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!

Getting There/Location

Nature Republic
12 E 14th St (b/t W Union Sq & 5th Ave)
New York, NY 10003
(646) 952-0856
Nature Republic USA website

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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!

Fun and Games on Grand Opening weekend! Only for purchasers.
Fun and Games on Grand Opening weekend! Only for purchasers.
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There is a huge area to wash your hands with their soaps! There was also someone applying makeup and shaping someone’s eyebrows – I think that service was a gift with qualifying purchase.
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I haven’t tried their Argan Oil line for hair yet but it’s one of their most popular items.
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Look at how deep this store goes… <3
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Christmas displays on their steam creams (creams that have been infused together with a shot of steam).

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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.

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More face makeup that I can’t recommend because I haven’t used it (except for the wonderful CC Cream).

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Oo! A foundation compact!

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.

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Their fanciest and newest release, Ginseng and Royal Jelly which I haven’t tried yet.
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Every k-beauty brand will have a snail line and this is Nature Republic’s Snail Solution line.

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.

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Their “Real Squeeze Aloe Vera” line.

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.

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The top two shelves are the “Super Aqua Max” line and the bottom is their “Hawaiian” line.

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.

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Top to bottom shelf: Argan Oil line, Shea Butter line, the new Ginseng Royal Silk line and their Saccharomyces “The First” fermented line.

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.

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Hair care shelf! Their Argan Oil masks and oils have been recommended by others but I haven’t used these yet.
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Aqua Gel Masks at Buy 10 Get 10 Free during Grand Opening weekend. I believe it was $30 for a pack of 10 so it was $30 for 20 masks during the promo.
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The snail solution line as been so popular that they spinned off an Intense Care and Gold version! I think Gold is a gimmicky ingredient so I wouldn’t go for it.
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Aloe Vera Eye Gel Roller Ball (I’d pass on this) and a boxed set of hand creams (totally would snap up)! The hand creams make great little stocking stuffers.
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More Super Aqua Max with more marketing language that it contains Deep Sea Water from Hawaii.
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I’m in love with diffusers and these comes with cute reeds shaped like flowers. It was pricey over $20 so I didn’t get any new ones. This would also make a great gift (for me). LOL
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More Buy 10 Get 10 Masks but these are the cotton sheet masks which are $13 for a pack of 10 so with the grand opening promo, they were $13 for 20 masks! They were 10 of the same kind so choose wisely and split with a friend!
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Men’s skincare and SPF galore on the bottom shelf.
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More Snails up top, Cell Boosting line in the middle and the Collagen Dream line is on the bottom shelf although I think collagen in a bottle is bull since the particles are too big to penetrate into your pores. Collagen instead needs to be stimulated to be produced by your body.
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These ampoules in the lower shelves were 50% off during grand opening although I checked out the ingredients and there were only “okay”. I think these are fine for an early 20 year old who only needs hydration but look for more powerful ingredients if you’re in your late twenties.
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DO NOT GET THE FOAM CLEANSERS. REPEAT. DO NOT BE TEMPTED BY CHEAP FOAM CLEANSERS.

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.

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Moarrrr of my Argan Oil precious…… you will be mine.
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The yellow bottles on the left are GIANT bottles of cleansing oil for double cleansing and the light green bottles look like peeling body scrubs where the liquid will lift away dead skin cells.

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).

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Here’s the popular long time bestseller, the aloe vera gel in a tub.

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.

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I don’t care for facial wipes but here’s your chance for those of you who do.
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Pretty check-out area.
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More diffusers (for me). I’m gonna be high on diffuser scents.
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If you ever have trouble deciding (and why would you if you read this post?) you can check out their Best Recommended Products wall (and look! My Argan 20º Ampoule is there)!
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Lastly, don’t forget to check out the Tools where you can refill on cotton pads and whatever else you’ve been meaning to replace!
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My eye are also on the Saccharomyces The First line because this is fermented skin care using the Saccharomyces strain of yeast.

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.

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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!