AB Goes to Toronto (What I’m Bringing + What Should I Do/Buy?)

How’s that for a convoluted title? Anyway, I’m going to Toronto for the first time at the end of this week! I’ll be presenting at a conference and will be in the city for a mere 48 hours, so I won’t have much time for sightseeing (though I have a couple of meals planned with friends who have ended up there over the years). However, I know I have a few Canadian readers, and I’d love some advice on what to do in Toronto–I’ll be staying downtown in the theatre district, but I might have time to go elsewhere.

What I’ll almost certainly have a chance to do, however, is duck into a drugstore and look at all the Canadian makeup, so let me know if you have any recommendations! I’m planning to check out the Joe Fresh lipsticks, and I’ve heard good things about Annabelle and Lise Watier makeup as well. Overall, though, I’m pretty ignorant about Canadian brands. Please enlighten me! What is not to be missed? What should I skip entirely?

Also, since I usually pack my makeup at the last possible second, I thought I’d use this post to do some planning for once. I’m not going to be too strict about limiting my makeup stash, since a couple of extra eyeshadows and lipsticks won’t make much difference in terms of weight, but in terms of dignity…well. I hope that making a list beforehand will keep me accountable. I’m planning to bring enough makeup for one cool-toned look, one warm-toned look, and one neutral look.

Eyeshadow: I know by now that I almost never feel like putting together elaborate eye looks while traveling. NARS Lhasa, ColourPop Bill, and theBalm Nude ‘Tude Palette will be more than enough for neutrals (I also use one of the Nude ‘Tude colors for brow powder). For a point of interest in this expanse of taupe, I’ll throw in Kiko Stick Eyeshadow #16, a shimmery dark purple that I’ve been enjoying wearing on my outer lids and lower lashlines recently.

Blush: One easy-to-apply neutral cream (Illamasqua Zygomatic) and one bright warm powder (Sleek Life’s a Peach).

Lipstick: I like having options, so I’m resigned to bringing more lipsticks than I’ll end up wearing. To lend some interest to the black-and-gray dress I’ll be wearing to deliver my paper, I’ll wear a bright, long-wearing lipstick, either NARS Mysterious Red or NARS Angela. I’ll also bring a few spring favorites for variety’s sake (subject to change, of course): NARS Dolce Vita, Urban Decay Streak, and Maybelline Vibrant Mandarin. These three are also comfortable to wear on dry lips, which I’m sure I’ll appreciate after my two flights in three days. Damn it, I hate flying, so why am I always getting myself into transatlantic relationships and international conferences?

Counter-clockwise from top: Streak, Vibrant Mandarin, Mysterious Red, Angela, Dolce Vita. Not that you need a guide: you’ve seen all five far too often on my blog.

Other: NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Vanilla, CoverGirl spot concealer, Vaseline Rosy Lips, Palmer’s Cocoa Butter lip balm, Milani clear brow gel, Fresh Citron de Vigne rollerball, CoverGirl LashBlast Length mascara, and whatever nail polish I’m wearing when I leave on Friday, plus Seche Vite topcoat. Currently on my nails is Essie Play Date, a medium blue-toned purple, but I know that it’s chip-prone–as in, I applied it last night and it’s already begun to wear off. I’ll probably replace it tomorrow with a longer-wearing polish like Formula X Enigma. Or OPI Ate Berries in the Canaries, which also matches NARS Angela. Decisions, decisions.

Finishing this post means I can no longer put off finishing my conference paper. Sigh.

9 thoughts on “AB Goes to Toronto (What I’m Bringing + What Should I Do/Buy?)

  1. Marcelle is also good. I like their cream blush. Joe Fresh sometimes has some interesting, cheap nail polishes, as well. Have fun in Toronto, and good luck with the paper!


  2. French pharmacy brands are easy to find (eg. Bioderma, Avene, La Roche Posay). Joe Fresh has some interesting cheap polish Essence is here too.There aren't a ton of unique Canadian drugstore brands. We generally have what you have in the US, just more expensive.


  3. WHAT. You're coming to my city and only for 48 hours? We must meet, if only so that I can pass you a rather heavy goody bag since I'm in the middle of a furious declutter. But Canadian stuff! It's actually not all that exciting because there are only a handful of brands that the US don't have, but our French pharmacy setup is pretty good, especially if you go to some of the nice and big renovated stores. Shoppers Drug Mart and Rexall are the two main chains, and they both sell Annabelle (cheaper younger sister of Marcelle) and Marcelle. Some Shoppers have Lise Watier, which is about the only place you'll find LW now. Marcelle and Lise Watier are expensive by drugstore standards, but Marcelle has excellent skin care (although their lipsticks are passable) and Lise Watier has better makeup but it's pricier than I'd like to pay for, which is why I rarely buy/talk about them. Annabelle can be hit or miss but people love their mascaras and lip stuff. I like their blushes and eye makeup remover. As for Joe Fresh, it's only available in the beauty section of a grocery chain called Loblaws. They have good lip products, the nail colours are pretty but the brush is awful so don't do it, blushes are good, skip the chalky looking eye shadows…Seriously, let's email.


  4. Damn, I was going to do a post of my favourite Canadian brands but it is not ready yet!Lise Watier is definitely nice – their eyeshadow sticks are gorgeous (swatched them yesterday at work and they're still pristine) and they just came out with some liquid lipsticks that I'm eyeing up.Joe Fresh is amazing; I love their matte lipsticks and liquid lipsticks! Their nail polish formula is also really great, in my opinion, and they're $4 each or 3 for $10. You can get them at Loblaws, and there are also standalone Joe Fresh stores as well. (They sell clothes, too – a step above H&M pricing and good quality.) There's a Joe Fresh store in the Queen and Bathurst area, which is within walking distance from the theatre district.I like Marcelle's lipsticks and their skincare is really great – it's the cheapest thing I feel good about selling to people. Annabelle has some nice eyeshadows and blushes for the price point, but I'd skip their lip products.Shoppers Drug Mart carries Bourjois – it's a good brand, but pretty pricey considering it's meant to be a drugstore brand. Their liquid lipsticks are very nice, though.GOSH is a Danish brand that's exclusive to Shoppers in Canada. A step above drugstore pricing, but nice stuff; they have a lot of bright coloured eyeshadows, eyeliners, etc.You can also get some French brands at SDM – if you're interested in Bioderma at all now would be the time! (Though I guess you have to deal with liquid restrictions.) My suggestion is to find an SDM Beauty Boutique location, as they'll have more brands. However, every SDM should carry GOSH, Lise Watier, Marcelle, and Annabelle.Skip Quo, the Shoppers house brand. It's probably blasphemy that I'm saying this since I'm supposed to sell it, but I think the products are both overpriced and mediocre. Some of the Quo brushes are decent, though.Have fun in Toronto! I'm definitely biased since I've spent my whole life here (minus university), but I do love this city. And good luck with your presentation!


  5. Hey – new-ish reader here commenting for the first time. Just wanted to jump in and say that I actually LOVE Quo products, they have really buttery eyeshadows and lipsticks with interesting finishes. Annabelle is definitely a good try, I recommend their Twistup crayons – very thin, but saturated product which made colours I wouldn't think of wearing wearable. I also really like their blushes (circular pans) and the line of iridescent lip glosses. Marcella's Rouge Vitality Butterscotch has been a favourite lipstick of mine for sometime, and the rest of the line is good.I don't care for Joe Fresh though. Somehow never worked for me.have fun!


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