I think 2016 will be known as the year I fall in true love with THEFACESHOP. Ever since I was introduced last year I have been obsessed with their innovative products, so when I had the opportunity to visit their brand new store in Vaughan Mills last week I was thrilled. A day spent looking at skincare and makeup is a great day, in my books!
Vaughan Mills, for those who live outside of the province, is a mall/tourist destination about a half hour drive from Toronto. It’s built in a massive “loop” formation that means you can walk, shop, and eat for days without ever stepping outside. What’s really exciting about this mall is that it is always changing. Last year I wrote about the Caryl Baker Visage store that opened there, and today I am writing about a section of the mall that didn’t even exist then!
THEFACESHOP has been in Vaughan Mills for the last 2 years, and this spring it relocated to the new location under a new name. Nature Collection is a hybrid between LG’s THEFACESHOP brand of Korean skincare and their acquired Fruits & Passion label, which focuses on body and home products (originally from Montreal). Both ranges are carried separately in the store under original packaging, but the Nature Collection staff is trained on both. 25 other THEFACESHOP corporate stores will be converted into the new duos, according to the official press release.
During my visit I met Alice and Elen, two of the sweetest girls in the industry for sure. While answering my questions and posing for pictures in their cute green and white tunics, they managed to still help the few customers who wandered in at 2 PM on a weekday. If you get the chance to visit, make sure to say hello! They are so passionate about what they do, and truly believe in the products they recommend (without commission, it is worth noting).
The new store has wide aisles, bright lighting, a table for consultations and colourful displays that make it easy to navigate, loaded with product and fresh testers. While many of THEFACESHOP’s products are inspired by Korean trends, all the signage is in English. Everyone is welcome, no matter what background – there is even a special section for men (we’ll get to that). While she taught me about the products, Elen also gave me insight about how Korean and Western ideas of beauty are different. She started at THEFACESHOP as a regular client with problem skin, and after two years with the company her skin is even and clear (makeup on fleek, too!).
You may have heard about the 15-step Korean skincare routine, which seems excessive but actually makes sense when you break it down. Korean skincare, Elen teaches me, is all about layering and partnering products to maximize results (with a focus on moisturizing, brightening and anti-aging – never self tanning). You start with properly cleansing skin, preferably with two different products to get every last bit of dirt and oil off. The Rice Water line is the most popular for this purpose, because you have options to choose from: Cleansing Water, Cream, Milk, Tissue, Foam and Oil (in Rich or Light varieties). Rice extract and bran oil are main ingredients in this line, demonstrating the company’s dedication to using real ingredients in their products, which are made in Korea. You can even find products with no added fragrance.
Afterwards it is important to use a mask that targets your skin’s concerns and type, and there is no shortage to choose from. The basic selection of REAL NATURE sheet masks retails for about $2, making them an affordable treat. You can also try a Mascream mask, which addresses the top layer of skin, an overnight mask or a Modelling Gel Patch to pull and tighten. It’s a mask lover’s heaven!
When we get to the next step, I admit to Elen that I have no clue what the difference between an emulsion and essence is and why I need either (or both). She explains that it goes back to layering – an essence is an introductory serum before a heavyweight one, and an emulsion is a watery lotion that goes on before a thicker cream. Makes sense? She also shows me a selection of facial mists intended to do everything from set makeup to boost radiance and firmness. The skin on my hand is so hydrated it is glowing after trying everything! With the products I already know and love and all the new innovations, I’m sure I could easily put together my own complicated regimen.
When it comes to skincare and makeup, I am told that in Korean culture men are just as involved as women. One gentlemen even works in the store with the girls. The only real feature in the specific men’s range is a pleasant aroma, but the products are just as effective as any of the others.
Before I go we touch up on the makeup, which features fun colours for lips and lots of “cushion” technology, which you dab instead of wipe. Defined brows are also a focus, as are big bold lashes. Of the Fruits & Passion label, which I’m not as familiar with, Elen tells me it is more popular with people in their forties and fifties. The Cucina collection is the most popular, because it is strong enough to remove potent cooking smells from dishes and skin (a must-have in the kitchen). It makes sense for the two brands to be together, as they both focus on incorporating nature into affordable products with lots of variety.
I leave the store feeling so much more knowledgeable than before, and confident that I will return not only to shop but also to try a mini facial or full makeover (free with $35 purchase, using in-house synthetic brushes). If you’re in the Greater Toronto Area, I highly recommend you do, too. Thank you again to Alice and Elen, as well as Miri, Mia and Kevin for organizing the tour!
*Prices true at time of writing.
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