Why Duane Reade Is Better than Bloomy’s or Macy’s

20 Dec

Forget Bloomy’s or Macy’s … this holiday season, tourists and locals alike need to drop by Duane Reade for getting glamorous. Yes, I did say that New York’s neighborhood pharmacy will beat out the iconic department stores for making-you-over … and here’s why.

Getting my skin analyzed and its moisture levels checked at Duane Reade's new Look Boutique.

This is Thrifty Vintage Chic, right? So, something that saves me old fashioned time and money wins big in my book, especially if it makes me a stand-out stylista!

I’m certainly no stranger to Duane Reade, like most New Yorkers it’s my lifeline for my afternoon snack of chocolate milk and a banana — necessary so I don’t scarf down a plate of appetizers during a business networking event.

Or a box of blister pads because those adorable wedge heels turned into a nightmare mid-day, and my kid needs his Mama to power walk across six avenue blocks to beat out the midtown traffic so he’s not left sitting at his school like an orphan-child.

But on Friday, I dropped by the Duane Reade on Broadway & 52nd Street as a blogging guest* … and can I tell you how perfect it was to be at a 8:30am press event where I could buy my normal tea and danish while I was simultaneously working? Talk about a time saver!

While New Yorkers and many tourists know Duane Reade (because it’s like Starbucks, one on every block) for those basic and emergency necessities, I’ve recently been noticing its various 250 locations, one-by-one get a facelift. It’s new signage then reading “doctor on-site” — impressive, and good to know for a mom-on-the-go, as well as the curious phrase “look boutique”.

This latter detail had me intrigued to learn more about this on Friday. Here’s a quick tour of my visit to the Duane Reade Look Boutique & some of my chic picks:

Descending to the wonderland of beauty, aka “Look Boutique”.

IMAG0226The incredibly awesome Look Boutique specialists.

IMAG0227I love the aesthetics! Can you believe this is a drug store?

IMAG0229Imported from Denmark and carried exclusively by Duane Reade in America, Gosh Cosmetics are camera ready with brilliant, trendy colors!

IMAG0230And, wow, that price is so much more affordable than compared to MAC or Bobbi Brown. (Gosh Cosmetics’ Trio Eye Shadow is $16.)

IMAG0231I’ve not gone with a minerals-based cosmetics because the good ones are so expensive, but this is a high-end quality product that’s actually affordable — it has me considering a change now! (Pur Minerals’ Starter Kit is $37.)

IMAG0232If you want to bat your eyelashes at someone special, these chic styles by Pop Beauty will actually stay in place for a solid week — that’s dates number 1 & 2, if you play your flirting game just right!

IMAG0233oo, I am so in love with Pop Beauty’s line of nail polish! That rainbow of colors is perfect for bringing another pop of color to any outfit!!

IMAG0235I’m so head over heels in love with Pop’s confetti nail polish — the perfect dash of bling for any outfit that needs a little more glam. It’s also my must-have pick for New Year’s Eve!

IMAG0234At first, the Look Boutique specialists became startled as I came down the escalator … they thought I was Sara Strand, Swedish-born singer and make-up guru & mogul/founder of Pop Beauty.
What do you think — is there a resemblance?

IMAG0236I am such a dirty martini girl, and the fact that “Nailtini” has done what I think nail polish should have always done, I am a HUGE, instant fan! So, to me, Nailtini is like real paint — where the colors create deep layers to enhance each other. Here’s how they describe the line:

“With 29 Straight Up Colors, 2 Mixers and 9 Toppers, not to mention 7 Garnish designs, the Nailtini cocktail possibilities are endless. For the budding bartender, here’s how to get started. Or, let us help you create your nail cocktail.”

This Nailtini product reportedly can’t be kept in stock — and little wonder why: It’s acetone free, and removes nail polish on the go with little “Cocktail Napkins” which also serve as a style-aid for removing stains from clothes, or any fabric, such as upholstery. (Cocktail Napkins, packed as a 40-count, is $12.)

Then, right as my grand tour of the Look Boutique was concluding, and with my girlie giddiness brimming at an all-time high, I spotted Amy Nowacoski, my business partner of Ginger Snap Works. I immediately subjected her to a mineral mud mask … which I captured in this little vlog:

After our mud mask, thanks to (Minus)-417 (the line’s moniker since it’s pulled from 417 meters below the Dead Sea), Amy and I became instant, out-of-the closet nerds by smelling our newly rejuvenated hands — so delish! We are both thinking about gifting the -417 Recovery Mud Mask to each other for Christmas (the price point is not so thrifty at $92, and yet so totally chic).


Top 5 Reasons Why Duane Reade is Better than Bloomy’s or Macy’s:

1. Instant Make-Over: At every Look Boutique there is a make-up artist who can give you a make-over in a snap & let you know which lipstick or eye-shadow set would work best.
2. Location, Location, Location: Getting to Duane Reade is so much easier than trekking across town to the major department stores.
3. Seeing is believing: Creams & serums might do the trick but know for sure by getting your skin analyzed before & after testing a product.
4. Return on Investment: The price-point and quality of Duane Reade’s Look Boutique products match the high-end lines at Bloomy’s & Macy’s without matching the price tags.
5. One-of-a-Kind: With the Look Boutique stocked with exclusive-only to Duane Reade products, the magic behind your glowing beauty will remain a fringe secret.

What’s the Take-Away?

Grab a girlfriend and get down to Duane Reade!

Essentially with the Look Boutique, Duane Reade has turned itself into a girls’ slumber party headquarters Think about: Start the night off with a skin analysis, get a makeover, pick out new eye and lip colors to land happy hour drinks with Intern McSteamy, snag a new hair color or deep conditioning-protein pack for the glossy locks, grab a gossip mag to gush over celebs, and then stock up on a night’s worth of chocolate, frozen yogurt (from the Fro-Yo Bar), slushies (from the Freesee Station), made-to-order sushi and even fancy beers in refillable growlers!

Yes, I think Amy had it right when she said Duane Reade is her secret lover!

Robin Wallace & Amy Nowacoski at Duane Reade's grand opening of the 52nd & Broadway 20,000 square-foot location, Friday. Dec. 16, 2011.

And, if you are local … you better stop by the 86th & Lex Duane Reade tonight from 6-8, as moms are getting super special treatment, including makeovers!

The other significance of Duane Reade’s grand opening of it’s transformed 3,100-square-foot location into a 20,000-square-foot destination was: A $350,000 donation presented to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation in support of the work they do to fight breast cancer.

This was very special for me to see, given my good friend Diane Naegel’s recent death due to complications of breast cancer.

Thank you Duane Reade for contributing to a cure!

Because I am such a huge fan of hot tea, I gotta let my tea drinkers know that Duane Reade offers a decent selection of brews … but beware: the hot water makes McDonald’s scalding water lawsuit look like a joke.

At several locations, I’ve had to double-cup and cozy my hot tea which just barely made it “holdable”.  No. 1) It’s such an environmental waste; No. 2) It’s such a turn-off to wait 20 minutes for tea-ectasy; No. 3) It does work nicely as a hand-warmer on super-duper cold days when walking down the wind tunnels called Avenues.

*Please Note* After the tour I received a gift card as a thank you. I’m participating in this Duane Reade Campaign #DReade as a member of Collective Bias. #CBias. No other compensation was received. Views expressed are always 100% my own.

3 Responses to “Why Duane Reade Is Better than Bloomy’s or Macy’s”

  1. BeingZhenya December 20, 2011 at 6:04 AM #

    This is so awesome, I used to live in NYC and DR was my absolutely fav place! I love Gosh make up, they sold it in Russia when I was there last year! Glad to see that DR is bringing the European Brands to the US! Now if only we had one in Minneapolis! And Robin, you look gorgeous! xx



  2. nycstylecannoliny March 3, 2012 at 6:02 AM #

    love love Duane Reade in the city wish they would come to pennsylvania


  3. sondic March 5, 2012 at 1:49 PM #

    What a great site!


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