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The Curated Guide to Clothing Store Beauty Aisles

I am a self-proclaimed makeup and skincare enthusiast. Taking a peek into a beauty megastore like Sephora is always a dangerous game to play with me. It takes so much self-control every time I walk past the lovingly nick-named “Aisle of Doom” with its seemingly endless assortment of mini beauty products that I’m too nervous to buy in full-size.

When I want to dodge my primal instinct to buy, well, everything, I tend to visit some of my favorite clothing stores’ beauty aisles instead. They’re always less overwhelming, which makes it much easier for me to keep my hand off my wallet. I also love how convenient it is to simply walk into a store and have everything I need clothing-wise (and want make-up wise) all in the same place. Let me introduce you to a few of my favorite products that I’ve discovered in the small, but might beauty section in some of my favorite stores.

1. & Other Stories

Credit: &Other Stories 

I’m a big fan of dual-purpose products. This plum tint doubles as a lip stain and a creamy blush that melts right into your skin. This light-weight tint will give you that perfect “someone just gave me the sweetest compliment” glow while pulling your entire makeup look together. This dynamic duo is definitely a low maintenance routine game-changer. 

I typically buy most of my nail polishes on my way out of CVS, but I recently discovered the magic in a bottle that is & Other Stories’ polish. These long-lasting beauties come in an array of gorgeous shades, including this deep emerald called Argyle Valley

2. Urban Outfitters 

Credit: Urban Outfitters

Urban is known for its trendy, hipster-chic wears, but what they should be known for is their incredible beauty aisle. They’ve got all of the glittery eyeshadows and aesthetically pleasing packaged products you could dream of, and then some. I always make a bee-line to their Mario Badescu skincare shelf because it’s always fully stocked with this amazing brand’s latest products in cute travel-size packs. This face mist trio will hydrate your dry winter skin, combat redness, and study for your finals for you (if only). 

The new kid on the UO beauty aisle block is the store-exclusive brand, ohii, which makes products that look and feel fresh. The products are high-quality and are meant to highlight (not cover) your best features. Also, let’s just take a moment to appreciate the beautiful, minimalist packaging which deserves some kind of an award. While you may be tempted to buy everything from this brand, let me refine your search a bit and suggest trying their illuminating wake-up pen. This is another double-duty product that can be used to brighten your under-eyes or as a subtle highlighter … or you could just use it all over your face because it’s that pretty.  

3. Forever 21

Credit: Forever 21

I’m all for getting a bang for your buck, which is why this makeup brush set is so amazing. For starters, it comes with all five of the most important face brushes (blush, concealer, highlight, foundation blender, and powder). Secondly, they do just as good of a job as any expensive brushes. And lastly, they are rose-gold and black so they look super fancy. A brush set like this can go for 30-90 bucks, so this is quite the steal if you ask me. 

Lip gloss is having a Renaissance in the beauty world. Fight me all you want, but the truth is undeniable. To be honest, the childhood Lipsmackers-lover in me is screaming just a little bit. I love all sparkly lip products and this glossy trio is no exception. The bronze one is pretty unique and I can just picture pairing it with a deep red to get that old-Hollywood glamour vibe.

4. Madewell

Credit: Madewell

The masters of perfect-fitting denim have recently branched out into the curating the coolest beauty aisle out there. All of the products they carry are top-self worthy, including this lip tint by French Girl. It’s perfectly subtle and its shea butter formula hydrates your lips like a charm. C’est Bon!

My hands get super dry during this time of the year for obvious weather-related reasons. This orange-vanilla hand cream smells just as incredible as it is ultra-nourishing. I recommend getting two tubes of it: one for your bedside table and one for when you’re on the go.  

5. Anthropologie

Credit: Anthropologie

Picking a favorite beauty aisle is like asking me to pick a favorite Beatle; they’re all amazing for so many unique reasons (okay, fine, it’s a straight tie between John and George). But if push came to shove, I’d have to go with Anthropologie’s. First off, it’s one of the biggest and a majority of their products are all-natural which is always a win in my book. Plus, they always have great deals like this amazing Karuna face mask pack. Slip them into someone’s stocking, put them on with your friends at a holiday party/sleepover, or save them all for yourself. Admit it, you know you want to! 

On a more practical note, this natural deodorant is a staple in my beauty routine. If you’re skeptical of a deodorizing product that’s all-natural, then let me tell you from one skeptic to another that this actually works. I wear my vanilla-lemon scented one every day and no one has given me any weird looks, so I consider that proof enough that this deodorant is doing what it promises to do. 

If you underestimated retailers’ beauty aisles before reading this, I hope I’ve convinced you to check one out the next time you’re buying those shoes you’ve been eyeing for months. There are so many unusual and cool products in these curated sections that you wouldn’t typically find from beauty empires like Sephora or Ulta. That’s right, your shopping spree just got a whole lot more efficient and you have your favorite clothing stores to thank. 


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Emma is a senior at BU studying Journalism and Gender and Women's Studies in the College of Communications. She's originally from sunny Los Angeles, California. She is an avid fan of local bakeries and making oddly specific Spotify playlists.
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