Want to support local brands and look good doing it?
Ontario is home to many women-owned beauty brands that are working to make the industry to be more inclusive, sustainable and cruelty-free.
Supporting small beauty businesses will not only empower and support female entrepreneurs across Ontario but also help local economies to thrive. Even better is purchasing products from companies that you can feel good about supporting.
Listed below are 10 beauty brands to look out for.
In 2015, Jenn Harper, an Anishinaabe-Canadian from St. Catharines, Ont. awoke in the middle of the night with the idea to start making lip gloss.
At the time, Harper was working in sales and marketing in the food industry and was a few months sober from an eight-year struggle with alcoholism, according to her interview with InStyle. She was also coming to terms with generational trauma as an Indigenous woman.
With dedication and commitment to her vision, Harper launched her makeup brand Cheekbone in 2016. Cheekbone Beauty aims to help Indigenous youth feel represented within the beauty industry. After featuring on the CBC show Dragon’s Den in 2019, the brand gained massive popularity.
For those who have sensitive skin and want to protect it at all costs, Sade Baron is a beauty brand worth jotting down.
Ever since she was a child, Sade suffered from eczema and dry skin. Using the natural remedies suggested by her grand-aunt, Sade discovered the power of homemade oil infusions and skin products.
Passing down her knowledge to her daughter Rachel, the duo decided to take their skin solutions even further by offering their products to the public at a booth at Toronto’s Veg Fest.
One of the brand’s bestsellers is All Moi, a multipurpose balm that hydrates and relieves cracked skin with its nourishing formula containing apricot kernel oil, cocoa butter and Vitamins A, C and E.
In 2016, the brand officially launched and started selling all-natural, plant-infused bar soaps. All of their products use 100 per cent vegan formulas and are made in small batches by hand.
Sade Baron products can be bought at the Detox Market or online at the brand’s site.
Cake Beauty is a brand that Elle Woods would be on-board with. The pretty pink packaging and sweet-scented goodies are not only ultra-feminine but made from natural, cruelty-free ingredients.
Founder Heather Reier from Kitchener, Ont., wanted to build a company that embodied playfulness while still being kind to the planet and animals.
As a bonus, compared to most other beauty brands, Cake Beauty products are reasonably priced and accessible to many folks regardless of their budget.
Cake Beauty hair, skin and body products are available for purchase at most pharmacies and grocery stores in Canada.
Province Apothecary was born out of a passion for bringing a holistic approach to skincare.
After trials and tribulations with conventional steroids and treatments to try and heal her eczema, Julie Clark decided to take matters into her own hands. She created a healing eczema balm that uses a gentle formula to nourish the skin and body, reducing inflammation.
To minimize the environmental impact of their products, the brand offers a unique recycling incentive. Local customers can drop off their empties in-store or ship them back to Pact’s Collection Facility.
Today, customers can find a variety of dermatologically-tested skincare products for every skin type, including luxe face masks, via the brand’s site.
Nudestix is a global makeup brand with roots in Ontario. Jenny Frankel, along with her two daughters Taylor and Ally are the women behind the company and its coveted multitasking makeup sticks.
All three women come from different generations providing perspectives from women of varying ages, which has undoubtedly contributed to the brand’s success.
The brand aims to make makeup simple — something that enhances each individual’s unique face. Nudestix offers clean on-the-go beauty with their popular makeup sticks, which can be used as lipstick, eyeshadow and blush. No need to carry several different beauty products in your bag.
A simple swipe of lipstick is an effortless way to elevate any outfit.
Susanne Langmuir, the founder of Toronto-based BITE Beauty, has mastered the art of crafting dreamy, highly-pigmented lipsticks. Langmuir took the initiative to approach Sephora herself to pitch her idea of a natural, organic and edible lipstick line.
According to her interview with Fashionista, her courage paid off as she got the green light from Sephora to start developing her collection.
Currently, BITE has several shades of lip products to choose from, along with a small selection of eye and face makeup.
Sarisha’s products are created with a blend of botanical ingredients and ancient apothecary. The brand’s name translates from Sanskrit to mean charm and elegance, which is reflected in their stunning packaging and chic design.
Jacqueline Johal, the founder and CEO of the company, was inspired by her Indian background and her time visiting Paris.
With acne-prone skin herself, she makes sure all formulas used in her products are plant-based, providing the skin with nourishment and calmness.
Sarisha Beauty can be found at the Detox Market as well as various other local shops scattered across Ontario.
After a tragic kitchen accident at just two years old, Basma suffered from third-degree burns, which resulted in discolouration on her face. For Basma, makeup was a life saviour.
However, she could never find suitable makeup that blended with scar tissue—so she decided to create it.
Basma Beauty launched in 2021 with the Foundation Stick—a flexible coverage blend designed for everyone. The foundation is scar-friendly and includes 40 shades, which is much more than many large corporations carry.
The Foundation Stick can be bought online at the brand’s site.
MFMG Cosmetics (Makeup for Melanin Girls) started as a beauty blog before transitioning into a full cosmetics line.
Tomi Gbeleyi, founder and CEO of the brand, was inspired to create a multi-ethnic beauty line after her first runway show experience; her makeup artist didn’t have the right beauty products that catered to her darker skin tone.
According to an interview with Gbeleyi, this embarrassing situation was the catalyst for her to develop a community where women of colour could exchange makeup tips and tricks in a safe space.
After the success of her beauty blog, Gbeleyi decided to venture into business. MFMG Cosmetics is the first brand that specifically caters to dark-skinned women.
The brand’s products can be purchased online from its website.
Curly tresses need a lot more TLC compared to straight locks. As a hairstylist of over 35 years, Marva Duncan knew this all too well and decided to take action by creating a beauty brand that caters to diverse hair types that aren’t often considered.
Kinksology is a hair care line based in Toronto with products designed specifically for textured and curly hair. The brand combines its passion for the environment with its love of luxury to provide consumers with high-quality curl care.
Some bestsellers include a gentle Co-Cleanse and Deep Leave-In Treatment designed to give your hair a much-needed break from shampoo.
Their products are sold online on the brand’s website and can be found at select hair salons in Ontario.