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Sephora on Powell Reopens Today (Pace Yourselves, Beauties)

Photos: Sephora

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Holy smoky eye, Batman!

When Sephora Americas CEO Calvin McDonald said that every inch of the 8,500-square-foot Powell Street store had been renovated ("except for the great product"), he wasn't kidding. We know because we got to see for ourselves, and listen to Mr. McDonald kvell as he and key members of his team showed off the sparkling new palace of beauty yesterday afternoon. The store officially opens today at 10am.

The flagship, which has been closed and under construction for a bit less than a year, is the first location to debut the San Francisco-based company's new store concept called Sephora Beauty TIP (Teach, Inspire, Play) Workshop. "By fusing exceptional hands-on service and technology, we're creating a new experience that will teach and inspire while allowing clients to play with beauty," says McDonald.

The Powell Street makeover is a definite do. Beauty junkies, and anyone familiar with the old space (across from the Powell Street cable-car turnaround) will be blown away by the changes. Brighter, sleeker, way-tech-ier and seemingly less cluttered than before, it's hard to believe 13,000 products live here. This includes makeup, skincare, hair and body products, and fragrance from 12 new brands—among them Burberry Beauty, Maison Margiela Replica, Tom Ford Private Blend Collection and Too Cool For School.

We're most excited about newbie Chosungah 22, a fun Korean brand, currently only available at the Powell store (and online). We snapped up a tube of the label's signature Brow Maker (in Medium Blonde) after PRO Team makeup artist Miyesha Sewell swiped our arches with dreamy results. Her other reco for a nude lip went into the shopping cart, too.

No doubt, though, The Beauty Workshop is the biggest news and most essential to TIP; it's literally and figuratively the heart of the new store design. Here, 12 workstations serve as a classroom for clients who want to take a complimentary group beauty class (i.e. learn how to contour). Led by a Sephora educator, each class also employs video tutorials via the iPads that live at each station, along with all the products and tools needed for that day's lesson. Plus, The Beauty Board, Sephora's shoppable gallery featuring user-generated content, is projected onto a ginormous digital screen. Students are encouraged to take selfies of their fresh looks (no duck lips please) and upload for instant in-store fame.

With so many cool new things to explore, you just need to see, experience and smell for yourself. (Not to be missed: The new Fragrance IQ station with exclusive InstaScent sensory technology, whereby puffs of non-alcoholic fragrance are shot out of the device to be judged by your snozz.)

Oh case you were wondering, Sephora's temporary location in the SF Westfield Centre will remain open through the holidays and close some time next year. It's OK, we got our OG back.


33 Powell St, San Francisco, CA 94102 (415) 362-9360 Visit Website