beauty products

The top 10 online stores for beauty products in Toronto

Buying cosmetics online in Toronto leaves you with few options - if you're looking for drugstore or department-store products, that is. (Sephora and Shoppers Drug Mart pretty much have the market cornered on mass-market cosmetics, skincare and fragrances - but, luckily, Sephora's online options are great, and there's a Shoppers on every corner.)

If you're willing to look past your favourite product labels to something a little more obscure - or to a hand-crafted, all-natural product made by a local - your options get far wider, and far more interesting. Many local cosmetics companies, shut out by larger cosmetics distributors, take matters into their own well-moisturized hands by selling their own wares directly to customers online, and local indie-beauty stores are doing an admirable job of bringing tons of niche lines under one roof.

Here are my picks for the top 10 sites in Toronto for buying beauty products online.

See also: 20 essential beauty shops and salons in Toronto

Pure + Simple
The chain of Toronto spas are renowned for their facials, but they also make getting spa-fresh skin at home easy with their e-commerce offerings. In addition to their own moisturizers, cleansers, serums, masks, and makeup (plus another proprietary line for men), they offer a dozen or so additional brands, including Blinc mascara, Jurlique skincare from Australia, and celeb-fave line Tata Harper.

For busy blokes who don't have time to swing by the Danforth, MenEssentials has an impressive roster of products - more than 1,000 - available online. Their slate of shaving items (from $5 shave cream to a $1,100 razor set), as well as hair care and fragrances from relatively-rare lines like Penhaligon, make it simple to step up your grooming game.

Pir Cosmetics
Yorkville's Pir stocks a wide gamut of luxury-oriented and cult-fave makeup and fragrance lines from around the world, including harder-to-find offerings like Kevyn Aucoin cosmetics and tons of boutique perfume lines like Histoires de Parfums. That vast selection is mirrored on their website, which has a following of loyal buyers from across Canada.

Some of Toronto's top spas and nail salons stock this homegrown beauty line, which turns out sets of scrubs and lotions in quasi-edible scents like vanilla, pear and key lime coconut. (They've even begun dabbling in a natural-cream deodorant.) They brand's getting so popular, it just ended up on shelves at Indigo - but you may as well head to the Lovefresh webstore and give your cash directly to founder Stacey Davis instead.

Cake Beauty
All-natural is all the rage among Toronto's indie beauty companies - and the paraben-free Cake is no exception. But in addition to a smorgasbord of dessert-scented body products, the Corktown-based company sets itself apart with a range of dry shampoos, which come in sprays, shakeable canisters, and ingenious powder brushes.

Province Apothecary
Like Pure + Simple, this line is also a favourite of Toronto facial fans - albeit one that's slightly further below the radar. Province Apothecary's Julie Clark hand-blends her products, including scrubs, serums and skin treatments for all manner of issues, from wild, Canadian-sourced ingredients (think organic seaweed from Nova Scotia and maple syrup from Quebec). Those signature tiny, blue bottles, which can be spied on store shelves around town (in addition to on her own site) pack a concentrated punch of botanical essences like lavender and rosemary, with the heavenly scents to match.

This webstore is a favourite among those who prefer their formulations eco-friendly and their testing cruelty-free. Their site offers a dozen or so vegan cosmetics brands that, mercifully, don't skimp on glamour - check out the electric liquid lipsticks from Aromi or their sizeable slate of punchy, iridescent eye shadows.

Da Lish Cosmetics
Cosmetics company Da Lish scores points for their luxe packaging and rich hues - not to mention their paraben, GMO, sulfate, phthalate and petrochemical-free product formulations. Look for them to add skincare to their existing family of eye, lip and face products. They've long been available at spots like Jacob & Sebastian, or (fittingly, for their all-natural focus) at Whole Foods locations in Toronto - but ordering straight from the source will let you take advantage of their in-house points system.

Blur Makeup Room
Move over, MAC store - there's another playground for makeup geeks on Queen West. This indie shop is open to the public, but caters primarily to makeup artists and others who are dead serious about their product. Cult favourites like OCC's infamously lifeproof lip tars and Canadian brand Face Atelier sit alongside movie-magic tools like fake blood and something called "whisker fixer".

Honey Fig
This north-end store, a few blocks south of North York station, puts a strong focus on all-natural products for skin and hair (particularly textured hair). Most products avoid harsh chemicals, but if you've got further sensitivities, they also organize products by nut-free, vegan and fragrance-free options.

Did I miss any? Leave your favourite Toronto-based online source for beauty products in the comments.

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