By Janee Law
Sandy Oringer, owner of Sandy O’s Faces, a Cold Spring Harbor-based mail-order makeover service, has been a national, pioneering figure in the world of cosmetics for almost 50 years. With the help of a chemist, she formulated all-natural ingredients into makeup products.
Along with then business partner Lois Muller, Oringer cofounded “i” Natural Cosmetics, an all-natural ingredient make-up line, in 1970. The business took off, Oringer said, after its national debut was featured in Glamour Magazine. The article and an advertisement highlighted a $2 kit that included a strawberry cleanser, a grapefruit skin freshener, a lemon moisturizer and a vitamin E stick for lips.
“We had a little one room office in New York and the doorbell rang and there was a man standing with a big garbage bag,” Oringer said, adding that the man was a postman delivering a bag of letters spawned by the coverage. “There were hundreds of responses… and that put us in business.”
Oringer, of East Norwich, said that when they realized the letters were filled with $2 bills intended for purchasing the makeup kits. She and Muller threw the bills in the air in celebration of their product’s success.
Soon after, they were selling their products in 150 stores and then went public with the product and sold “i” Natural Cosmetics to Nutrisystem.
In 1975, Oringer went off on her own to start Sandy O’s Faces, part of which is the face by mail service, which involves the same all-natural makeup products as part of the step-by-step mail-order makeover service. Women would mail a photo of themselves to Oringer, who would send back a kit for their face, along with a makeup chart.
The mail-order service continues today as part of Oringer’s 500-square-foot business at 181 Main St. in Cold Spring Harbor. While Sandy O’s Faces specializes in all-natural application, it also offers one-on-one makeup sessions and teaching services, sells Oringer’s products and hosts group parties for celebrations like birthdays, bridal parties and proms.
“Clients should come to me to learn how to put on something appropriate for their lifestyle,” Oringer said. “They should feel comfortable knowing that, when they leave me, they’ll know how to do it themselves. The only time they’ll need me again is new colors and new color combinations.”
While prices for parties at $25 per person, wedding parties range from $50-$100 per person. Makeup lessons are $10. Sandy O’s products, such as foundations, blushes, powers, pencils, glosses, lipsticks and more, are also available at the store, or online at Sandyo.com.
Recently, Oringer started “On the Go! Take Sandy O!,” a mini make-up manual showing clients of all ages how to apply makeup in a natural way. It includes a free vitamin E stick.
“The products are fine and healthy and my main goal is to show them how,” Oringer said. “I really concentrate on making women feel comfortable with makeup.”
She added that with the proper use of makeup, a woman can look like a better version of herself and not somebody else.
“Makeup makes you feel good. If your face is done well and you feel good about yourself, it’s an uplift to how you handle your life,” Oringer said. “You act better and have pleasant interactions with other people when you feel good about yourself.”
Sandy O’s Faces
181 Main St., Cold Spring Harbor