The six best beauty and cosmetics stores in the west end
Toronto’s west end has gotten a makeover. Over the past few months, a number of beauty brands have set up shop in the very hip hoods of Queen West, West Queen West and Dundas West. And with a new M.A.C. store just opened at Queen and Spadina, it’s a good time to assemble a guide to the new (and new-ish) one-stop beauty shops worth travelling west for.
363 Queen St. W., 416-595-6495, nyxcosmetics.ca
This location is the first freestanding NYX store in the country (there’s also an outpost at Square One). NYX is beloved for its high quality and low-ish prices, which mean you can experiment—like with grey lipstick or a mermaid-inspired eye—and still come out under budget.
Must Buy: NYX’s Strobe of Genius Illuminating Palette is your ticket to an Instagram-ready complexion. $27
880 Queen St. W., 416-532-9623, aesop.com
This Australian skincare brand opened its first Toronto standalone store at the corner of Trinity Bellwoods last summer. Designed by local architecture firm superkül, the interior was inspired by the neighbourhood’s history as a garment district, with a felt-covered accent wall and shelving meant to evoke streetcar tracks.
Must Buy: With a cult following earned for its lavender scent and greaseless finish, Aesop’s Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm will be your saving grace come wind-chill season. $37
881 Queen St. W., 647-560-4181, deciem.com
Toronto-based Deciem, which has its headquarters at Richmond and Parliament, opened its West Queen West location in July (almost directly across the street from Aesop). This umbrella company operates more than 10 different brands, each with its own focus, and its Hand Chemistry face cream is a bestseller across the pond at the U.K. drugstore chain Boots.
Must Buy: Fountain’s drinkable 10X Hyaluronic Molecule promises beauty from the inside out.
1518 Dundas St. W., 647-479-4854, provinceapothecary.com
Founder Julie Clark started this small-batch skincare company in her kitchen, while looking for an all-natural remedy for her eczema, before opening a bricks-and-mortar store in Kensington Market. Earlier this year, the brand expanded to Dundas West, where it operates a boutique and skincare clinic (the brand is also stocked at Urban Outfitters and Whole Foods).
Must Buy: Province’s custom face serum is a made-just-for-you vial of ingredients that’s as close as you’ll get to a magic potion.
Bite Beauty Lip Lab
678 Queen St. W., 416-860-5652, bitebeauty.com
Susanne Langmuir founded Bite in Toronto in 2009 and opened her first Lip Lab in New York City in 2013. Bite took over the former Czehoski space on Queen West earlier this year, meaning Torontonians no longer need to hop a Porter flight for their own one-of-a-kind lipstick.
Must Buy: Bite’s À la Carte Lipstick ($60 for two) lets you choose your shade, texture and scented natural oils to be mixed into a one-of-a-kind bullet.
368 Queen St. W., maccosmetics.ca
M.A.C was founded in Toronto in 1984 with an ethos of providing a safe place for self-expression. After a short hiatus from the Queen West strip, M.A.C has returned with a new store, just east of Spadina. This homegrown mega-brand may be available around the globe, but this piece of The 6 holds a special place in the brand’s history.
Must Buy: Viva Glam lipsticks and glosses have raised more than $400 million for the M.A.C AIDS Fund since 1994, when the first RuPaul-fronted campaign launched. This year’s edition, the Viva Glam Ariana II Lipstick ($21), is the brand’s second collaboration with pop star Ariana Grande.