LOOK boutique: Duane Reade’s New Upscale Beauty Department

Duane Reade has been known for its convenient locations on what feels like nearly every other block of Manhattan;  but, it also has received a lot of flack for its poor aesthetics, dull decor and bad service.   That seems to be changing, in particular at the new format stores like the 22,000-square-foot one opening at 40 Wall Street.   It’s the flagship location for the refurbished stores that now contain items like fresh food (including sushi) and the “LOOK boutique” upscale beauty departments.  One is located in my five blocks just a few steps from Lincoln Center on Broadway at 64th st (around the corner from The Empire Hotel).   Walking by, you may not realize that this location has the new “LOOK boutique” because it’s on the lower level.  (The street level portion of the store also is new with a large food section containing not only the typical dry snack goods and beverages but also fresh salads, fruit, sushi and breads. )

I highly recommend visiting the “LOOK boutique” on the lower level.   It brings the the department store experience to the convenience of a drug store ( note, with many of the department store price points).   This location is a bit cavernous compared to some of the other stores where the “LOOK boutique” is at street level surrounded by windows,  but it still benefits from the new design:

  • Modern decor – clean and fresh with well-lit shelving and signage
  • Upscale skincare brands such as Vichy, Kinerase, La Roche-Posay
  • Specialty cosmetics brands like purminerals and tini beauty
  • Extensive nail polish selection beautifully displayed
  • Traditional Mass brands (Revlon, L’Oreal, Neutrogena, etc.) adjacent to the “LOOK boutique”
  • Testers for the prestige beauty items, not for the traditional Mass products
  • Upscale bags with purple tissue paper, versus the typical Duane Reade plastic variety.   (And, the Beauty advisor put many samples in my bag, mostly from French brand LIERAC.)
  • Beauty advisors who are trained on each of the lines


Table with Testers


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