Is Urban Outfitters the Next Beauty Hot Spot?

Faith Xue

If we asked you to name the top beauty retailers in the country, one or two names might spring to mind. We’re going to go ahead and assume Urban Outfitters wouldn’t be one of them—but that might just change in the very near future. If you’ve stepped into a UO store lately, you’ll notice an expanding beauty section featuring a colourful collection of indie and mainstream beauty brands; cutely packaged skin savers from Korea; and wondrous, magical products with names like Unicorn Oil (more on that later). In fact, on a recent outing I took to the perpetually festival-ready clothing store, I was surprised to see some of my favourite beauty products proudly on display near the checkout line—products I’m used to seeing at luxe independent retailers like Space NK or Net-a-Porter, and also some products I’ve never seen before in my life. Ten minutes later, I was glued to the same spot, swiping, dabbing, and marveling over how good the selection of beauty products was before me.

“UO Beauty carries a wide range of products, from prestige brands to cult pharmacy finds,” senior beauty buyer Laura Zaccaria explains. “Currently, we carry over 150 brands, with 100 more new and exciting ones on the horizon.” That’s right—150. That’s on par with beauty giant Sephora, which—according to its Wikipedia page—carries over 100 brands. So, what sets Urban Outfitters apart from the pack? How does someone like Zaccaria select the brands and products this fashion retailer carries? And, most importantly, what little-known beauty products should we have on our radar right now? All of these questions and more will be answered ahead—keep scrolling to school yourself on this blossoming beauty hot spot.

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