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This Trendy New “Beauty Apothecary” Near Union Market Has a Face Mask Bar and CBD Drinks

The San Francisco-based Veer & Wander celebrates its DC grand opening May 21.
Veer & Wander is designed as an homage to old-school European pharmacies. (Joy Asico / EDENS)

There’s a new spot in town designed as an homage to old-school pharmacies—only this one will sell Goop beauty products instead of cold medicine.

The self-described “beauty apothecary” Veer & Wander recently soft-opened in the Union Market neighborhood, and it’ll celebrate its grand opening May 21. Inside, you can find high-end beauty and wellness products from brands like Vintner’s Daughter and Moon Juice in a curated, Instagram-perfect setting that founder Connie McGrath calls a “laboratory crosses 1970s California.”

The new spot is Veer & Wander’s second location and its first retail-only store. Its original San Francisco storefront, which is also a hair salon, has somewhat of a cult following. Case in point: It’s on Goop’s Gwyneth Paltrow-approved list of spots to check out in the Mission District.

At the DC location, customers can browse the selection of non-toxic products while sipping on herbal sparkling water, tea, or CBD-infused drinks. And if you want to hang around, check out the mask bar: You and your friends can select face masks from a selection of brands, apply them, and kick back in the “beauty den,” which is decked out with a chandelier and ottomans. McGrath eventually plans to host wellness programs and pop-up vendors there, too.

(Joy Asico / EDENS)

“We have a lot of products that people will be discovering [for the first time] in our space,” says McGrath of creating a store where people will want to hang out and try new things. “I try to draw in people with brands and things that I like and curate.”

McGrath has always been obsessed with beauty, she says. As a kid, she and her friends would stop in the local pharmacy to look at all the skincare products and cosmetics, and at 15, she worked as a shampoo girl in a hair salon, eventually becoming a hairstylist.

When the opportunity came to open her own salon in San Francisco, she jumped, and decided to open her apothecary there, too.

As for the name? “I called it Veer & Wander because we were on a side street in San Francisco,” McGrath says, alluding to the veering and wandering that brings customers into the tucked-away spot. It’s also a nod to the sometimes winding path that people take when discovering their beauty and wellness routines. “It makes sense as a philosophy,” she says.

And although this is McGrath’s first East Coast foray, she says she feels at home in Washington.

“It’s transient, it’s international, there are lots of smart people like in San Francisco, it’s liberal,” she says of DC. “I feel pretty at home here. It wasn’t a hard transition.”

(Joy Asico / EDENS)

Even though the brand originated on the West Coast, McGrath wants Washington locals to know she’s committed to making this spot as authentic to DC as possible.

“Sometimes people get weary about ‘Oh, god, a trendy California store is coming.’ But I really want to work with local beauty brands,” she says. “I’m very much into community, and that’s important. I want people to know I’m not just showing up here to make a buck.”

Veer & Wander will celebrate its grand opening May 21 with eyebrow shaping via The BrowGal, eye masks from Patchology, product discounts, and—of course—complimentary CBD cocktails.

Veer & Wander; 1260 5th St. NE

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Associate Editor

Mimi Montgomery joined Washingtonian in 2018. She previously was the editorial assistant at Walter Magazine in Raleigh, North Carolina, and her work has appeared in Washington City Paper, DCist, and PoPVille. Originally from North Carolina, she now lives in Adams Morgan.