Luxury Label Cosmetics

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Apothecary carries more than meds

Oh, how heartily pharmacist Erica Kahn and I laughed at how often the "ball of cheese trick" works ? NOT! If you're not sure what "trick" I'm referring to, here're two clues: pill and pet. If you still don't know, you either don't have a pet, or else you've never needed to bamboozle one into swallowing a pill: Hiding the med in a nice soft mound of cheese, among other savories, is a time-honored technique to fool Fido or Fluffy into compliance.

Personally, I don't know anyone whose cat didn't wise up by the second serving and start scarfing the food, spitting the pill ? and going on an all-claws-out defensive. To the rescue: The venerable Apthorp Pharmacy, at Broadway and West 78th, which can create irresistible grilled chicken or beef flavored meds ? as just two examples ? as well as compound them into all kinds of delivery systems. Are you crying tears of joy and relief upon learning this? No more drawn blood! (I mean yours, of course.)

Lest you think only animals get treated so royally here, Erica says that "we do all kinds of compounding, for humans and animals." So keep this place in mind for hard-to-medicate bipeds, too.

The pharmacy's beyond-the-norm prescription services are just one of Apthorp's many calling cards. If you dread department-store treks for luxury label cosmetics and toiletries, be advised that here you can find a wealth of brands not traditionally stocked outside those big commercial-district stores. A small smattering of names includes Shiseido, Darphin, Floris and Erno Laszlo.

What's really newsy about the Laszlo products, savvy staffer Thelma tells us, is that not only can you find them here, you won't be able to find them anymore at the department stores, even if you were willing to keep schlepping to them.

"A lot of people were happy and surprised to find we carry it," she says. "But we've carried it for a long time." So wake your low-information neighbors and tell them to get with the program.

Pioneering Dr. Erno Laszlo long enjoyed a large and loyal clientele for his products, including some folks you may have heardof: Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and Jackie O, as well as current customers who say they've been lifelong users ? and look extraordinary, says Thelma.

She pointed out two popular Laszlo offerings: First, the Sea Mud Deep Cleansing Bar (5.3 oz., $40), an onyx-color bar of natural ingredients formulated to not only cleanse, but to exfoliate and smooth ? helping rid skin of those pesky blackheads so prevalent in summer heat and humidity.

Also a hot-seller: Laszlo's Hydraphel Day Cream (1.7 fl. oz., $85), a super-rich "calming" moisturizer with botanical extracts and a broad-spectrum SPF of 15.

Speaking of sun protection, here you will also find a wide array of products to protect your skin from that ol' devil sun. Standout among them: La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL 30 and 50 SPF in the difficult-to-find French-made formula that we're told, unlike other versions, has the fullest complement of ingredients; $50 and up, depending on size, naturellement.

In more quotidian goods, there's a fine selection of deliciously fragrant bars of soap from such makes as Panier des Sens (check out Fresh Milk, $6.95); Mistral (Coco Lime, $8.50); and Nesti Dante (Olive and Tangerine, $10).

By the way, happy birthday, Apthorp ? you don't look a day over your real age of 103! Must be using your own products?

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