CoverGirl's first store shows what the future of makeup shopping might look like

Amanda Krause/INSIDERThe front of the CoverGirl store was still under construction at the time of my visit.
  • Beauty brand CoverGirl has opened its first-ever retail location in New York City.
  • I visited the two-floor store and was impressed by its wide range of makeup and apparel.
  • The store is full of new technology, including a virtual greeter and video booth.
  • While I’m not sure that I would frequently shop at the CoverGirl store, the stand-alone location features some promising assets and pushes the future of the beauty industry forward.

CoverGirl has come a long way since the brand was founded in 1961.

In 2017, the beauty brand made efforts to become more inclusive by naming 69-year-old model Maye Musk and actor Issa Rae as faces of the company, while also announcing makeup artist James Charles as its first official “Cover Boy.” That same year, the company announced that it would replace its “Easy, breezy, beautiful…” slogan with a new one: “I am what I make up.”

CoverGirl has not slowed down since. In November 2018, the company announced that its products are now 100% cruelty-free, certified by animal rights coalition Leaping Bunny. The brand also opened its first-ever retail location in Times Square, New York.

I took a trip to the store and saw how CoverGirl could be paving the way for the future of makeup.


In true Times Square fashion, the exterior of the CoverGirl store is covered in giant, light-up signs.

Amanda Krause/INSIDERThe largest sign is digital and rotates between these three images.

In a place like Times Square, CoverGirl’s black-and-white signs aren’t bright enough to make the store stand out from others in the area.

But because the location had only opened a few days before I visited, I could tell that work was still being done on the exterior. Blue masking tape lined much of the building, and people appeared to be working both inside and out.


I was greeted by a virtual woman named Olivia.

Amanda Krause/INSIDERShe didn’t speak to me, but smiled and nodded.

An employee informed me that Olivia is there to share beauty tips, give directions, or answer any questions. But while shoppers seemed intrigued by her, I wondered if anyone would choose help from Olivia over the many employees who walked the floor.


I was immediately impressed by the amount of foundation formulas that CoverGirl has to offer.

Amanda Krause/INSIDERFoundation is organised by type and colour.

Placed throughout two different aisles, I counted at least 10 different foundation collections in the store. From matte finishes to pigmented powders, there seemed to be an option for nearly every skin type.


But I had mixed feelings about CoverGirl’s shade ranges.

Amanda Krause/INSIDERNot every shade had a sample, but employees were more than willing to help.

One of CoverGirl’s most popular foundation lines, Trublend, is displayed under a sign that read “Find Your Perfect Match.” While looking at that specific line, I had no doubt that a large group of people could find a foundation to match their skin tone.

But not every foundation collection includes the same shade range. The brand’s Outlast All-Day Ultimate Finish 3-in-1 Foundation, for example, is only sold in eight shades.


While shopping for makeup, I took notice of the store’s cleanliness.

Amanda Krause/INSIDERIndividual wands were placed at every mascara stand.

I never try store sample products on my face, being wary of germs, and afraid of the possibility of catching an infection as a result. Instead, I’ll dab small amounts of makeup onto my wrist.

But I didn’t find myself as worried at the CoverGirl store, where mascara wands, lipstick applicators, and makeup wipes are never more than a few inches away from sample products. I could tell that precautions are taken to make sure that shoppers are as sanitary as possible.


Shopping at the New York location has its perks.

Amanda Krause/INSIDERThese makeup bags include two pouches attached by a strap.

Nearly every makeup product sold at the Covergirl store is also available through retailers like Target, Walmart, and Amazon. But in terms of accessories, the retail location is stocked with items that aren’t available anywhere else.

I specifically loved the New York-themed designs that depict a beauty-inspired skyline. Though the merchandise is likely aimed at tourists, I could still see myself using it.


Those in need of a new makeup bag have plenty of options.

Amanda Krause/INSIDERMany of the bags are transparent or covered in glitter.

Large beauty cases suited towards makeup artists are sold, as well as small pouches perfect for those on the go.


And the store’s range of accessories doesn’t end there.

Amanda Krause/INSIDEREvery accessory has the brand’s name or logo on it.

Brush cases, notebooks, and stickers are displayed alongside makeup throughout the store.


There are plenty of options for shoppers on a budget.

Amanda Krause/INSIDERMost of these items are priced from $US7 – $US10.

While nothing at CoverGirl is outrageously expensive, in my opinion, some of the accessories are a little overpriced – both small makeup pouches and tiny notebooks are priced at $US15.

But a small selection of more affordable souvenirs, including PopSockets, selfie lights, and hair ties, are available to purchase next to the registers.


Every inch of the store is inspired by beauty.

Amanda Krause/INSIDERMultiple customers stopped to take photos near this sign.

After checking out everything the first floor had to offer, I came across a black staircase leading to the next level. The walls shimmering with glitter and a giant sign that read “Glam This Way” made me excited to see what other products CoverGirl had in stock.


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Even CoverGirl gym clothes look chic.

Amanda Krause/INSIDERCoverGirl water bottles are sold alongside gym clothing.

One of the first sections I discovered on the second floor was stocked with CoverGirl-themed gym accessories.

It became clear that CoverGirl aims to promote beauty not just with its makeup, but through health and wellness in general.


But it’s also likely that the brand’s activewear could have something to do with its latest makeup launch.

Amanda Krause/INSIDERThe section includes everything from sports bras to tank tops.

Because the brand recently launched its Outlast makeup line, which is comprised of products that are said to last 24 hours and be sweat-proof, I wasn’t completely surprised to see gym clothes.

Similar to the store’s accessories, New York-themed options are available, as well as pieces that simply read “CoverGirl.”


I was more surprised to learn that CoverGirl has its own range of baby clothes.

Amanda Krause/INSIDERThe pink onesie is printed with the phrase: ‘Real boys wear pink.’

From rubber bibs that read “Makeup artist in training” to onesies printed with the “I am what I makeup” logo, CoverGirl offers products for even the youngest shoppers.


The second floor is an Instagram-worthy experience.

Amanda Krause/INSIDERGroups of tourists seemed to appreciate this couch.

Moving past the makeup and accessories, there are plenty of photo-ops and interactive elements throughout the CoverGirl store. One spot that shoppers particularly seemed to love is a grey and black couch covered in CoverGirl pillows.

Throughout most of my visit, the couch was occupied by groups of tired tourists who were waiting for their family members to finish shopping. But whenever the spot was free, people jumped at the opportunity to pose for a photo underneath the glowing CoverGirl sign.


Shoppers are able to test out makeup without actually trying any on.

Amanda Krause/INSIDERI tried the machine myself, picking up a lipstick that immediately appeared on screen.

During my visit, there were more than enough employees on staff to help customers try makeup. There is even a designated spot on the second floor where free 15-minute makeovers are given.

But because I had gone shopping wearing a full face of makeup, I decided to test out one of the store’s virtual beauty kiosks instead. Stepping up to the machine, which looked like a giant iPhone, I was instructed to choose a lipstick or eye shadow.

When I picked up a bright lipstick, I was shocked to see my lips go from a light nude to a bold pink on the screen. Unfortunately, I didn’t have as much luck with the eye shadow. I picked up a palette, but nothing showed up on screen.


Customers are encouraged to step into the store’s photo and video booth.

Amanda Krause/INSIDERThe machine is so big that I could barely capture it entirely in a photo.

In a statement sent to INSIDER, Ukonwa Ojo, the CMO of Coty Consumer Beauty, said that “the new store experience will allow current and new consumers to fully immerse themselves in a physical and digital beauty playground.”

“The Times Square Flagship Store is the next step in our ‘I am what I make up’ brand journey where we celebrate self-expression and inspire people to be whatever version of themselves they’d like to present to the world,” Ojo said. “Consumers will have the opportunity to swatch, test and play with our full product offering – all under one roof. We are confident that visitors will walk away excited by our brand and what we stand for.”


I’m not sure that CoverGirl’s new store is a necessity, but shopping there is fun nonetheless.

Amanda Krause/INSIDERCoverGirl recently rebranded its packaging.

Shopping at a store dedicated to the CoverGirl brand encouraged me to look at products that I usually overlook. The brand’s highlighters, for example, often get lost among the constant onslaught of new beauty launches, but testing the products in store made me question why I’d never used them before.

That being said, I’m not sure that I’d give up traditional drugstores or beauty retailers any time soon. While I enjoyed the CoverGirl store’s interactive elements and photo backdrops, I can’t see myself staying loyal to just one beauty brand.

The CoverGirl store was created with a focus on tourism and technology, and it excels in both of those areas. I’d recommend a visit to any beauty lover in the area, and am interested to see if the brand expands with more locations elsewhere.

Representatives for CoverGirl did not immediately reply to INSIDER’s request for comment.

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