The Cure Apothecary
The Cure Apothecary, Queen West's latest in all-natural beauty boutiques, is a haven for the city's eco-maniac skincare buffs. The newly opened shop--replacing TSOQ's former location--is an organic-only zone stocked with products ranging from luxe face scrubs and organic hair products to shaving soaps and beard oils.
When I first entered the shop, I couldn't help but feel drawn to its minimalist appeal--a bare-bones interior of white walls and wood accents inspired by the city of Tulum, says owner Nitasha Goel. The shop's wide store window looks into a clean, open space spotted with lush green plants and sparse geometrical shelving.
It has the exact feel Goel intended--like a lavish powder room or the relaxing bathroom at a hotel getaway. Bonus points go to the fact that the space doesn't bring with it an overwhelming scent like more mainstream beauty shops.
The store, which opened early last month, mainly stocks U.S., New Zealand, and Canadian-based brands, including Vancouver's Barber and Fritz hair care line made up of products with simple, to-the-point names housed in elegant glass bottles with Victorian era inspirations. There are building waters for volume ($30 a bottle), salt water for beach waves ($26), and sugar water for a more natural strong-hold hairspray ($28).
As Goel walked me through the products - all hand-picked by her, the shop itself sparked by a lifelong personal interest in beauty and wellness - my list of organic 'must haves' steadily grew: silky tonics, nutrient-enriched moisturizers, BB creams. Each of these goods, for hair and skin, rubbed smoothly onto my hand without the discomfort of stickiness or excess moisture.
Being able to leave a beauty store feeling more refreshed than bombarded - either by overwhelming scents or layers of tested cream products - seems to be a characteristic exclusive to finely-curated shops like Cure Apothecary. For Goel, neutral scents are given the same priority as decadent fragrances, and different tastes and sensitivities have been taken into consideration. One of the key experiences her return customers have noted: that the products don't feel like a mask or additional outer layer but are naturally absorbed into the skin.
Other notable products on the shelves include Toronto-based brand F. Miller 's organic face, body, and beard oils (ranging from $34-$74 a bottle) in crisp citrus scents for both men and women and Skin Essence 's facial cleansers and moisturizers like the Rosehip Seed Oil ($28) made of essential oils and natural soothing organic extracts. In the month that it's been open, Goel says shoppers have been drawn to L'Aromatica 's unisex botanical perfume oils ($38 for a vial) in natural, fresh aromas that can be layered according to your personal taste.
And while most neighbourhood beauty boutiques might appear to be more women-friendly, Goel maintains a slew of products made exclusively for men (especially bearded and mustachioed Torontonian dudes). Brooklyn Grooming is brand with subtly strong, woodsy smells inspired by the type of guy who's spent a day chopping wood and building things with it.
Goel stocked the products in such a way that mustache waxes ($28) and shaving soaps ($26), along with old school pomades ($32) and beard balms ($32), can be easily layered without the mess of contrasting scents. Each are available in warm, masculine fragrances and with neutral alternatives.
Goel, who previously worked in fashion for 10 years, says the store's name was inspired by British post-punk favourite, The Cure, during a drive home spent singing "Friday, I'm In Love." For those of us who are eager for healthy, glowing skin, the feeling's mutual.
Writing by Alex Brown. Photos by James C. Lee.