Los Angeles Shopping Guide

Photo Source

Recently, a reader asked me for recommendations on where to shop for makeup and nail polish in Los Angeles, and while responding to her question, I realized this might be a useful post. Los Angeles has a lot of fabulous shopping options for the makeup lover – so here’s a guide to my favorite places to shop.  This guide is a bit skewed toward the Hollywood area, since that’s where I live.  Luckily, most visitors to Los Angeles are likely to visit this area, so it’s useful as well!

Sephora: There are nine(!) Sephoras within 10 miles of me, but two in particular I would recommend as being bigger, better, and carrying more brands than the others (including Illamasqua, Becca, etc). One is located at Hollywood & Highland (right in the heart of Hollywood), and the other is located on the Santa Monica Promenade.

Nordstrom: There are lots of Nordstrom stores in LA, but the best one is located north of LA – Nordstrom Topanga, at the Westfield Topanga Mall. It has alllll the luxury makeup counters, including Burberry, Cle de Peau, and Le Metier de Beaute. Like most Nordstrom stores, it also has brands like Guerlain, Armani, NARS, MAC, Shiseido, and many, many more.

MAC Pro: Los Angeles has a MAC Pro store, located at 133 North Robertson Blvd. My favorite Pro products are the sculpting powder and the chromagraphic pencil in NC15/NW20. Temptalia has a list of all Pro products here.

Make Up For Ever Boutique: The MUFE store is about half a block away from MAC Pro, at 132 South Robertson Boulevard. They have all the products (Sephora does not, I believe), and you can take makeup lessons. I wrote about my experience here!

Purchases from Nigel Beauty

Nigel Beauty: I cannot rave about Nigel Beauty enough! Located in North Hollywood, it carries a variety of theater brands, MUFE, Kevyn Aucoin, Ellis Faas, OCC, the entire Inglot line, and SO MUCH MORE! Great prices, great store. I can spent hours there; it’s makeup heaven.

Naimie’s Beauty: Also in North Hollywood, Naimie’s is on my to-check-out list. Update: I’ve been there now, it’s fabulous too. GO!

Nail Supply stores: There are three major ones located in Chinatown, which is in downtown Los Angeles: Starlight Nail Supply, Skyline Beauty Supply, and Hollywood Beauty Supply. They all sell deeply discounted nail supplies, including polish – prices are around $3.50 for China Glaze, $4 for Essie, and $5.50 for OPI. They also tend to get collection really early.

Little Tokyo: Also in downtown LA, Little Tokyo has a couple stores that sell Japanese and Korean products.  Prices are about the same as you’d find online – or even a little higher – but it’s fun to browse. My favorite stores are Maneki Neko and Make Asobi; I wrote about both of them here.

Purchases from Little Tokyo

Purchases from Little Tokyo

Ulta: I don’t actually recommend the Ulta’s near me; they have less selection than Sephora, higher prices than nail supply stores, and really nothing special at all. But, they are the only way to find Essence products and the easiest way to find NYX products (some small stores sell NYX, but it’s hard to find). The one in Burbank is better stocked than the one in Hollywood.

Target: I generally prefer drugstores to Target; Target has lower baseline prices, but drugstores have better sales. But, some (not all) of the Targets in Los Angeles sell ELF products in-store.  The Hollywood Target does have ELF products (and the Ulta I don’t like as much is right next door).

Drugstores: I love drugstores! If you’re from the US, a Los Angeles drugstore is not going to be different than your drugstore at home, but if you’re an international traveller, definitely make some time to visit a couple drugstores. I like Rite Aide; it’s a bit cheaper than CVS, which is a bit cheaper than Walgreens. Make sure to sign up for the rewards program at any drugstore you go to – the programs are free, and the sales only apply to members.

As of December 1, 2012, Walgreens opened a flagship store on the corner of Sunset & Vine. It is open 24 hours a day, and has midrange brands like theBalm, Cargo, Pop Beauty, Beautyblender, and several skincare/bodycare brands like Nuxe, Avene and La Roche Posay. It also carries Gosh (a Danish brand that just recently hit the US) and normal drugstore brands (including a very limited selection of ELF). It’s definitely worth a visit! I have a post on that store here.

If you have any suggestions for places to add to this list, please let me know in the comments and I will update the list.

You can also check out my online shopping guide for all things beauty related here.

  • Hi fellow LA person! 🙂 I’m new to the area so I was checking out your list…you should add the new NARS boutique on Melrose to your list! And check it out if you haven’t already. 😉