L.A.’S BEAUTY BUYS

Byline: Corina Garona

LOS ANGELES — When it comes to purchasing beauty products, women in Los Angeles seem to know exactly what they want and where to find their favorite items.
Several women, interviewed about their fragrance, bath and body products, and cosmetics shopping habits, professed loyalty to particular tried-and-true brands, and suggested that they would rather do their own shopping instead of turning to the convenient, alternative method of purchasing over the Internet.
Mary Leszkowicz, a 21-year-old receptionist, swears by one fragrance, Eternity by Calvin Klein. Although price is a consideration in her decision to purchase her perfume at major department stores, she is willing to shop “wherever it’s sold.”
Although she occasionally purchases fragrance items at major department stores, 18-year-old Adrian Klein is willing to explore smaller shops in order to find lesser-known scents that appeal to her: “I like to go to Robinsons/May, and if they don’t have selections there, I like to go to little stores and find perfumes that most people don’t have.” The price of a perfume is not an issue for Klein who confessed that “if it smells good, it’s good.”
Clinique’s fragrance and cosmetics line is the popular choice for some. Iranzu Pujadas, a student, said she turns to the Clinique counter to find Clinique’s Aromatic Elixir, as well as to purchase any makeup. Julie Travers, a 29-year-old administrative assistant, relies on Clinique’s cosmetics for practical reasons: “I’m really simple. I used to work for Clinique, so I still have a lot of products left over from them, and I like their products.” Travers also turns to Prescriptives’ for cosmetics products: “I like their quality and selection.” Michaela Trodden, a 27-year-old British flight attendant for Virgin Atlantic, makes a trek up to San Francisco in order to purchase cosmetics at her favorite shop, Sephora. “It’s just beautiful cosmetics. Oh, God, it’s heaven!”
Klein prefers to make most of her cosmetics purchases at Target, mainly because of their variety: “With Target, you can’t go wrong. Sometimes there’s a better selection [than in other venues].” Lately, however, she has found it increasingly difficult to find cosmetics brands in the store that complement her skin tone. She also likes MAC’s products, but dreads the occasional issue of product availability: “They discontinue [some products], and you’re so used to having the product and then you don’t have it.”
Trodden makes most of her bath and body purchases at Boots, when she is home in England. She chooses to shop there mainly because of the variety of their products: “There’s a wide variety of choices. You can get a range right from basic to expensive.”
Travers, who has a passion for soaps and body products, usually shops at Bath and Body Works, but makes occasional visits to Pier 1. Bath and Body Works is also a popular choice for Klein, who says she is willing to shop around in order to find better bargains.
Although most of the women interviewed did not have many complaints about product availability, many were quick to admit their tendencies to overspend on fragrances, bath and body products and cosmetics. When asked if her shopping habits had changed over the past year, Trodden admitted, “No, still spend, spend, spend.”
Leszkowicz had a similar response: “[My shopping habits] haven’t changed. I’m an avid shopper — usually the same spots.”
Despite our most recent technological advancements, and the emergence of the Internet as a resource for online shoppers, several women confessed that they preferred visiting stores in person rather than purchasing products off the web. Although some, consider themselves frequent Internet users and find it a valuable tool for purchasing clothing and accessories, none of these women has bought beauty products through the computer. When asked whether she has made any beauty purchases over the Internet in the past, Tram Nguyen, a 19-year-old student from UCLA, said she has been wary about Internet shopping: “No, I don’t [make purchases over the Internet], I’d rather go there [to a store] and see what I want. I’m afraid I might get scammed or something.”
Travers fears that personal information entered into the computer might get into the wrong hands: “I don’t know about putting my credit card on the Internet, whether I feel safe enough doing that yet. I’m sure that in the future I’ll try it, but I’ve heard some things and I’m not ready to do that yet.”
For now, women such as Nguyen and Travers are content shopping for beauty products without the convenience of the Internet.