Six Reasons to Skip Sephora and Shop at Beauty Collection Instead

Think cleanliness and hard-to-find products

These days, with the ever-expanding beauty eCommerce world, is anything truly a unique find? And, it’s never that easy to test beauty finds that are purchased online. I’ll always love trolling the aisles of Sephora for my standbys, but once I discovered Beauty Collection, Sephora fell to the wayside.

Beauty Collection is a hidden gem for beauy junkies who don’t like the bright lights and loud noises of mall beauty shops. Each of the freestanding Beauty Collection outposts–in Newport Beach, Calabasas, Malibu, and West Hollywood–feels like it caters to industry pros–not just to everyday consumers.

A fifth opens this Monday in Manhattan Beach. Beauty Collection has a highly impressive inventory of both niche and recognizable brands, and their web site sells even more products that you didn’t know you need. Want to cover that clever one-inch tattoo for work? The site has a nifty concealing set for you. Ahead, six more reasons to ditch Sephora, online beauty-shopping, and department store beauty counters and shop at Beauty Collection instead.

Natural lighting because the stores aren’t inside of malls, your foundation shopping won’t be a waste of time. The ‘too-light’, ‘too-grey’ or ‘too-orange’ situations happen all too often when I try on foundations, blushes, and concealers in the poorly lit aisles of Sephora and department stores. At Beauty Collection, I was able to stand right by the door and find an exact foundation match from Vincent Longosaving me the hassle of a return.

Luxury lines the retailer carries some pretty obscure lines that you’ve probably heard of but can’t seem to find and try on anywhere. My favorite counter to play at? By Terry. Rhonda Lipnicki (Cosmetics Manager at the Calabasas store) shares, “We can’t keep By Terry’s products in stock as it’s our #1 seller! Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie use the Terrybly Lip Pencil Rose Contour lip pencil ($33.50) paired with Baume De Rose Lip Balm ($53) for their perfect camera-ready nude lips. The black kohl eye pencils ($34) are a favorite because they never smudge and never look overly severe.” Because they are such hot sellers, they’re available in-store only. She was right–nothing smudged.

Exceptional cleanliness my OCD is going to come out here. Since I read about how one in five of Sephora’s makeup testers contains yeast, mold, and — brace yourself – fecal matter, I’ve never applied anything to my face. At Beauty Collection I didn’t see a single piece of used tissue, or any wayward sharpener shreds. The counters are kept spick n’ span clean and the consultants insist of personally cleaning testers with alcohol.

Hard-to-find and rare products nothing excites me more than finding beauty products that don’t come with a big-ticket tag. The Marvis Jasmin Mint Toothpaste ($10.50) allows me to indulge in my jasmine obsession and their artisanal, handcrafted soaps–like the cucumber-scented Nesti Dante Horto Botanico ($10) from Florence, Italy–make superbly elegant hostess gifts.

On-site aesthetician with the high turnover rate in retail, it was a genuine treat to chat with Valerie Solymosi, a 20-year-deep skincare guru who was trained by the team behind Natura Bisse and Omorovicza. Valerie offers spa-grade facials in a quiet back room, and plenty of product advice. She suggested Natura Bisse’s C+C Dry Oil Antioxidant Sun Protection ($63) for days when you don’t need to slather on a heavy SPF. It comes as a spray and can be tucked into a gym bag for a quick spritz

No pressure sales staff admit it–we all hate those commission–hungry sales staff breathing down our necks when we’re sniffing pricey perfumes. It’s just the reason I avoid trying on scents in department stores. Beauty Collection stocks many of the same luxury scents you’d find elsewhere, and the sampling experience is pressure-free. I left with Creed’s Spring Flowers ($185) as an early birthday gift–to me, from me. The exquisite floral fragrance is sweet and tender–it’s what “feminine” smells like.

50% off sales I never find major brands–think Dr. Hauschka and Fekkai–on sale. Especially at 50% off! In-store you’ll find products discounted so mind-blowingly, you’ll end up leaving with more than just the basics. Online right now you can score a free flatiron or blow dryer–a far cry from the free, piddly-sized night cream you’d get from most other retailers.