ICHIMI COSME JUST OPENED UP IN THE EAST VILLAGE!
September 2016 Update: Ichimi was renamed Ume Cosme. All the old Yelp reviews for Ichimi are on Ume’s Yelp page: https://www.yelp.com/biz/ume-cosme-new-york.
Actually, this East Village gem of an Asian beauty shop “just” opened up 3 months ago on 9th Street between 1st Ave and 2nd Ave. But three months ago nobody was really in New York because holiday times are for LEAVING New York. Also, this store oddly closed at random hours during its infancy. I once came during its indicated business hours but it was inexplicable closed. At another time, there was a “be back in 5 minutes” sign like a message from a bad baby sitter.
So this past weekend, I was doing my best Gudetama impression in bed, on my back, one arm hanging over the bed, one arm rubbing my belly to keep the hangover nausea down, when Angela text-harassed me about doing a blog post on Ichimi Cosme. It’s only 6 blocks from my house. But I mean, 6 blocks is like crossing the Sahara when you’re in this state of mind! See the commitment I have to AB?
Behold the smug selfie in front of Ichimi. Not wearing makeup except for thin eyeliner so excuuuuse me for looking sm-ugly. See that giant pair of purrrrple catte ear headphones from Brookstone? My Pops got it for me. How kewl is my Pops? Btw, the ears become speakers if you press the wrong button. Be careful that you don’t leave the speakers on like I did, swanning around like the human equivalent of a noisy car with amplifiers, catching eye rolls from strangers and snapping my head back.
The store front is tiny, as is the inside of the store. But as in any compact metropolis, small can pack a mighty punch. I don’t entirely remember what was here before (probably Think Closet which is some clothing boutique that gets all their stuff from South Korea) but now Ichimi is one of the focal points of my hood. It’s as if the Ark of the Covenant just fell next to Indiana Jones and he didn’t even have to go through all that trouble in Raiders of the Lost Ark. If that analogy is too old for you, you don’t need Asian skin care. Moving on…
Here’s a picture of the store front. As you can kind of see from the poster: there was some sort of Grand Opening promotion going on that I missed. You can also see that Gude and friends have been attempting to get in for some time now.
Upon entry you will immediately see a tall middle shelf displaying all the pretty Les Merveilleuses Ladurée things. Who actually buys this stuff is a mystery to me. While the blush is stunningly gorgeous, made of individual simulated rose petals, the rest of the stuff look like doll house make up. It’s like a pastel version of Anna Sui packaging, and just as plastic. At $155 for a container of blush, I would expect the container to be made of actual porcelain. I picked up the cheek brush because I would actually buy a quality brush for a Benny or more. This brush has a tiny head and the handle and ferule are plastic. Compare this sort of $$$$ to what you can get at Tom Ford and this stuff looks like child’s play, literally. Sighhhhh…
On the other shelves are bountiful assortments of skin care products. I spied 9-10 types of cushions, half of which I have not seen before (including the new Limited Edition OHUI x Teo Yang Ultimate Cover CC Cushion.) But I also am not as well-versed in Asian cushions as Angela. I also saw Koh Gendo and a couple of pretty high end cleansing oil/honey from Hacci, which specializes in honey. Mmmmm. The highly rated Albion Skin Conditioner is also here. I haven’t tried it but imagine it’s like a Japanese version of Cetaphil.
I saw in the middle aisle a collection of Laneige two-tone lip bars. This is relatively new and the selection is almost as good as what I’ve seen at Aritaum in San Gabriel, CA. Not sure if $28 is a great price or not but they sell for about $20 in Korea so I guess it’s not unreasonable mark up.
The skin care selection is great, with the majority being Japanese brands like Albion, HABA, SANA, and Kracie. I also swooned at the thorough lineup of The History of Whoo skin care products. Some Korean beauty product staples exist, but the store’s bread and butter is obviously Japanese skin care. There’s Innisfree and the holiday edition of the Sum:37 rose cleansing stick, but not a whole lot of Missha or Tony Moly if you’re into those Korean staples.
The shop is very well stocked with the new Mediheal + LINE Friends special edition masks. I squealed and dove right at LINE friends obviously. Sadly I think the LINE friends mask isn’t made to turn your whole face into CONY or BROWN. Still I relish looking at those funky animal friends with their hilarious round faces and expressions as I go about my beauty routine. There’s also a small selection of LINE friends phone holders and iPhone cases. I may or may not have bought those as well…
One strange thing I note at Asian cosmetic shops is that they always include some overpriced Western brands. In this case it’s Tocca but I’ve seen Crabtree and Evelyn and L’Occitane. But why? Why would I ever touch these dusty items when they are ubiquitous and have no interesting draw whatsoever? Why not just get rid of them and stock the entire shelf with horse oil hand cream??
Note the horses strategically placed right over the giant phallic Phyto Tree cucumber gel. Heh heh heh.
Of course being the pocrescophobic Asians that we are, there must be a shelf for weight-loss products. I initially thought they were heated bath salts and body balms until I saw the word “diet.” Hmmmmm…tempting. I miss my middle-school goal weight of 70 lbs.
And to serve as foil to the above diet shelf, the front right of the shop has a shelf dedicated to rare sweets from Japan. My absolute favorite is on the bottom right: Shiroi Koibito (白い恋人, literally “white lover“) cookies from Hokkaido. This box has both milk and white chocolate, but the best is the Langue de chat cookies with white chocolate cream centers. $31 which isn’t cheap. BUT SO DAMN GOOD.
Summary of my trip to Ichimi Cosme:
It is the best way to spend a Saturday afternoon, even when you’re hungover. The salesgirl was super nice and friendly and let me take all the pics I wanted after I asked (explaining that I
am a very famous celebrity blogger will post on social media and Yelp.) We discussed at length what’s on trend and what additional items she should stock (like Canmake, LINE friends from Missha, and Gudetama knick knacks.) Upon my departure, she gave me a free sheet mask and 4 HABA deluxe foil packets of samples (I spent $97, half of which was on cookies and a LINE iphone case.)
I’ve already posted this on Instagram but here’s the haul. The Honeyce Juicy Spa set is totally new and only seen in LA prior to this trip to Ichimi.
friendly staff who don’t try to meddle too much but are helpful when needed. Reasonable prices (mark up may vary as in all of these Asian cosmetic stores but I didn’t see anything too exorbitant and offensive)
limited selection of Korean beauty stuff, although the salesgirl was very receptive about getting more stuff in, especially the new LINE + Missha collab.