ve mastered the art of the at-home blowout by now, but if you end up near one of Drybar’s locations on your travels (such as the original in Brentwood, CA), treat yo’ self. They’re all about the perfect girl’s day out: booze, blowouts and chick flicks.

Original Scent

4. Original Scent: They say smell is one of the strongest memory triggers we have, so you’re sure to leave a lasting impression with a custom-made perfume or cologne. Skip the usual airport offerings and instead create a signature scent in the Pasadena, Santa Monica or soon-to-come SoHo locations.

Violet Grey

5. Violet Grey: It’s all about old school Hollywood glamour in this Melrose Place boutique, where you’ll find carefully curated, high-end beauty products. If you’re looking to emulate one of your favorite leading ladies, this is the spot.


6. Caudalie: This natural, wine-inspired skincare brand brings some Bordeaux sophistication to its West Village and Venice locations. Both a spa and a retail store, each boutique features a Barrel Bar, where you can test products and receive a mini facial.

Saks Beauty on 5

7. Beauty on 5 at Saks Fifth Avenue: When you’re swooning over the fashion at Saks, swing up to the fifth floor to discover this new beauty bar. It combines services from cult favorites Blink Brow Bar, Trish McEvoy and Nails Inc.


8. Birchbox: Everyone’s favorite beauty subscription box now has a flagship store in SoHo! Shop the samples, build your own Birchbox, get a mini makeover and even take classes. It’s like the Internet IRL.

CO Bigelow

9. C.O. Bigelow: America’s oldest apothecary is still going strong after all these years in Greenwich Village. No need to swipe their shampoos and soaps from hotels anymore, because you can buy full sizes in the shop. And as if it couldn’t get any cuter, there’s a shop cat named Allegra <3

The Cos Bar

10. Cos Bar: Ski bunnies in Aspen can catch the buzz about this luxury cosmetics boutique before the Manhattanites get a flagship store this spring. Cos Bar has had a cult following for years, leading to more and more stores springing up around the country, and even appearing in some Target stores a few years back.


11. Murad: This high-performance skincare line’s first flagship opened in Los Angeles last fall, combining technology with colorful design. You get a customized experience complete with complimentary express services, YouthCam skin condition analysis and a custom regimen.


12. Benefit Cosmetics: You’ve probably seen Benefit’s Brow Bar in department stores across the country, but the company brought it back home to San Francisco with a downtown flagship that’s their biggest yet. We’re talking kid-in-a-candy-store level drooling here.

What boutiques do you consider a beauty mecca? Put them on the map in the comments below!

(Featured image via Birchbox)