Another Nature Republic k-beauty brick and mortar store opened last month in NYC’s Union Sq! Yes, there’s already one in NYC’s Chinatown and another in Flushing, Queens but this is a big deal because this store is under management from Nature Republic headquarters in Korea. The stores on Centre Street and Flushing are only licensed and therefore will oftentimes not have the newest releases or even the same sales/promotions. The store is also easily 10x the size of the Chinatown one and conveniently located in one of the most accessible neighborhoods in New York City. I went to their Grand Opening and you can click through to see the entire photo tour and some of my recommendations!
12 E 14th St (b/t W Union Sq & 5th Ave)
New York, NY 10003
Nature Republic USA website
I visited after work and it’s terribly dark because it gets pitch black at 5pm in NYC because of winter. There’s a giant, dancing tub of Nature Republic’s longtime bestseller, their Aloe Vera Gel. If you’re familiar with west of Union Sq, it’s right next to the Taco Bell and not too far of a walk from the park. As of now, the only other k-beauty shop in Union Sq is Club Clio which is further west, past 6th Ave. For my k-beauty shopping, I always find what I want/need in Chinatown because it’s already chock-full of variety but the sales and promotions will always get me out of my neighborhood. I’ll shop in ktown only if I’m already around the area but Union Sq. now has growing reason – plus I’m always in this area since it’s so central to everything.
To get here by subway, you can take the L, N, Q, R, 4, 5 or 6 trains to 14th Street – Union Sq. Alternatively, you can also take the F or M trains to 14th Street which will let you out of 14th and 6th avenue, just walk east towards 5th avenue.
Photo Tour & Recommendations
I haven’t tried everything from Nature Republic so take my suggestions with a grain of salt! I’ve had a longer relationship with this brand than most since I’ve tried some of their products when I was in Korea three years ago. Since they had physical stores in NYC, I was able to continue my indulgences in k-beauty and there are definitely some repurchases on my list!
I admittedly have not used any of NR’s lip products. I’ve only used their CC Cream (the color-changing version) and it was amazing! Applies well, loved the smooth finish and brightening effect. However, their other color cosmetics don’t tempt me and it’s probably because of its plain, white, packaging.
More face makeup that I can’t recommend because I haven’t used it (except for the wonderful CC Cream).
Note that this is NOT a cushion pact where there is foundation soaked in a sponge (the “cushion”) underneath a lid that you lift up. This is just a regular pact that contains 63% of Essence Extract and provide extra moisturization. I didn’t even swatch this I was so busy moving around the store.
I used samples and samples of this stuff and it’s a bit sticky because of real snail mucin but very hydrating for harsh winters. After you wake up, skin is very smooth and soft. An overnight wonder.
I haven’t tried anything on this shelf because I like to look for fermented ingredients that will penetrate deeper. Aloe is good for calming skin and cooling off but I want long term benefits. The Phyto Origin line with ingredients from Baobab trees are also here in the white bottles.
The “Super Aqua Max” line divides your skin type into 3 colors: Pink = Dry; Green = Combo; Blue = Oily. I have the pink face cream because I believed the hype that it offers a ton of hydration however other reviewers would disagree. I have yet to open my jar yet so I cannot give an honest recommendation for the Super Aqua Max line yet. The face cream has a gel texture and I might add-in some extra hydrating serum to make it work if it doesn’t last throughout the day.
When my serums run out, I have the Argan 20° Real Ampoule as my next purchase! This line is actually fermented under a very low temperature of 20° which support a stable environment for the fermentation process. One bottle has as many as 320 argan nuts in concentration! You would call that… nuts, lol. I have a discontinued Argan Oil Ampoule right now and although the initial application may seem too oily, it absorbs overnight and leaves my skin feeling SO moisturized and free of any flakes that I would normally get in the dead of winter. I was skeptical at first but it works better at night and not in the daytime. I used this on my normal to dry skin – this is probably not recommended for oily/acne prone skin.
These foam cleansers (in the white tubes above) are probably way too harsh for your skin since most foam cleansers will measure at a 7 or higher pH level (which will strip the natural moisture from your skin and even make your acne worse)! Foam cleansers in Korean will only set you back about $5 USD so if something is made, marketed and sold that cheaply, I question its quality of its ingredients.
Next to it is the Jeju Sparkling Cleansing Water. If you read my past post on cleansing water, you’ll know that cleansing water is like very diluted soapy water but also powerfully charged to actually attract oils, dirt and debris! I’m interested to try this out myself and $20 isn’t a bad price since that’s the going rate for cleansing water.
I highly recommend double cleansing (washing your dry face first with oil to take off makeup and then washing it again with your normal cleanser).
Aloe vera gel. That’s all it is folks, nothing to sell your first-born for. I personally will never buy it because I don’t need a tub of aloe vera (when I have my aloe vera in an aloe vera shaped LEAF a la Holika Holika). If you ever were to buy 3 and get 1 free, I’ll just look the other way.
This line is recommended for brightening your complexion and fading freckles. I’m obsessed with these “First” Essences that a lot of k-beauty brands carry because it’s overall hydrating, brightening and gives a radiance that lights from within your skin.
Store Experience/Customer Service
Overall the employees were very nice and didn’t “stalk” like you were in a typical Asian retail store. The biggest complaint I hear from Americans is the feeling that they are being followed and feeling very pressured to buy something because the Asian shopping experience will train their employees to be “attentive” as a form of good customer service. They are also trained to give you advice and share their knowledge on a product if they see you looking at it (and you may only be browsing). This form of customer service obviously does not work in America so I’m glad the shopping environment was as expected.
Many of you who already order k-beauty online want to know how the prices in-store compare to online prices and yes, there is a heavy store mark-up. Expect at least $10-15 additional markup on skincare; maybe $5-8 mark-up on makeup. For example the Saccharonyces The First Essence I want is about $45 in store but I can get it shipped online with shipping for about $35 from Jolse if I don’t mind waiting 2-3 weeks. The sale from Grand Opening was pretty good (10% off everything with store specials on certain products). If you’re a student, you get a 10% off everything with ID, so heyyyy. Get your skincare on!
Overall the store is gorgeous, spacious, clean and inviting. It’s located conveniently in Union Sq, NYC and I can’t wait to make some more visits!