Friday, March 9, 2012

Canada Sightings

Going with the theme of super backlogged posts, I`ll write about my impressions about Canadian drugstores when I visited Canada for the second time this past winter break (I realize it`s March now <-fail).

During the three weeks I stayed there, I visited approximately 20 drugstores probably a total of 40 times, so yeh, you could say I have some experience there. ;) I'm surprised my bf wanted to stay my bf after he accompanied me on all these trips. He did say it was the most times he's ever visited the drugstore in his life, lol.

The feature that really stood to me from regular American drugstore beauty aisles were the department store-like displays of higher-end makeup. There's usually a salesperson who works specifically in the beauty section, which is a little intimidating when you just want to browse in your sweats!

Jean Coutu Displays
Here are some of Jean Coutu's displays. Jean Coutu is a regional pharmacy chain in Quebec. Based on the layout and feel of the place, the American counterpart to Jean Coutu would be Rite Aid, which makes sense because Jean Coutu owns shares in Rite Aid.

Jean Coutu is probably my favorite drugstore there, because the prices are the lowest that I've ever seen (besides Walmart of course). Other pharmacies like Shoppers (Pharmaprix in Quebec) and Rexall have crazy markups. And Jean Coutu has great sales.

Look at all them sale tags *drools* Marcelle (seen below) is a homegrown Canadian beauty brand that gets a lotta love from beauty bloggers, especially for their lipstick line and their exciting new  BB cream release.

Holiday make gift set complete with sequined bag on clearance!

Felt really bad that I didn't wait for a sale to buy these awesome lippies. They usually retail $11.95, score!

A LE Marcelle collection (probably gone by the time I'm writing this :/ ) They have testers. JEALOUS


EcoTools Retractable Foundation Brush, have yet to see this in-person in the States
Jean Coutu had a house brand called Personnelle. Check out the shimmer atomizers in the back!

A close-up, so gorgeous!

A cool feature of Canadian drugstores is that some American brands like Revlon and Almay seem to release their new collections much earlier in Canada, by several weeks or months. It's like companies use Canada as their own test market!

I spotted this display a few weeks before it showed up in the US
Another feature I love about Canadian drugstores is their abundance of testers. Regular brands like Revlon and L'oreal actually have testers for their foundation and eye shadows, which is awesome, so you don't have to guess when you pick out foundations. US drugstores, are you paying attention?!

Pharmacies like Rexall and Shoppers have rows upon rows of high end skincare complete with testers. I notice they import a lot of French beauty brands. Once I went into a Shoppers and slathered dozens of expensive creams all over my face, because I forgot to moisturize. Free stuff is the best, I have no shame. :D

Hyaluronic acid serum display at Rexall, you best believe I took advantage of that tester!

Outside of drugstores, I was really interested in the Joe Fresh brand, which is a brand sold exclusively at Loblaws and Maxi grocery stores. Their new spring collection looks so amazing that I must find a way to get my hands on the orange lippies!

These grocery stores are huge, it's more like a Kmart with a bigger food section!

Yes, there's an extensive clothing section in a grocery store :O

Their large makeup aisle
 Some snaps of Joe Fresh cosmetics. I've read good things on their lipstick, blush, and nail polish.

Joe Fresh display

More displays, check out the customizable palettes and nail polish!

Cream blushes

Powder blushes

Cream highlighters

LE cream highlighter palette

A closer look. Yay, another tester!
I realize the prices are surprisingly expensive for a house brand. One unfortunate thing about Canadian drugstores is that the prices are noticeably higher for both their domestic and international beauty brands. I guess the prices would be ok if the US dollar wasn't so weak. But things being the way they are, Canadian hauls are a wee bit painful, not that it stopped me from indulging of course!

You can even get your dose of Asian beauty brands in Canada. There's a Asian grocery chain called T&T Supermarket with locations in British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario. It's like 99 Ranch Market on crack with an extensive bakery and deli section, which is an absolute necessity because Asian food in Ottawa is positively grim.

Burr, I forgot how cold it was!

This was the best Chinese restaurant I could find in the Ottawa area :/
Wait, what was I talking about? Oh right, beauty. Sorry about that!

The ubiquitous My Beauty Diary Masks

My Beauty Diary sleeping masks and eye masks at a crazy markup, of course
If you made it through all my rambling, congrats! You win a million brownie points (which is worth CAD $0, sorry).

Now that I've written this up, maybe I should finish up that Canadian haul post that I started in 2010. Yeh, I'm that bad.

Did any products pique your interest? Any Canadian experiences of your own to share? Your thoughts!

Happy Friday!

Let's end with this.

In Canada, cardboard Justin Beiber is always watching you. Always


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