Like any beauty lover, Sephora is my happy place. It's where I go to find inner peace, calm, and about a million new lipsticks.

So when I realized that the biggest Sephora in the US was not just in New York, but five minutes from my office, I knew I *had* to go. Hell, I needed a new dark tinted brow gel, anyway.

And not only was it an all-caps EXPERIENCE, I literally ran in to one of my beauty idols. Yes, there's a makeup celebrity at the end of this story.

Here's what it's really like to shop at the biggest Sephora in North America.

But one does not simply walk into a huge Sephora. First you have to navigate through some truly spectacular NYC crowds.

biggest sephora in nyc
photo: Alle / Revelist

The store is located at 112 34th St., right in Herald Square — so you have to fight to even GET there.

Even though I genuinely HATE crowds — and having my feet stomped on by people who can't cross the road — I knew that Giant Sephora would be my reward.

alle connell selfie
photo: Alle / Revelist

Finally, I reached The Promised Land.

sephora nyc
photo: Alle / Revelist

And this Sephora was absolutely as advertised: It is MASSIVE. It goes on forever!

biggest sephora nyc
photo: Alle / Revelist

Some stats on the store, per Sephora: 11,300 square feet (a terrifying amount of room for New Yorkers accustomed to pocket-size spaces); over 13,000 products in store. Specialized skin care, makeup, and fragrance-finding tech; brands that you can't find in any other store.

And celebrity makeup artists, who you might just find shopping next to you. But I'll get to that.

I was overwhelmed — both by the sheer size of the store, and the number of people everywhere. But it got easier to navigate as I figured out the general layout.

biggest sephora 34th st
photo: Alle / Revelist

The store is roughly divided into thirds. At the front of the store nearest the doors is the makeup section. The center of the store is dedicated to skin and hair care (as an aside, this store has the largest selection of hair products I have ever seen at a Sephora). At the very back of the store is fragrance.

Once I got my bearings, I was like, GET IN LOSERS WE'RE GOING SHOPPING.

alle sephora
photo: Alle / Revelist


I began in the makeup section, which has a BUNCH of cool features — like multiple pro stations where you can book time with Sephora artists.

sephora 34th street
photo: Alle / Revelist

The lighting in those mirrors was truly supreme, btw.

There's also this cool complexion-matching tech called ColorIQ. A Sephora employee scans your skin with a Tricorder-looking device, and the program gives you a Pantone skin shade — AND tells you all the foundation, concealer, and powder options that perfectly match that shade.

colorIQ pantone sephora
photo: Alle / Revelist

I wasn't able to try it at this store, because everyone was SO BUSY, but I have tested it in the past and it's really neat. They can even attach your ColorIQ Pantone shade to your Sephora VIB account, so it's always on file and can be updated whenever you want!

But let's talk about the makeup. There are so many brands at Giant Sephora that aren't carried in stores anywhere else, like Natasha Denona.

natasha denona sephora
photo: Alle / Revelist

Velour Lashes are also available in store.

velour lashes sephora
photo: Alle / Revelist

You can get these on Sephora's website, but I've never been able to hold them in my hot lil hands until now.

There's a full line of Surratt makeup, which I've only ever seen IRL at SpaceNK.

surratt beauty
photo: Alle / Revelist

Surratt is a makeup artist favorite, and given the crazy crowd I saw gathered around these shadows — I had to elbow my way in to get this shot, no joke — it's DEFINITELY one of the most popular.

Black Up has a MASSIVE display near the front of the store, which is awesome.

black up sephora
photo: Alle / Revelist

Black Up is a line specifically designed for women of color, and while it's all available online, it's awesome to see it IRL. Everyone wants to test awesome makeup, not just white people!

I found multiple Huda Beauty displays — but had to work for it.

sephora huda beauty
photo: Alle / Revelist

Huda doesn't have a single display that I could find; her liquid lipsticks were on an end cap with other liquid formulas, and her lashes were across the store. But they exist!

You can also find extended lines of your existing favorite brands. This is the first Sephora I've ever been in that has the new NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencils colors.

nars sephora
photo: Alle / Revelist

Up until now, I've only seen these beauties at NARS counters and online. This is my favorite matte lipstick formula, and I was delighted to swatch some of the new, darker colors.

There's also the complete line of Anastasia Beverly Hills lipsticks and glosses, EVERYTHING Kat Von D Beauty has ever released — including the Alchemist palette! — and the biggest Milk Makeup display I have ever seen.

Yr fave could NEVER.

And I was delighted to see my girl Vlada Haggerty's work front and center on the Smashbox display.

vlada haggerty smashbox
photo: Alle / Revelist

Vlada is one of the most creative — and kind — people in this industry, and I am THRILLED to see her getting the recognition she deserves.

Pro-tip: Because this store is insanely busy, a lot of the "cool" products LOOK like they're sold out — but they aren't!

sephora 34th st
photo: Alle / Revelist

For example, practically every holographic highlighter in this store looked like it was out of stock — there was a tester in the product bay, but no boxes behind it.

Don't despair. This Sephora store has LOTS of stand-alone "trend" risers spotlighting multiple brands. Though the Milk holographic highlighter stick and CoverFX drops were sold out in their respective sections, there were plenty of both to be found right here. These risers can be hard to find, but fortune favors the persistent.

That said, I couldn't find any dark tinted brow gel — and the employees were so swamped that nobody could help me. Sad face.

Next, I went further back into the skin care section, took a quiz about my face, and the Sephora computer gave me personalized product recommendations!

sephora skincare quiz
photo: Alle / Revelist

The quiz itself was really simple, so if you're looking for a little guidance, this is a great resource.

There's also a ton of skin care brands here that aren't usually seen at Sephora, like La Mer.

sephora la mer
photo: Alle / Revelist

My favorite skin care brand, Dr.Jart+, was also represented in full. Gone are the days of finding one or two moisturizers on the shelves — this is the full line!

alle sephora
photo: Alle / Revelist

I love these creepy masks, in case you've forgotten.

You can even buy special silk pillowcases that promise to baby your hair and face, if that's your jam.

slip pillowcases sephora
photo: Alle / Revelist

I've definitely never seen these IRL before.

Allllllllllll the way in the back — the least crowded part of the store — is the fragrance section. And it is EPIC.

maison margiela perfumes
photo: Alle / Revelist

Not only does this store have the full line of Margiela Replica scents — not just the two or three most popular bottles, like in most stores — it even has the candles. THAT'S excellent.

In addition to having the nicest, most knowledgable staff, the fragrance section also has the complete line of Jo Malone perfumes — a 34th St. exclusive.

jo malone sephora
photo: Alle / Revelist

I love Jo Malone perfumes because they're glorious — but it's hard to shop online for scents. Being able to go and test them out, without going all the way across town, really made for a nice shopping experience.

And if you're the type of person who doesn't know a tuberose from a Bulgarian rose — and I count myself among you — you can use Sephora's FragranceIQ system to help find your perfect scent.

sephora frangrance 34th st
photo: Alle / Revelist

All you do is answer some easy questions about things that you find appealing ("A walk through a blooming garden"), when you're likely to wear perfume ("Every morning for a confidence boost"), and how powerful you want your perfume to be ("When people get close to me"). It then spits out the general perfume family you're most likely to be into — it told me I liked BOLD FLORALS, which is accurate — and suggests some fragrances instore that you can go try.

I shopped 'til I dropped, but then beheld the checkout line... and my heart sank. The wait can be EPIC — but I found a clever trick to get around that.

sephora line
photo: Alle / Revelist

This line was honestly 40 people deep, and I was genuinely wondering whether I wanted ANYTHING that badly... and then an employee called anyone paying with credit or debit into another, wait-free line. Instead of standing around for an hour, I was checked out in three minutes flat.


I didn't get my tinted brow gel — aka, the ONE thing I went in for — so I did a final lap of the store. I was idly considering getting clear gel instead, when I realized the woman standing next to me looked AWFULLY FAMILIAR.

alle revelist
photo: Alle / Revelist


pat mcgrath
photo: Pat McGrath / Twitter

Even though I've interviewed Pat in a professional capacity, I admire her so much that I freaked the hell out and hid to take creepy photos of the back of her head.

pat mcgrath sephora
photo: Alle / Revelist

Pat, if you or your crew saw a terrified-looking woman scurrying away while hyperventilating, hi! I couldn't handle my love and admiration for you!

Unable to say even one word to my idol, I ran out of the store. Another reason the 34th St. Sephora is cool — not only is it huge, it sometimes has industry icons just testing eyeliners!

I am useless in a civilian capacity. News at 11.

Here's what I bought at the biggest Sephora in the US.

alle sephora haul
photo: Alle / Revelist

I picked up a NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Endangered Red ($27, Sephora) — I LOVE the dark wine color, and the formula is beyond compare.

I grabbed a replacement Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz pencil in Granite ($21, Sephora) — the spoolie brush snapped off on mine, a design flaw that I'm not alone in experiencing.

And I picked up a bottle of Jo Malone Tuberose Angelica Cologne Intense ($120, Sephora), because I goddamned love a voluptuous white floral. I'm basic, don't @ me.

Though it's insanely crowded and I embarassed myself in front of one of my idols, the biggest Sephora in the United States is definitely worth checking out if you're a beauty junkie coming to NYC.

alle sephora NYC
photo: Alle / Revelist

I can't promise that YOU'LL be able to lose your shit while lurking on Pat McGrath, but you should definitely check out the 34th St. store when you're in Manhattan. It's an overwhelming, but totally unique, experience.

Even though I didn't get my brow gel. So it goes.