Montréal Native Reveals Our Northern Neighbor’s Beauty Secrets
Montreal is renowned for its beautiful women – promise I’m not only stating this because it is my hometown. Since moving to the U.S. five years ago, I luckily get to go home a few times a year, and every time I make sure to stock up on my favorite local products – some of which I can’t find anywhere else in the world. A micro market with a strong European heritage, Montreal-based ladies will drop serious coin for premium skincare – much more so than in the rest of Canada. That’s how I was brought up….so I was truly psyched when I was assigned to write about best-kept French-Canadian beauty secrets! Here they are!
The newest anti-aging rage, La Peau (in French: The Skin), is a 3-SKU skincare line founded by Montreal sisters Irma & Carla Khanjian with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Developed by Stanford University scientists, the range’s main active ingredient, BeCell, offers massive antioxidant properties and delivers compelling results: after a month of daily use, your skin looks dramatically firmer and smoother. I fell for its luxurious texture – the product literally melts on the skin. The trio set includes Night, Day and Eye Contour and retails for $235.
Entrepreneur and beauty maven Lise Watier is the city’s undisputed cosmetics queen. Over forty years after opening her first eponymous beauty institute, the now world-famous cosmetics brand offers no less than 400 products and is available for sale all across Canada, the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Today, Neiges ($87 for 100ml) is the best-selling perfume in Canada and in Québec. Check out the Portfolio Professional Correctors ($30), a five-way concealer spectrum designed to correct and conceal skin tone irregularities and under-eye circles, helping achieve flawless makeup. Loaded in vitamin E and deep moisturizing ingredients, the delightful Spa Fondant Lip Moisturizing Therapy ($20) is also a best seller.
Launched in 1991, Neo Strata is considered to be the first Canadian cosmeceutical brand and received worldwide notoriety for introducing excellent, affordable AHA formulas in drugstores. The line offers ultra-targeted anti-aging skin care products including a Body Smoothing Lotion ($34.95), which contains 10% glycolic acid and exfoliates while hydrating, and an Anti-Expression Line Cream ($37.75), which claims to reduce the appearance of expression lines by 22.5% in just 3 weeks.
Functionalab is the ultimate labo chic brand. If you are still hesitant as to why you should adopt a vitamin regimen to achieve topical results, take a few minutes to peruse the company’s ultra comprehensive website. An award-winning beauty and wellness brand promoting a holistic approach to health, beauty & nutrition, the company has its headquarters in Montreal but its products are sold all over the globe at prestigious retailers from New York to Hong Kong. Fully committed health nuts fuel up on the monthly Personalized Packs ($95 for a 30-day supply), advanced nutraceuticals targeting specific objectives; for instance, Trimming and Toning; Hair, Skin, Nails or PMS Hormonal Balance. Praised by the press, the company’s newest nutricosmetics solution, Opti-Tan Beauty Dose (35$ for a 30-day supply), boosts natural production of melanin, reduces skin sensitivity to the sun and helps protect skin against damaging UV rays.
In 1997, a Montreal pharmacist decided to create a line of products specifically geared towards 50+ women. Since then, B. Kamins Chemist has founds its niche targeting various skin conditions such as aging, sensitivity, menopause, rosacea, redness, acne and eczema. I’m obsessed with the Maple Sugar Body Scrub ($50) formulated with Bio Maple, a natural complex from maple sap (oh how Canadian!) that has hydrating and exfoliating properties.
Karine Joncas Cosmétiques
For Karine Joncas, cosmetics are a true family affair. Her grandmother taught her how to make creams when she was just a little girl, a pursuit that lead to the launch of her company in 2001. Now, she is best known for her range of signature patches, potent formulas that help diminish wrinkles, puffiness and most recently cellulite. Her Multizone Slimming Anti-cellulite Patches ($24.99 for eight) are formulated with caffeine, gingko biloba and pink grapefruit and work all day under clothes. I also love the company’s Holistic Sea Salts with floating rose petals and essential oils ($19.99).