N.Y.C. (New York Color)

N.Y.C. At-A-Glance

Strengths: Inexpensive; the mineral makeup holds its own against more expensive competitors; good finds for powders, eyeshadows, and lip glosses; several outstanding best buys, including lipstick, mascara, pressed powder, and brow pencil; most products are packaged so you can easily see the color.

Weaknesses: Some really inferior products; the makeup brushes really disappoint; the lip-plumping gloss is filled to the brim with potent irritants; limited options for foundation and concealer; several average pencils.

The N.Y.C. (New York Color) brand clearly wants to align itself with all of the excitement and pulsating action of the Big Apple—think Sex and the City or any of the notable fashion magazines whose home is in the heart of Manhattan. It would have been a clever marketing maneuver if New York Color had delivered, but despite a few stellar products, the line overall is comparatively tame and relatively ordinary. Sexy product names and beguiling makeup descriptions don't equal great makeup. Forget Sex and the City, this is more like a new Woody Allen film—a few surprises, but predictably familiar in the end.

The most appealing part of this line is rock-bottom prices; everything is less than $10, and several items are less than $3 (but that's still not as rock bottom at E.L.F., where $1 per item is standard). Although this isn't the cream of the crop for makeup, there are more than enough inexpensive okay options to make it worthwhile for you to check if it's being sold at your local drugstore. Just keep in mind that not everything N.Y.C. offers is "prestige quality" or the least bit fashion-forward. Put another way: New Yorkers are a notoriously tough group to please, and as a whole N.Y.C. doesn't do enough to make an on-the-go city girl slow down and see what she's missing. In fact, shopping this line without some advance information may lead to resounding disappointments, and that's never the goal. On the flipside, knowing what to zero in on will not only save you money, but also connect you with a product that stands a very good chance of leaving you wondering why anyone would pay more.

You're most likely to find N.Y.C. at Target and Rite Aid. Regrettably, testers are not available, but both of the aforementioned retailers have a good return policy if you save your receipt.

For more information about N.Y.C., call (800) 953-5080 or visit www.newyorkcolor.com.

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