For most of us, a quick trip to beauty-giant Sephora checks everything makeup and beauty-related off our list, a one-stop-shop for everything from primer to perfume and all the beauty blenders in-between. But what if we told you that you were missing out on some of the best beauty brands out there, all because your makeup headquarters doesn’t stock them? You may want to sit down for this — we’re taking you through the best beauty brands you CAN’T find at Sephora!
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dew of the gods
Proudly LGBTQ+-owned, the brand is created by employee no. 2 at Kylie Cosmetics, Toronto-born Ryan Dubs. This TikTok cult fave line is all about fun, effective products that will brighten up the average day. Ryan's mission is to bring integrity, transparency and a love for what he does to uplift anyone into that stratosphere.
We Suggest:The Essentials Set is a simple and affordable way to sample the line and discover your next favourites. Case in point: the Filla Collagen Undereye Volumizing Pads. These are sure to become a staple ahead of any dew-it-up event.
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The brand aims to create the most effective, fundamental and complete skincare products that are timeless. Bella Aura's products include ingredients such as lichen, moss and fern.
We Suggest:Try the Rapid Repair Clarifying Elixir. It's an 8-in-1 skin-soothing tonic, infused with restorative antioxidants, micro silver, norwegian spruce and balloon vine, it deeply clarifies, soothes, and hydrates.
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The 100 per cent vegan and cruelty-free brand is also an excellent, affordable option for those looking for clean cosmetics only. You can find it at your local drug store, health food store and online.
We Suggest:The Stellar Gaze Eyeshadow Palette offers beautiful colour combos to help you create stellar results. Vegan and cruelty-free, the packaging is also recyclable. Ingredients include mica and Vitamin E, and offer 28-mineral shades – from punched up pastels, to dreamy neutrals, to matte and shimmer finishes. Best part? The palette shades are talc-free, blendable and pigmented to help you create the dreamiest looks.
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This Canadian brand makes good-for-you skincare products that are simple and effective. Founder Graydon Moffat took her culinary skills as a vegan chef, and combined her background in holistic wellness to formulate topical products with superfood ingredients. The result is her powerfully natural, namesake line of face, body and hair care products. Products are dermatologist- and clinically-tested, vegan, cruelty-free, hypoallergenic and non-irritating even to the most sensitive skin.
We Suggest:You can't go wrong with Graydon Skincare's Clean Beauty Starter Kit. You get great value for products such as their fan-favourite Full Moon Serum, their Skin Stuff Face + Eye Ceramide Cream, unscented Face Foam cleanser and a bamboo charcoal sponge.
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Trinny London is finally available in Canada. Created by makeover expert Trinny Woodall, this modern, do-it-anywhere beauty line is made to keep up with you. Multi-purpose and stackable, the products are not only effective and beautiful, but also won't take up a tonne of space in your purse as you move through your day. You can choose from a wide selection of makeup and now the brand is also launching its line of refillable exfoliants.
We Suggest:The Smoky Eye stack allows you to customize and select your ideal EYE2EYE shades, and one each LIP2CHEEK and SHEER SHIMMER shades. And you can keep stacking as needed.
You may also like: These are the skincare products our editors are obsessed with.
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This Canadian brand not only offers an array of editor-favourite wellness products, but has now also expanded to include skincare as well. With a focus on clean, good-for-you-ingredients, you'll not only look great on the outside, but feel great inside too.
We Suggest:Saje's Fresh Faced Mini Facial Kit brings you all you need to get started on-the-go. It includes a Detox Mode Clay Mask, Glow On Face Oil and a konjac washcloth.
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You've likely already come across Quo products while perusing the aisles of Shoppers Drug Mart, as it has been the retail giant's exclusive cosmetic line since launching in 1999. Quo manages to deliver high-quality fashion forward products at an affordable price point, making it so much easier to keep up with the latest beauty trends.
We Suggest:With the Quo Beauty Eyeshadow Palette, you can create an endless array of looks. The classic colours work with any skin tone, and can help you create either bold, dramatic smokey-eye effects, or more neutral, everyday looks.
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U Beauty brings a line of award-winning, celeb-approved, multi-tasking products that are science-based and sustainable. Female-, WOC-founded, the skincare line offers premium products manufactured in 100 per cent green-powered facilities.
We Suggest:U Beauty's The SCULPT Arm Compound is a great addition to your skincare arsenals to help you look after some possibly-overlooked body parts. The concentrate visibly tones and sculpts your arms, and feels great during colder, drying months.
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Black-owned UnSun Cosmetics was created to fill a gap in the market where women were looking for clean, no-residue products for their darker skin tones. Instead of the frustrating white cast that most sunscreens leave, these products come in tinted colours to seamlessly blend into a variety of skintones.
We Suggest:Their Mineral Tinted Face Sunscreen. Winning Allure’s Best of Beauty Award in 2019, this 100% mineral sunscreen serves as both a primer and colour corrector. So whether you’re wearing makeup or not, this sunscreen will always be useful.
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The Lip Bar
The Lip Bar was created to shatter standards of beauty in more ways that one. With its vibrant, fearless shades and focus on diversity, this beauty line stands out among its competitors. The Lip bar has expanded to include an assortment of products from foundations to eyeshadows.
We Suggest:Their Fresh Glow 2-Layer Bronzer + Blush Duos. These duos give you a bronzer and blush combo curated by skin tone. They take the thinking out of finding two products that perfectly compliment each other to give you that coveted sun-kissed glow.
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Coloured Raine wasn’t just founded by a black woman, it’s a small company that’s made up purely of people of colour. The idea of employing people of colour is so important to the company that they work with an American manufacturer that’s also comprised of mostly people of colour. Shopping with this brand ensures that you’re investing in the minority community.
We Suggest:Their Tootsie Lipstick. It’s a luscious dark chocolate lipstick that looks good on any skin tone, not to mention that it’ll stay put all day.
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The Crayon Case
Launched in 2017, The Crayon Case is a colourful makeup brand has already seen viral success on social media. With products that will hit you with instant school-age nostalgia, the brand is most known for their eyeshadow palettes inspired by a box of crayons. If you’re looking for a makeup line that will inspire your inner creativity, look no further.
We Suggest:Their Box of Crayons Palette. Packed with intense, bright colours — this palette is the one you need for bold looks that will turn heads.
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Los Angeles-based cosmetic company Sugarpill is cruelty-free, mostly vegan and oh-so-cute. The packaging is to die for and you can expect high-impact pigmentation from all their products.
We Suggest:Try their liquid lipsticks for bright and bold lips that won't budge.
You may also like: Jelly Nails are the perfect nail trend for spring.
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The Face Shop
K beauty lovers rejoice! Korean beauty staple The Face Shop is widely available in Canada.
We Suggest:The face masks are a solid staple that you'll always need in your beauty wardrobe. Also be sure to try out the cushion foundations — they are seriously underrated and provide a flawless, dewy finish.
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Fans of long-wear, highly-pigmented shades will love this cult favourite, which holds up against many higher-end brands and comes at a fraction of the cost. Find it online as they ship worldwide.
We Suggest:If you’ve been curious about the Kylie Cosmetics line, then you’ll want to try Colourpop’s matte lippie in brink, a shade inspired by the beauty entrepreneur herself. It has been rumoured that her pricier products were developed by the same manufacturers behind Colourpop, so don’t be surprised if the consistency and shades are similar... if not identical.
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Creator of Pixi, Petra Strand, has been working in the makeup field for over 20 years and created Pixi just over a decade ago with multi-tasking makeup in mind. As a mother of four, she understood the value in products that work for the woman on the go. All about enhancing natural beauty, the Pixi line is one that focuses on bringing out the best in you, with minimal effort and time.
We Suggest:The Facial Glow tonic, which helps to even tone while firming and tightening the skin.
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An online-exclusive, Makeup Geek is so much more than a beauty retailer. It’s an online one-stop-shop where you can get inspired, learn from tutorials, browse looks that range from beginner to advanced, and of course, shop!
We Suggest:With the Eighties trending hard right now, you can't go wrong with these intensely-hued shades of Foiled Eyeshadow that you can bundle into a custom palette.
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The Balm Cosmetics
The Balm are all about “beauty in under 5 minutes” – and we are all over that philosophy too. But is it possible? The Balm sure thinks so offering up multi-purpose products that pack a punch via their online store. Based on the idea that all you need for a speedy – yet flawless – beauty regimen is a few great products, The Balm did their homework and completely re-worked what we know about multi-use makeup. Did we mention the brand is also 100% paraben and cruelty-free?
We Suggest:Check out their Bahama-Mama bronzer/shawdow/contour compact. This triple-threat bronzer not only gives you a fresh-from-vacay glow, but also works as a contour and matte brown eye shadow.
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In case you didn't already know, we'll let you in on a little secret. Hard Candy is manufactured in the same facilities as pricey cosmetic brands, so you're getting the same high quality makeup at a fraction of the cost. Why pay more for your beauty goods if you don't have to? Plus, this makeup line is available exclusively at Walmart stores across Canada, so finding it is a breeze.
We Suggest:The Sheer Envy Blurring Primer is a lightweight, silky liquid-to-powder formula. At just $8 a tube, it makes applying your foundation and concealer so much easier, thus drastically minimizing skin imperfections overall.
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This fan-favourite beauty brand known for their fun, uncomplicated products hasn't always shipped to Canada, but now you can get their products straight to your mailbox in as little as three business days.
We Suggest:You'll LOVE their tried-and-true Boy Brow grooming pomade – the mascara-type applicator works to thicken, shape and fill brows. The creamy wax formula will get you dreamy "natural-looking" brows in a flash!
Written ByDragana Kovacevic and Susy Alexandre