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Chicago?s grand-dame department stores have fabulous cosmetics departments. But sometimes, we like test out lipsticks in a low-key environment--one that lacks salespeople pushing perfume samples. And we consider it a particular win when we stumble upon a new, small-batch brand (or a rose-scented face balm from France). If you feel us, seek out the hidden beauty sections at these local boutiques.

Diptyque: The Parisian brand is best known for its beautifully scented candles (the Feu de Bois seriously smells like a cozy fireplace). But did you know that its Bucktown shop has a small selection of on-point skincare? Shout-out to the Nourishing Cleansing Balm, which kept our skin soft through this year?s brutal Chicago winter.
1645 N. Damen Ave.; 773-252-3989 or

Space519: On the fifth floor of the Shops at 900 North Michigan, this ?refined general store? beckons with, well, just about everything. (And that includes golden rain boots.) The apothecary section carries goods from international brands, for both men and women. For fall, store owners Jim Wetzel and Lance Lawson love RMS Beauty?s Royal Lip Shine. It?s blue, but the gents swear it?s universally flattering. #intrigued
900 N. Michigan Ave., Level 5; 312-751-1519 or

Madison Hall: Space519?s sister store, Madison Hall, also has a great selection of beauty goods. Along with everything from Swedish raincoats to fresh-cut flowers--yep, owners Wetzel and Lawson love variety--find products from labels like Santa Maria Novella. The Florentine line makes a killer rosewater facial spray, and its Angels of Florence cologne smells like a Mediterranean garden in full bloom (or so we assume).  
71 E. Madison St.; 312-683-9586 or

Asrai Garden: Like an enchanted garden with a dark side, this edgy florist displays dusty purple roses and dahlias amid dark walls and taxidermy. Along with flowers, look for beauty goods from rarely seen lines, such as Little Barn Apothecary. Its all-natural products include Jasmine + Ocean Water hair texturizer. Yep, that?s how you get beach hair in Chicago.
1935 W. North Ave.; 312-782-0680 or

Una Mae's: This hipster-approved shop sells clothing for men and women (included: ladies? ranger boots and floral kimonos). In the apothecary section, find body products with attitude, including bourbon-scented body wash from West Third Brand.
1528 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 773-276-7002 or

Humbodlt House: Between its midcentury bar carts and cool wall hangings, this Humboldt Park shop has something we sort of need for every room--including the bathroom. The in-store apothecary slings hand-cut soap ?stones? we?d totally put out to impress party guests; when the entertaining is done, we?d unwind with an all-natural herbal bath soak from Hidden Folk.
1045 N. California Ave.; 312-785-1442 or

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