I knew that I was on to something special when I opened the bright red media kit I’d received and found a can of 100% pure coconut water. And indeed, Caryl Baker Visage’s spring 2015 collection, titled Tropical Retreat, is very special. From exotic colours for the eyes, face and lips to innovative products you can’t find anywhere else, this Canadian company delivered big time.
Founded in 19691, this cosmetics and skin care retailer offers clients the best of the best; gentle treatments that luxuriate the spirit and body and gorgeous products that help to accentuate the natural beauty within, all without breaking the bank. Not only did I get the chance to sample key products from the range, but I also had the pleasure of visiting their new flagship store in the Greater Toronto Area for a fun experience that you can watch in the video below.
Seven eye shadows, four lipsticks, four lip liners, four eyeliners, and two blushes make this one extensive collection, so I’ll highlight a few key products to check out. For the eyes, the 1.5 g shadows come in individual compacts that are perfect for on-the-go or popping into a customized palette. Infused with mango seed butter, a natural protector against UV rays2, they also do good while looking fabulous. From the Tropical Retreat range: Bikini Bottom (cue internal 90s kid squealing), a terracotta color with a golden sheen, Let’s Luau, a plum-y brown matte (and a great transition shade in the crease), and Pearl, a shimmery antique silver. The shadows retail for $182 a pop, and can be used with the Eye Prime Perfection, a transparent primer that’s crease-proof and extends longevity.
For the face I fell in love with Pink Flamingo, the collection’s only pressed powder blush ($22.503). There is a cream-based option called Lei’d, but I’m not a fan of layering cream products and for now I’m rather partial to my liquid foundations. Pink Flamingo is the perfect coral shade for men and women as the weather heats up; a light hand will give you the appearance of having spent the last hour exercising, rather than running a Netflix marathon (and don’t bother lying!). Now is also a good time to mention the packaging, which although identical to the normal collection, is professional and sturdy. Matte black plastic is the norm here, with clear tops that allow the shades to shine. Each eye shadow and blush is individually packaged in store, showing a level of attention to detail you just don’t find at other retailers.
Sometimes in spring and summer all you need to go out is some lip gloss and a killer winged liner. Give the new gel eye liners a try with stunning shades to choose from, including the vibrant copper hues of Penny Lane, the mystic purples of Aloha, and the deep ocean tones of Peacock. Apply with an angled brush and a steady hand, and prepare for some smudge- and water-proof action ($214).
Besides the Caryl Baker Visage brand that is sold in stores and online, the chain also carries three other cosmetics brands. One of them is Xtreme Lashes Cosmetics, a company known for the semi-permanent eyelash extensions they offer. This service, available at Caryl Baker Visage, was in hot demand in prom season earlier this spring. If you’re not ready for the commitment of extensions, the Length & Volume mascara might be a good option to try, as I found out. The inconspicuous brush delivers a powerful punch, without clumps, flakes or smudges.
After being impressed by the collection it was time to head to Vaughan Mills mall. This gigantic shopping centre is in fact a tourist destination, making it perfect for Caryl Baker Visage’s new flagship location, or Luxury Face Spa. The store gleams with well-lit mirrors and clean surfaces, and the staff is knowledgeable and well-trained. I met with Anna Koniaris, a lovely lady who is the National Expert for Visage Cosmetics. She walked me through their new service, HD Brows, and introduced me to Melissa Piazza, a Face Expert within the location. In Melissa’s capable hands (CBV staff undergo substantial training – 1,000 hours, in fact5) I had my eyebrows waxed and tinted for the first time (!), got them filled in with the Brow Extender, had my eyelashes tinted, and got a full makeup application. That night I left the store feeling radiant, and am confident that a 30-minutes visit to Caryl Baker Visage will convince you that a lunchtime makeover is really what you need to break out of a rut. You can learn more about everything I just mentioned in the video linked above. Unfortunately I had to cut out much of Melissa’s wisdom to avoid ending with a three-hours long video, but take my word that this lively woman knows a lot about skincare and makeup, and might just teach you a thing or two. (Or twenty!)
Verdict: Caryl Baker Visage may be flying under the radar for many makeup junkies, but I’m determined to change that. This company’s ethics and aesthetics are a welcome change, and I know that they will be seeing me in 4-6 weeks for a cleanup. In the meantime, I’ll be impatiently waiting to see what they come up with next – summer collection, anyone? My gratitude to Anna, Melissa, and the rest of the Vaughan Mills team for welcoming me into the CBV family.
1Caryl Baker Visage: Franchise Info
2Caryl Baker Visage: Tropical Retreat Eye Shadows. Prices true at time of writing.
3Caryl Baker Visage: Pink Flamingo Powder Blush. Prices true at time of writing.
4Caryl Baker Visage: Gel Eye Liners. Prices true at time of writing.
5Face Experts Vaughan: Visage