It's been dubbed 'lipstick alley', this short strip of Auckland's Queen St now home to four major, and rival, make-up outlets.
The newest is Sephora, a French cosmetic giant which opened its doors eight days ago in a shower of confetti, blasting music and a queue of almost a thousand — some of whom waited overnight for first dibs on pop star Rihanna's Fenty Beauty palette or Marc Jacobs Beauty lipstick.
Less than 200m further up our biggest city's shopping street is Australian cosmetics retailer Mecca, whose biggest New Zealand store also opened to queues in the hundreds last September. The chain has a Mecca Maxima store , aimed at younger customers, metres away, where beauty junkies also camped out for its 2017 opening.
Across the road is national department store chain Farmers and 100m further up the street is 139-year-old Smith & Caughey's, both of whom have long chased the beauty buck.
The arrival in the busy shopping area of yet another cosmetic retailer, and especially one targeting younger consumers, is no surprise to Viva beauty editor Janetta Mackay.
"Queen St used to be called the golden mile, you could say it's turning into lipstick alley.
"Beauty is big. It's exploded over the last 10 years. It's very celebrity and influencer-fuelled. Things like online beauty videos, all of that's really taken off and what that's done is really opened up a new, younger market — millennials, Generation Z," Mackay said of those aged from teens to their late 30s.
"All these girls are getting into beauty as a form of self-expression. Although you can be a cynic like I am, I mean they're being heavily marketed to ... and as well as all those young, fun brands there's also the designer brands that have a touch of affordable glamour. That's what beauty is — affordable glamour."
Department stores were no slouches either, but their market was different.
"Smith & Caughey's, 20 years ago only a fraction of the downstairs was devoted to beauty, now it's two-thirds, and the Asian consumer will be really huge in Smith & Caughey's ... the same with Farmers, when they revamped a few years ago they put effort into beauty because it drives business."
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Sephora, Mecca and Farmers weren't able to respond before deadline, but Smith & Caughey's cosmetics buyer Lizzy Hyndman said the "explosion of social media beauty" meant consumers now demanded exclusive overseas brands be available here.
A growing beauty industry in New Zealand was exciting, Hyndman said.
"Each retailer has a point of difference to offer to consumers and there's room for us all in the market. At Smith & Caughey's we focus on luxury beauty offering ... paired with excellent customer service and unique eventing."
The beauty dollar extended beyond mid-Queen St, with M.A.C, Kiehl's, Chanel, Jo Malone and Bobbi Brown in the Britomart area, and a Christian Dior boutique planned next year in downtown Auckland, Mackay said.
"It's really taking off. Queen St is beauty street."
Beauty probably had better market growth than fashion, but that growth was eating away at some of the bigger brands, such as M.A.C, a disruptor brand itself when it arrived around 20 years ago, she said.
"They're now finding their market is being disrupted by younger brands that are good at using social."
Younger, multi-brand retailers Sephora and Mecca also brought rising global brands into New Zealand, some not previously available.
"[It's] the explosion of brand. Once, people went to the department store or the pharmacy and they tended to have a brand and they often stuck with it for life. Now it's much more experimental. It's akin to fast fashion, so it's much more trendy-fuelled than it used to be."
Make-up for many young users is a "massive form of self-expression", make-up artist and influencer Kasia Stanicich said.
"A lot of people — with the rise of YouTube you can learn a lot more — are using it as a bit of me time, they're using it in the same way most would use fashion, to express who they are.
"And for a lot of people it's still a massive confidence thing. That hasn't gone anywhere."
New brands and retailers meant people were constantly trying new products and trends, the 21-year-old, who has around 18,000 Instagram followers, said.
"Six months ago I wouldn't have ever thought people are wearing make-up so dewey it looks like it's dripping, but we are and it's just a trend and will be gone soon ... I'm watching [TV show] Stranger Things at the moment and I want that make-up to come back, and I know it won't be far away."
She wasn't surprised by the popularity of Sephora and Mecca with peers.
"With Sephora, it's very hyped ... I was in America when a Sephora opened and it's still hyped over there, and there's another just 500m around the corner."
People wanted overseas brands and, like her, they wanted to touch the product before buying.
It just wasn't the same for young people at the department stores, she said.
"They're just not as hyped. At Sephora you'll always leave with a bunch of free samples, or at Mecca, the music's blaring and it's just a bit of a community in a shop, which is really fun."
Beauty stores are a "grown up girls playground of colour", where women can experiment, learn and get good advice, BeautyEQ.co.nz editor Trudi Brewer said.
Most brands offered similar textures, finishes and scents for their products, so packaging was the key to success.
"If it's an insta-worthy product it gets attention, and online attention is what drives growth."
The influencer market had also changed how women shopped, with customers able to shop online via Instagram, but going to the store also had its lures too — including selfie-appropriate backdrops for wannabe influencers.
Most of all, "soulless purchases and simple transactions" were out and meaningful relationships, with great service offering experiences and connection, were in, she said.
Retailers also liked to be in an environment where there were other like-minded stores, something not exclusive to beauty, Brewer said.
"Queen St's become a luxury shopping destination with Gucci, Prada, LV ... and Commercial Bay [retail and office development] will also offer premium stores at the bottom of Queen St, which attracts the premium customer who wants the latest fashion and beauty buys."