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Urban Outfitters Is Upping Its Beauty Game

The retail chain now offers an unusual mix of Korean, color cosmetic and apothecary goods.

Urban Outfitters just opened its biggest retail store in the world, right smack in the middle of Herald Square in NYC. It houses a small bike shop, a coffee shop, a hair salon/barber called Hairroin (yes, really) and a beauty department bigger than most NYC apartments. (It clocks in at 1,500 square feet.)

While beauty has been an important part of Urban Outfitters's business for some time now, this huge brick-and-mortar showcase, as well as UO's expanded online product offerings, marks a new era in beauty for the somewhat-struggling retailer, perhaps as part of its longer term plan to "regain its fashion footing.

According to Laura Johnson, Urban Outfitters's executive director of women's apparel and accessories, "We're a lifestyle company. It's not just about the clothes -- it's about personalization. And beauty is a big part of that."

If you're a beauty junkie, particularly one who's looking for products no one else has, you're in luck. UO adds about 10 new beauty brands per month, and they're all generally indie, small-batch, artisanal brands. (Stila is the retailer's anchor "national" brand.) Also, if you've been itching to get your hands on some Korean beauty products, UO is now also officially the biggest U.S. distributor of Korean beauty brands, according to WWD

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I wandered around the store this morning, and the offerings are really impressive. They're also really fun. A good chunk of the color cosmetics -- which are a huge focus of the Herald Square store -- look like they double as toys. You can find everything in the store on UO's website

Johnson said that the brands she's most excited about showcasing are: Mizon (this Korean skin care brand made up a big portion of my 12-step Korean skin care regimen), newly-launched makeup line Ardency Inn, Korean color line Holika Holika, and apothecary brands Fig + Yarrow and Herbivore. Currently, Lime Crime's super-pigmented Velvetine lipsticks are one of the retailer's best-sellers, and Johnson noted that the category of  anti-aging and other skin treatment products has grown the most over the last few years. 

And did I mention how cute everything is? I leave you with this: