Photos by Eliesa Johnson
Nordstrom's new cosmetics department
Go ahead, touch the merchandise at Nordstrom Ridgedale’s open beauty department.
For many Gen-Xers like myself, those early trips to the beauty counter were a rite of passage. Mine undoubtedly involved white lab coats and plunking down babysitting money for a pressed-powder compact. Later, as a perky downtown professional, I would return my M.A.C. lipstick empties to Marshall Field’s in exchange for a complimentary new tube. Mind you, this was in a land far, far away, before there was a little store called Sephora or the bazillion beauty e-tailers we enjoy today. Now, it’s NBD to load up your shopping cart with the latest skin care craze or help yourself to foundation testers.
Right on trend, Nordstrom has been transitioning its beauty departments to an open shopping concept. Gone are the glass counters and cases. At the new Ridgedale location, open shelving allows guests to help themselves. There’s no waiting and no awkwardly asking a fresh-faced 22-year-old about how to get rid of your wrinkles—unless you want to.
In signature Nordstrom fashion, service still remains front-and-center. Beauty consultants are always hovering nearby, fragrance experts are ready with a spritz.
The big box has also anticipated customers’ needs and questions with help-yourself sampling, grab-and-go travel sizes, and curated end caps to help navigate makeup primers or decipher which mascara is right for you. The real beauty of Nordstrom’s open concept, however, is how much more fun it is to play with products when no one’s watching. My guess is that we’ll be buying a lot more that way, too.
For a more customized shopping experience, Nordstrom Ridgedale’s beauty stylist, Andi, is available for complimentary consultations and “cosmetic wardrobing.” You can even text her. An expert trained across all brands, she was lovely enough to share a few of her current favorites:
Estée Lauder Advance
Night Repair ($16 to $92)
“I was late to the party on this antiaging serum, but there’s a reason it’s a customer favorite. It’s fabulous.”
Bobbi Brown Long-Wear
Gel Eyeliner ($25)
“I wouldn’t go anywhere without it. Black looks good on everyone.”
“For any issues with lipstick flaking, this smoothing base lip primer is a must.”