It's been nearly 15 years since Toronto-based MAC revolutionized the cosmetics industry with its neutral foundations, ultra-matte lipsticks, and its wide variety of shades for lips, cheeks, and eyes. Largely through buzz generated by beauty editors (and not through advertising), its products became in demand. The Estee Lauder Companies bought out MAC, and MAC has since become widely available in department stores and MAC mall stores throughout the U.S.
CARGO is another Canadian cosmetics company that found success in the U.S., largely through its distribution by Sephora.com. The Style Page especially likes CARGO'S selection of eyeshadows (its litmus test for a cosmetics line).
The Style Page recently came back from a trip to Canada, and would like to report on Canadian products that are not widely available in the U.S., at least not yet.
Two major Canadian pharmacy chains offer their exclusive lines of cosmetics: Shoppers Drug Mart (called Pharmaprix in Quebec) offers its own Quo cosmetics line, while Pharmacie Jean Coutu offers the Personnelle and Garraud Paris cosmetics lines. Pharmacie Jean Coutu has penetrated the U.S. market through its acquisition of over 1500 Eckerd drugstores from JC Penney, but there's no word of its exporting Personnelle and Garraud Paris to its Eckerd stores, which will retain the Eckerd banner (CVS purchased over 1200 Eckerd stores from JC Penney).
Marcelle is a mass market comsetics brand, available at both Pharmacie Jean Coutu and Shoppers Drug Mart. The Style Page picked up Marcelle's Soothing Eye Make-Up Remover Gel, which, despite the name, stung on contact. If the sting could be removed from this product, this would be a great product and much more convenient for travel than liquid eye makeup remover (The Style Page had the misfortune of having liquid eye makeup remover leak and stain her packed clothes). Groupe Marcelle purchased the Annabelle cosmetics line, which is also available through pharmacies.
Lise Watier is a Montreal-based makeup artist whose eponymous line is available both in department stores and drugstores. The Style Page picked up an eyeshadow single in Halo Mat, a light yellow, which brightens the eyes. In the U.S., her Neiges (Snow) fragrances may be purchased through Sephora.com.
Nacara is a cosmetics line from Montreal geared towards "women of color." It features highly-pigmented lipsticks and cream-to-powder makeup. The Style Page found Nacara at Pharmacie Jean Coutu
Dans un Jardin is a chain of perfumeries in Quebec and Ontario. The stores offers bath and body products and home fragrances under Dans un Jardin's own label, its own e&n (essence & nature) color cosmetics line, Decleor skin scare, and a wide variety of Lampe Berger fragrance-diffusing oil-burning lamps and parfums de maison (home fragrance) oils.
Fruits & Passion is another chain of perfumeries, with boutiques across Canada and in several foreign countries (but not, alas, the U.S.). In the U.S., Nordstrom sells some of its Cucina (kitchen) line of products in the beauty department. Fruits & Passion boutiques carry bath and body products, home fragrances, environmentally safe cleaning and laundry products, and even food products. The Style Page picked up maple jelly (how quintessentially Canadian!) with orange peel from Fruits & Passion's L'Art de la table collection.
The Style Page especially welcomes comments from its Canadian readers on Canadian beauty products.