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6 Picks from Barneys’ Beauty Guru

By Wendy Rodewald-Sulz / March 3, 2011


Barneys East Coast Beauty Guru Jason Ascher

Barneys New York isn’t just a place to salivate over PS1 bags and dreamily try on three months’ salary’s worth of Lanvin (just me?). The department store is also a major destination for beauty, from hard-to-find international brands - Koh Gen Do, Aesop - to familiar faves like Nars and Bobbi Brown.

Last week, I visited the store’s Madison Avenue outpost to meet Jason Ascher, Barneys’ East Coast Beauty Guru (that’s really his title!). Jason shared his top picks for this season, just in time to spring clean your own makeup bag. Here are six that stood out:


Lipstick Queen Jean Queen Lip Gloss ($18) - Brand founder Poppy King created this shade (also available as a lipstick) to wear with your go-to blue denim. The subtle, flattering pink makes faces look perceptibly prettier in a “I don’t need makeup” kind of way.

själ Orbe Eye Contour Cream ($175)  - The caffeine in this cream helps beat dark circles before you even apply concealer, Jason says. With a texture like buttercream icing, the peptide-packed formula with gold, silver, copper and geranium hydrates delicate skin and promises to reduce puffiness (I’m convinced it makes me look less tired).

Sunday Riley Modern Skincare Juno Transformative Lipid Serum ($125) - The dirty secret behind pricey skincare products is that lots of them are mostly water, mineral oil and fragrance. But this blend of skin-loving lipids is the real deal; it features 13 types of antioxidant- and nutrient-rich oils that absorb instantly into skin - with zero fillers.

Nars Blush in Douceur ($27) - Orgasm may steal the spotlight (blame the name), but it’s actually Nars’ soft pink-brown Douceur that’s "the perfect shade on almost everyone," Jason says.

KohGenDo Soft Gommage Gel ($40) - When the Guru described how this exfoliating gel sloughs off dead skin without scrubbing granules, I imagined a scary burning acid. But then I tried it, and it’s so gentle and unlike anything else. The mineral- and botanical-rich gel actually absorbs dead cells, making soft little pills that rinse off for instantly smoother skin. Truly amazing stuff.

Hourglass Retractable Foundation Brush ($42) - Jason's preferred foundation applicator won't leave behind brushstrokes; instead, its super-soft synthetic bristles press product into skin's peaks and valleys. And the retractable design is genius for tossing in a bag.

Beauty Guru Jason has tons more faves that you can sample in-store, like Chantecaille’s luxurious eyeshadows, Eve Lom’s easy AM cleanser and Sue Devitt’s travel-friendly mineral palette. And that cosmetics bag spring cleaning? Bring yours into Barneys where staff will work with you to pare down your products and fill in gaps with new ones you adore. You don’t even have to max out your card on Lanvin - unless you want to.