Pretty Beauty & Books
Pretty Beauty & Books is petite little Mirvish Village shop offering a unique hybrid of beauty and books. Its mantra is clean living, and both Pretty's books and makeup reflect a certain lifestyle that's healthy for us, as well as the environment.
"It's clean and green makeup," owner Andrea tells me after I meet her and partner Stephan in their little shop on Markham Street. The boutique shares its space with Coal Miner's Daughter, which displays its one-of-a-kind dresses in the storefront window. "Basically, anything with harmful preservatives or chemicals is out," Andrea continues. "And we look for products that are environmentally friendly."
Andrea, who went to school for cosmetics, tells me she has long wanted to open a mixed beauty and books store. "I've always been interested in makeup," she says. "And these products and books go together so well."
She picks up a book called No More Dirty Looks, which details all the dirty little secrets (pun intended) about mainstream health and beauty products. "That's kind of our bible," Stephan pipes in. "But not all of the books are strictly about makeup. This one is The History of Surfing, another one is about yoga; they all align with the idea of a healthy lifestyle."
Pretty's products are not simply green replacements for conventional cosmetics. Rather, they adhere to the principle of "less is more," promoting a more natural look with a crisp, clean finish. In other words, no sparkly blue mascara here.
Andrea, who has the natural beauty look pat, introduces me to some of the boutique's products. First, she tells me about the line of Crawford Street skincare products, which are made locally by hand without artificial fragrances or dyes. "The deodorant ($10.50) is really popular," she says, reaching for a jar. "It's all natural, and it works really well."
Next we move on to 100% Pure, a cosmetics line made using pigments from fruits and vegetables. The colours are vibrant, but natural, and come in a whole range of shades. And speaking of shades, Pretty offers the entire selection of nail polishes by Scotch Naturals ($17.50), which are all non-toxic and eco-friendly. "You could drink the stuff," Stephan says. While I decide not to test that allegation, I do open a bottle and give it a whiff, and am pleasantly surprised by the lack of chemical smell.
Stephan then demonstrates their line of Tatcha blotting papers ($12.50/pack of 30), which, he tells me, are made with gold flakes and are totally biodegradable. "They're really great because they won't smudge your makeup," he says, pulling out a leaf.
Customers will soon be able to buy all of the boutique's products online through its soon-to-be online store. In the meantime, though, if you're wondering about why There's Lead In Your Lipstick, head over to the Markham and Bloor.
Photos by Dennis Marciniak