Saturday, March 08, 2014

Where to shop for makeup and beauty in Toronto!

Ever been to Toronto or planning to or wondering what to ask your friend/cousin to bring back from TO?
As a makeup addict and shopaholic, I have found Toronto a great place to shop for, though definitely not as best as its neighbour – NYC [sigh!]

So this is a shopping guide based on my experience of shopping for makeup & beauty stuff here and hope it’s useful for you!

Some superb Canadian makeup brands:

1.      Bite Beauty – Yes, this superb lipstick brand is from Toronto –so 3 cheers!
2.      Cargo cosmetics -    Never tried anything yet.
3.      Vasanti Cosmetics:           - Never tried any of their products but everything looks tempting!
4.      Annabelle and sister company Marcelle - I love Annabelle’s twist up crayons and Marcelle BB and CC creams.

Drugstore Shopping

1.      Shoppers Drug Mart : I don’t know if its fair to categorize Shoppers as a drugstore as it carries high end makeup as well. They have a specialized Beauty boutique in select locations.
For the budget conscious, they carry Essence Cosmetics which is an awesome and fun brand.
What I like: Lots of stores, friendly sales staff and if you’ve signed up for their Optimum card, you get coupons every Friday
What I don’t like: They can be pricier than other stores. 
Details on brands and locations:
Online store: [high end boutique]

2.      Rexall: This is also a popular drugstore and carries NYX and recently Wet n Wild [though usually never the latest offerings from these brands! L]
What I like: They are usually faster in carrying the latest products; I found NYC lip crayons, Revlon balm stains launched 1st here . Also for some products, they can be cheaper than Shoppers
No online store

3.      Walmart: Well, I don’t think they need intro. Curiously, I find that Walmarts in Toronto are kind of messier and carry lesser product variety than Walmarts in places like Kitchener.
What I like: Sometimes they have good deals. Depending on which store you go to, you can find Milani, Wet n Wild etc. Don’t expect any high end brands.
What I don’t like: Counters are usually messy; products are often left used. Very few staff to support and help.

4.      Real Canadian Super store and Zehr’s : I love these stores cos they have nice displays which are better maintained that Walmart. They carry Milani, Wet n wild and I have seen new ELF palettes sometimes.
What I Like: Better selection and well maintained stores
What I don’t like: Nothing much except that I wish they had more drugstore brand range similar to US stores.

5.      Target: In Canada, Target doesn’t show in full potential – I must admit I am a bit disappointed with them; there was such an expectation and hype of Target bringing some new goodies with it.
What I Like: You can buy Sonia Kashuk and Pixi here. Sonia Kashuk lippies are great; I have never tried Pixi yet.
What I don’t like: It’s a bit disappointing to visit Target after watching all those Youtube haul videos where they show case the amazing stuff available at Target US.

6.      Winners: These are a set of retail stores – similar to Marshalls; they sometimes have ELF and some other cosmetics.
Not a favourite as displays are usually messy and weirdly priced.

7.      Marshalls: These stores are part of TJMAXX group but I am not sure if they are as good as their parent stores.
I have not found many brand offerings here; they carry ELF and some other stuff. I go there if I need to find a cute top.

Department stores:

1.      Sears: Again, no need of intro. They carry high end brands like Clarins, Clinique and usually have some or other promotions running.
Again, don’t expect brand availability like their US stores.
However, I never find their sales staff available in most of the stores I have been to in GTA area.
Online store:

2.      Hudson’s Bay: They have a history in Canada and is the oldest in NA. I also find their stores excellent from an ambience and brand selections view.
They carry MAC along with other high end brands. They also have Fashion Fair – a line for women of color and Illamasqua.

3.      Holt Renfrew: This is a luxury department store; I have never been to one, may visit soon.
They carry Laura Mercier and I have read somewhere that Lime Crime is also available there.

Speciality stores and others:

1.      Sephora: Again, no need for intro. I love em! Its like going to a wonderland

2.      Claire’s and Icing: These are a set of retail stores targeted for Teens. But nothing to stop us from shopping.
I like their brushes and eyeshadow sets.

3.      Sally Beauty Supply: Mostly targeted for business buyers but they carry lots of interesting stuff like Palladio, Femme Couture & Sally girl.
They usually have deals and if you get a beauty card, you get good discounts

4.      Lush: No need for intro, they have amazing bath and beauty products. I especially like the Eaton centre one, the staff is so warm and friendly

5.      Yves Rocher: It is a French beauty brand and they have a good store at Eaton Centre. However I prefer buying online as I find more deals and offers.

6.      Forever21: I like their lipsticks and face wipes. This is not for the serious buyer, but for the fun-seeking ones.
Also if you’re on a budget you might like trying out their products

7.      H&M: They have some cosmetics but it differs from store to store. Not a fan of this, but if you are looking for fun products, why not!

8.      Victoria’s Secret: The lingerie brand has some amazing cosmetics; they don’t need any additional ads, just look at their models!
I got a highlighter from their Eaton Centre store and I am sooooooooo in loveeee.. A lipstick costs $14 [MAC costs $15] so they are definitely not a drugstore brand!

1.      Eaton Centre -> Busy, crowded always but I love shopping at this iconic place. Stores- MAC [not a great store, staff kinda snooty], The Body Shop etc.

2.      Fairview Mall -> More peaceful; has Face shop, L’Occitane –so well worth a visit

3.      Pacific Mall -> Again crowded. I found this kinda confusing on my 1st visit. Reputed to have some great Korean stores

4.      Scarborough Centre -> I found this mall kind of dingy.

5.      Dufferin Mall -> Okay Dokey but if you are visiting Toronto, don’t waste time going here!

6.      Square One, Mississauga -> Awesome mall; wear a pair of nice walking shoes cos it goes on and on… Lots of stores so a great place for full day shopping  

Makeup Artist shopping:

I am adding some links below for store. I have visited only the KW Magic store. The staff was nice but I find that its easier to do a one-stop shopping during IMATS.

Some great online stores:
1.  - Love, love, love… I got Lime Crime from there recently; superb customer service and FREE SHIPPING!!!!
2. – a really great online store; I make at least one purchase per month. Only complaint is that they don’t send any coupons or offers…
3. – This is a US based store but they carry lots of interesting stuff
4. – A Great store to check out…lots of brands and options!

This is a living list- let me know of brands and stores you love!
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