beauty toronto

20 essential beauty shops and salons in Toronto

The most essential beauty shops and salons in Toronto offer products and services you can't find at your corner barber, never mind at your corner store. These are places you'll find that cruelty- paraben- and sulphate-free shampoo to which you've grown loyal, that essential oil bubble bath to help you escape your day, and where you'll find the only person in the world you'll trust to mend your broken (read: over-plucked) eyebrows.

These essential beauty spots include hair salons, body shops, beauty bars, and green-minded spas, all of which share share the characteristic of leaving you feeling great (unfortunately, the same usually can't be said for your wallet).

Here's my list of 20 essential beauty shops and salons in Toronto.

Beauty without unnecessary chemicals, additives, or guilty labour practices. The body essentials you'll find at this shop may come with a bit of a higher price than most mainstream options, but such is the cost of donkey's milk lotion from Switzerland and premium anti-aging serum from France.

The Brow House
If you want a makeover that's limited to just above the eyes, this is your spot. We've all done terrible things with tweezers in our teens, and this is the spot to get it fixed. Brow shaping is done with tweezing, not waxing, and regulars swear by The Brow House's maintenance program.

Jacob & Sebastian
Jacob & Sebastian is all about pampering with bubble baths, aromatherapy candles, treatment oils, and countless lotions and potions. The Queen West shop has a healthy assortment of natural and cruelty-free products, with options such as Rahua hair products and Sprout skincare.

Fuzz Wax Bar
No nails, no makeup, no blow-dries, no blush. Fuzz Wax Bar is waxing, and waxing only. The shop offers maintenance packages for the gifted hair-grower, and welcomes walk-ins for a last-minute groom. Plenty of products, too, to "soothe" your visit.

Demo Soap
Soaps that smell (and some that look) good enough to eat; but please don't. Handmade from vegetable oil glycerin, Demo Soap has everything from Patchouli & Blood Orange soap, to Avocado Mint, to Cinnamon Roll soap, to Toronto Maple Leaf soap (despite the lockout). The Liberty Village shop also offers a line of certified organic soaps and oils.

Body Blitz
Um, this place has its own Dead Sea salt pool. Do I really need to say anything else? Well, in any case, the Blitz full body scrub is definitely a fan favourite, along with the spa's acclaimed lineup of sweet ginger and moroccan spice body glows. But the therapeutic waters definitely top the Blitz experience.

Doll Bar Inc.
As long as women love long hair (and don't have the patience to grow it out) Doll Bar will thrive. This salon is about extensions first and foremost, offering full head hair extensions, micro links, micro loc weaves, and customized clip-ins. Stylists will also apply hair that you bring in yourself, and help with the inevitable time-consuming extension removal.

bodyFood Aromatherapy Boutique
Using pure essential oils, bodyFood offers its own line of aromatherapy and natural body care products. The Liberty Village shop is your source for bodyFood jojoba bead face scrum and lemongrass foaming body butter, plus personal consultations and seminars for the enthused essential-oil shopper.

6 by Gee Beauty
The only place in the city (or country, for that matter) with its own Le Labo fragrance bar to custom-create your own perfume. Because who buys a bottle off the shelf these days? For a quick grab-and-go, however, 6 by Gee Beauty has plenty of shower gels, massage oils, body lotions and bath oils by Le Labo ready to take home.

Cooney for Hair
For those who look east (yes, past Leslieville) for hair inspiration, Cooney for Hair specializes in cuts, styles, and colours from Japan, plus products you can't find just anywhere. This salon is pretty unique in that you'll often find men in the salon chairs — notably those men, however, who like to keep a little length.

Colour Lab 12
A salon that's strictly all about colour. Tint, highlight, tone or treat — anything that pretty much doesn't involve scissors. And a lineup of iPads to play with while the colour sets.

Pinky's Nails
For the ostentatiously painted nail, few do it better than Pinky's Nails. This Richmond Street "professional nail art studio" does every type of intricate design, from holiday-inspired nail prints to custom thumb to pinky creation. Matte colour? Pft.

Not an obscure name, by any means, but still one of the best. Blo is your off-the-menu, quick dry and style boutique, with several additional services including extensions, treatments, and up-do's. But for a reliable and consistent "Wash Blow Go," Blo is it.

Eye Love Brow and Beauty Bar
Eyebrow aid for the west end. Operated by a former Brow House employee, Eye Love Brow and Beauty Bar offers brow shaping, tinting, shaping, and general rescue, plus full face makeup and application tutorials. Manscaping is also available to the overly-browed gent.

Lush & Lavish
A certified Eminence Green spa with waxing, nails, and hair all on the roster. The shampoos and conditioners here are all paraben- and sulphate-free, with eco-friendly nail polishes and lotions that are natural enough to eat. Not that ingestion is recommended, mind you.

Navigate Space
A pretty run-of-the-mill salon by all accounts, but I have to ask one question: is there anyone who has ever uttered a bad word about this place?! Anyone? John Taccone and his team seem to elicit nothing but positive reviews for their cuts, blow outs, and styles, justifying their slightly higher-priced service list. Is it something in the water down on The Esplanade?

The Ten Spot
The Ten Spot is your answer to no-fuss beauty. This spa caters to the active woman who just wants to get her nails done, rather than waste away the afternoon looking at floating rose petals by her feet. The Ten Spot does express facials, waxing, nails, and the works.

Pure + Simple
The name pretty such says it all. Well — maybe just the "pure" part. It does get a little complicated when you start digging into the science of "Aquabrasion" or "Pine Resin" waxing, but just know the Pure + Simple spas are focused on clean, natural, and holistic. Most offer the house line of products, as well as other natural beauty items to take home.

MYNC Lash Lounge & Brow Bar
Lash tints, lash falsies, lash perms, and individual applications. MYNC does all sorts of lash makeovers, including its "Pretty In Mink" lash overhaul with 60 lashes per eye and semi-permanent upper and lower lash mascara, because morning-after raccoon eyes is out (not that it was ever in). Brow shaping and body waxing too.

These are my essential Toronto beauty spots. What are yours? Add your favourites to the comment thread below.

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