Thursday, November 10th, 2011

By Sheila, 21, Canada, Global Contributor

Sheila is a Chinese-Canadian blogger in her early twenties with a passion for beauty. You can pretty much find her on Twitter at all waking hours of the day. She makes irrational judgments when it comes to purchasing decisions and would choose a $70 foundation over a $30 blouse any day.  For those who wonder, Sheila has dehydrated normal skin that occasionally breaks out. Her foundation shades are MAC NC25, Chanel B20 Beige Tendre and Guerlain #2. Check out her blog, Maddy Loves!

6 Must-Have Canadian Beauty Products

Canadian brands are often overshadowed by large American brands that do a better job of advertising their products in stores and in the media. However, these products made by Canadian brands are like hidden treasures: you will only find them if you look carefully, and once you’ve found them, you will never look back! Here are a couple of my favourite products made by Canadian brands…

Marcelle Hydra-C line was recently revamped. This line is targeted at girls in the 20s who want healthy, glowing skin. The star product, which I absolutely love, is the 24H Energizing Hydrating Gel. This jelly-like gel-crème provides my skin with the perfect amount of moisture but is light enough to not cause oiliness. It melts right into the skin with no residue and best of all, almost all of their products, including this one, are hypo-allergenic, perfume-free, alcohol-free, oil-free, paraben-free and alcohol-free–perfect for all skin types!

Annabelle Smoothliner is our drugstore’s answer to high-end eyeliner. This inexpensive alternative to Urban Decay’s 24/7 Eyeliner and Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Eyes, is smooth and creamy for easy application; it glides right onto the eyelid without any tugging. When worn on top of primer, this eyeliner is also long-wearing. It’s priced at 1/3 of its high-end equivalents, and Smoothliner is available in seven shades.

Joe Fresh Beauty is a young brand that is known for their simple packaging and relatively inexpensive prices. I love their Cream Lipstick. The quality, pigmentation, and wear are all fantastic. My favourite shade is Tulip, which is a dark watermelon pink that leans red. The packaging kind of reminds me of Shu Uemura, but at a much, much lower price.

Check out three more must-haves! 

Popular makeup sanitizer Beauty So Clean is one of the most useful things you can have in your makeup kit. This alcohol-based spray sanitizer is easy to use on all of your powder-based products and lipsticks; one or two spritzes are all that is required. They also have a specialized brush cleanser that you can use to quickly and efficiently clean your brushes. Because it is alcohol-based, it will evaporate within seconds and not damage the product. This is especially useful if you share makeup products with your friends or if you are a makeup artist (pro or amateur). I have the 250mL bottle… that is how much I love mine!

I have a fringe that constantly falls on my face when I’m washing my hair. I’ve tried hair clips, but they don’t get everything and some strands always find their way to my face, and terrycloth headbands, but since they come in contact with water regularly, I find that they’re too much of a hassle to keep bacteria-free. My latest discovery is hair velcro by Vancouver-based Magic Hair Pad. These are like the spikey side of velcro and work very well to keep hair in place without messing up your hairstyle. You just press them in place and they will stay; super convenient, if I must say! (Oops, that rhymes, I didn’t do it on purpose, I promise!)

I love to spend my Friday nights spread out on the couch with my remote, some cake, and a sheet mask on my face. Sheet masks are the perfect alternative to expensive facials at the salon; they are a sheet of cotton fibre or some other material soaked in beauty serum. You apply the mask over your clean face, let the serum absorb over anywhere between 10-30 minutes, and then massage in the leftovers; there is no need to rinse. Face masks come in a number of different formulas such as hydrating, brightening, acne-fighting or anti-aging. Canadian indy brand My Face Works produces them, but I also love the popular Taiwanese brand My Beauty Diary.

Check out more photos & swatches! 

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78 thoughts on “6 Must-Have Canadian Beauty Products

  1. Go Sheila! Great pics!

  2. Caroline F.

    Finally! some news about Canadian brands. Love to hear about us!!!
    I didn’t know about the Annabelle quality..Thank you! I will go & buy one at lunch. And I’m pleased to hear a review about Marcelle’s Hydra C.
    I’m a little dissapointed that the eyeliner was not a Lise Watier because they also have the quality & staying power…
    I really think that with M.A.C., Lise Watier is our great Canadian brand. Don’t you think?

    • I actually haven’t found a Lise Watier makeup product that I absolutely love. I’ve purchased them for my friends as “Canadian” presents (LOL at that) and they all love it but to me it has been so-so, which is why I didn’t talk about it.

      I used to absolutely love their hydrating skincare line, the one with the apples, but they’ve discontinued that *sad*

    • fiaspice

      I love Lise Watier Make up remover. I stock up on it when it’s the warehouse sale in Montreal.

      Anablle lipstick are also great.

      It’s nice to see some Canadian product featured.

      • Iris

        I have a lip stick from Anabelle in a vampy red shade that I absolutely love but it bleeds and feathers like no one’s business. Disappointing.

        I still keep it to work as a lip stain.

  3. torontogal

    I do agree with the smoothliners! I am indian and love eyeliners…and these are the best drugstore brand I’ve found. They are fabulous and just as good as urban decay ones…

  4. Vivian

    Weeeeee! Love the Canadian content! Just wanted to mention that Joe Fresh will be launching in NYC soon for those interested :)

  5. Angelic Mariposa Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ

    The Joe Fresh lipstick is in a similar tube as Shu Uemura :)

  6. Devi

    The Hydra-C looks good enough to eat in that pot! 😮

    Thanks for such a concise post! If I’m ever in Canada I would definitely check out the Joe lip products.

  7. The Annabelle Smoothliner i like their “matte” shades. I fins their shimmer ones skip a little with pigmentation but it’s build-able. Marcelle Hypo-Allergenic Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil in particular there new gemstone shades have wonderful glide and pigmentation for around $12.

    I have not tried Joe Fresh Beauty since there eyeshadows were just ok and the nail polishes should be avoided unless you like apply 5 costs. lol
    I’ll be tempted to try the Cream Lipstick so long as it dosen’t have the soapy taste to it. ^_^

    I introduced my friend to the Marcelle Hydra-C line last year with a holiday set they put out and she’s been hooked ever since.

    Personally feel every one should have a small travel bottle of the Beauty So Clean Mist for your own makeup use for only $5. At the very least you get to see how it works and the improvement made before committing to a full bottle.
    I personally LOVE their lipstick/cream sanitizer wipes as I find myself wanting to clean my lipstick palette and cream foundation/bases more often than not.

    • Beauty So Clean has a smaller bottle! You can see it here:

      I just bought the giant size because I got mine at IMATS.

    • Chantal

      I’ve had mixed results with the Joe Fresh nail polish as well, so I pretty much avoid them now. I was sucked in by a sale, but between the small size and the ridiculously awkward brush, there is no reason for me to try them again.

      EXCEPT! (Dramatic pause)

      They have a nice flakey which, as Canadians, we don’t always have easy access to. Shipping polish from international websites is really expensive; I have to save up and make rare, super large orders in order to make it worthwhile. So if you’re looking for a cheap flakey, check out the shade Twilight. When the polishes go on sale I pick up a bunch for international swaps. :)

  8. Ludwig

    Hey Sheila, where do you find the sheet masks in Canada?

    • You can get My Face Works masks online here: and in store in the stores listed here:

      They are a little bit more expensive though, at $55 for a box of 6.

      For a more inexpensive alternative, I really like My Beauty Diary and My Scheming, which are both Taiwanese brands. You can get Asian brand sheet masks here: (you can get 10% off your order of $20+ with the code MADDYLOVES, I don’t get commission if you use the code).

      The Asian boxed masks are usually much cheaper at less than $20 for a box of 10 masks. Hope that helped!

    • Ooops I forgot to mention. If you live near a T&T supermarket, they also sell sheet masks for under $15 for a box of 10. It is a lot more convenient and there is a wide selection too!

      • Linnea

        Yeah T&T markets!! I’ve always wanted to try some of the masks sold here.. now I know what ones to look for! Thanks Sheila!

  9. angela

    i am definitly checking out the eyeliner and lipstick you mentioned! i hope we can find them in the US or online. thanx

    • Kat

      Joe Fresh Style just opened their first US store on Fifth Avenue :) not sure if they have their beauty line there…

  10. Nikki

    I love this! It’s great having a Canadian’s perspective on the beauty world – especially since I’m Canadian and can’t get my hands on lots of American products!

  11. Justine

    This is fantastic! Great job! The Joe stuff is so awesome. I have a few products from them and they work great! Yay Canada!!

  12. Vicki

    The new nail polish line by Quo, available at Shopper’s Drug Mart, Quo by Orly is AMAZING! So are the Joe Fresh Nail Polishes.

  13. Great article! I have heard good things about Annabelle. Will have to check them out next time I’m visiting my family in Toronto

  14. Thank you so much for this post. I am really interested in the Magic Hair Pads. I always straighten my hair before putting on my makeup and loath the crease I get when I pull my hair back to wash my face or put on makeup. THANK YOU!

  15. Kat

    YAY CANADA! Joe Fresh is an AMAZING brand. I can’t get enough of it. The clothing is awesome, at an even more awesome price. And the beauty is SO FUN!
    Check it:
    FYI: they just opened their first US boutique on Fifth Avenue in NYC!

  16. Lianne

    LOVE Annabelle liners. They also have decent eyeshadows that can be purchased in pans so you can put them in mac palettes and quads.

    I’m also suprised to see no mention of QUO. LOVE LOVE LOVE their brushes. And their fall wood-like packaging was super cute.

    • I love their pan eyeshadows too!! I didn’t mention that but I will next time. So inexpensive but wear/feel just like MAC ones.

      I didn’t think of Quo brushes, but that is a good add for next time too. I always get them on sale because they get really inexpensive during sale times.

      So many awesome products… so little time =)

  17. Heather

    LOVING the Canadian content – thank you!

    I am, however, very surprised to see Beauty So Clean on this list… I was provided with some samples of each product when the line launched (the sanitizing wipes, brush cleanser and sanitary spray) The brush cleanser left my brushes horribly dehydrated and didnt remove makeup and the wipes seemed to melt most of my lipstick/ lipliner/ eyeliners away when I wiped them, not to mention it will take the finish off any plastic packaging! In theory they seem like good products but I find that plain old rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle does the trick for my powder products and dipping creamy products like lipstick into alcohol is just as efficient and doesn’t melt away the product. Also… the smell is horrible and really lingers on brushes. The sanitary spray was the least offending but after such bad experiences with the other products I would NEVER purchase or even use them again. In fact, I only kept the wipes and used them to clean scuff marks off of my baseboards from shoes! Wondering if anyone else had the bad experience I did…. Beauty So Clean seems to be popping up everywhere lately and I wonder if they just have a good marketing team or if some people actually like their products…

    For any other Canadians out there I would recommend the Quo brush cleanser… Super cheap, only $11 and it is the BEST brush shampoo I have ever used. As a makeup artist, it is super important to me that my brushes are left properly cleansed and SOFT as most of my brushes are natural fibres. I was SO impressed and shocked that a drug store brand gave such amazing results! I have tried many many brush cleansers and this one by far is my favourite. It’s so amazing that I love spreading the word about it and it’s CANADIAN!

    Also…MAC is a Canadian brand…..just saying

    Sorry for the novel :)

    • Hi Heather! I didn’t know you had to wipe off your lipstick/makeup after spraying Beauty So Clean! I was just told to spray it and then just let it dry, which I do, and there aren’t any problems after I do that.

      Thanks for letting me know about Quo brush cleaner! I will have to check that out.

      • Heather

        Hi Sheila
        Maybe my post was a little unclear…. the spray you can let evaporate but I’m talking about those little pre-moistened wipes…Maybe they don’t make them anymore? My experience was about 3 years ago!

    • Chantal

      Thanks for your input about Beauty So Clean — I always like hearing both sides of the story before making purchasing decisions. :)

      As to MAC, they used to be a Canadian brand but are now under foreign ownership. If the leadership isn’t Canadian, is the brand still Canadian?

      (Maybe I wouldn’t be splitting hairs about it if I didn’t harbor deep resentment against their Canadian pricing. Paying more than Americans even when our currency is strong? Grr!!)

      Don’t get me wrong; I’ve been a diehard MAC girl since the 90s! I’m more careful about my purchases nowadays, though; they launch so many new product lines and L.E. collections that there are duds alongside great products. But they’re still my go-to for colour cosmetics. And with a great website and lots of free shipping offers, they have this car-less Canadian girl’s undying loyalty!

      • yeah… MAC is still Made in Canada, so there is no reason why it’s more expensive here than in the US!

        • Iris

          FYI, MAC belongs to Estee Lauder group so even if most of the products are made in Canada, they still have to pay the duties and extra etc to sell products in Canada.

          Crocs were once a Canadian brand name.

  18. Lizzi

    I’m so happy to see you on Temptalia’s team! I’ve got French Canadian heritage and I agree, Canadian brands tend to get overshadowed by American ones. I mean MAC does standout of course, but you’ve given credit where it’s due for these “unknown” brands. There are certain Canadian brands I buy and for their genre I’d say the absolute best. I love Lululemon Athletica for my gym clothes over most anything I could find at Dick’s and LUSH can’t be beat. I’m def going get some of those hair pads. My haircut its layered to wear it’s covering the bra band in the back, but about chin level in the front. Makes it very difficult and not effective for pinning it up when I need to for cooking, washing my face, etc. These sound great! Now, does the face cream have any anti-acne properties or is it mostly just a moisturizer? I’m very interested in that product.

    • The Marcelle Hydra-C gel is just a moisturizing gel, but it is very light (but still moisturizing) so you can easily wear it over any acne medication.

      Canadian brands are the best =)

  19. Lilastar

    Fantastic Post. Thank you! It is a great idea to include a few posts for Canada-specific beauty products!

  20. Magic hair pad ! Interesting!!!!!
    And those lipsticks look so cool! Love the packaging

  21. Yay Sheila! If it is a must-have for her, I must try!

  22. SA

    Thank you for this post!! It’s great to see Canadian content on here :)

  23. Liz

    Did you try the My Face Works masks? I was tempted to, but heard nothing but horrible things about them. Plus, they’re just so absurdly expensive…

    • I actually haven’t tried them, I prefer Asian brand masks. The only reason I mentioned them was because they are Canadian, but I definitely love my Asian masks.

      I’ve actually heard a couple of good things about them! Too bad they aren’t that good… sad because they’re a brand from Vancouver too =(

      • Emily

        Not to be rude or anything but please only recommend products that you’ve tested before. Thank goodness that someone’s brought up the fact that My Face Works has had many bad reviews or I could’ve ended up wasting my money or something. I do appreciate all your other suggestions though! Will definitely check out the Hydra-C lotion!


    • You can get sheet masks on Artie Beauty & Cosmetics here: and use the code MADDYLOVES for 10% off your order of $20+ (I don’t get commission). If you know someone who lives in Canada, you can ask them to help you buy it then send it to you. That’s usually what I do for items only available elsewhere =)

  25. Tricia

    these are amazing, i am especially interested in the makeup sanitizer, velcro things, and the lipsticks. are there any places where these can be found online in the USA?

  26. Yayy Sheila! 😀

    Justine sent we a Joe Fresh blushes that I’m excited to try! And the Marcelle hydrating gel sounds really good! xx

  27. Lulu

    yay go Sheila! I want to try Beauty So Clean!!!

  28. Joanne

    Yes, I love Joe Fresh!
    I haven’t tried their lipsticks, I’ll go check those out soon :)

  29. Kat

    Great post! I love reading about products that are from other countries. It’s great to learn about them and helps me to decide what I’d like to get.

  30. Martha

    Love to hear about us!! Indeed, Joe Fresh it has some very good lipsticks, I personally like the matte ones, pigmentation is extremely good. Great post!! Yay Canada!!

  31. Mariella

    What…no Lise Watier eye pencils (especially the Eye Shine ones and especially Smoky Brown!!!) I love her eye pencils! And they have a great facial sun screen that isn’t heavy or greasy and feels more like a primer.

  32. Martha

    One of my favorite Canadian products are the Quo Brushes!! Hopefully we’ll hear about it in a next post :) Cheers Sheila!

  33. vicky

    Go sheila, great article! I have no chance to get any of these since I live in Europe but I love the way you write!

  34. Ana

    Hey where would you buy the Magic Hair Pads from vancouver?

  35. Vanessa

    The “Magic Hair Pads” and the Beauty Diary masks makes this seem like more of an Asian product post- not that I’m complaining. These are super easy to get in Hong Kong. :)

  36. Hareem

    I have never tried the Annabelle products, they just never looked like good quality. Thanks for the post comparing it to the high end liners, I will definitely check this out :)

  37. Ruthless

    The beauty sanitizer brand is highly overrated. I’ve had salespeople at the bay try to push it on me-a 4 dollar spray bottle of 90 percent isopropol (sic) alcohol does the same job.

  38. Madeleine

    my beauty diary masks are awesome! they are easy and refreshing!! I just went on and got heaps! all different scent! can’t get enough of them… :)

  39. Kary

    Ugh! Yes! I love me some Joe Fresh polishes too! Every time my brother goes to Canada I make sure he brings me AT LEAST a couple! My favorite is Twilight! :)