Ever since the time I set foot in the original Kiehl’s homeopathic pharmacy in NYC
I was in heaven; hooked on the clean simplicity of the packaging and their natural old-fashioned appeal. Plus I actually loved a lot of the product line and it was a special treat to not be able to find it everywhere. As in “I went to New York and brought you back this special “ultra-facial” moisturizing cream, blah, blah.” But that was before it was purchased by L’Oreal and started to become mainstream and now sold in independant retail and high-end department stores including select airport locations world wide. You can’t blame them for selling out but it was more of a unique shopping destination at the time.
Several hundred years ago, you’d go to an apothecary to pick up medicine or to seek medical attention. Those jobs belonged to pharmacists and general practitioners, but now apothecaries are popping up again, just in a slightly different capacity. Back in the day, an apothecary treated all different ailments, now the term encompasses beauty products, home goods, natural stuff and the like. What’s old is new again?
But in line with the apothecaries of old, a lot of beauty products are medicinally focused. Things to help with thinning hair, dry skin and scalp, eczema and the like. It’s all need-based and since the products are packaged fairly simply, the prices are usually lower – but not always.
A lot of these products are made with herbs and essential oils – but there are herbs that are good for your skin and there are others that are not depending on your problem area. You should do a little bit of homework beforehand even though sales people should be aware of what will work for you. Don’t always count on it.
Most of the apothecary products selling now are very good, clean products and they have a lot of heart behind them. If you look closely you’ll find that the bottles all look the same or very similar – it’s the label that sets them apart (of course, what’s inside is what really counts). The focus being that a certain care and quality is infused (and expected) in products which are made in small batches.
If the recent shift in the beauty market towards transparency and awareness is any indication, this is the kind of shopping experience consumers are starting to be attracted to again. Customers now are more educated and come in with the right questions and they know what they’re looking for. You have to because there’s much more to choose from but isn’t that a lot better than not having any choices?
Montreal-born clothing and lifestyle boutique WANT Apothecary has opened its first West Coast outpost in Vancouver. Nestled among the art galleries and shops on South Granville, WANT Apothecary (2956 Granville Street) fits right into the neighbourhood with its charming boutique storefront and European flair.
What kind of skincare products are you using? Do you stick to the same line, mix it up or go for something totally different each time?