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MENESSENTIALS 412 Danforth, 1-800-833-1055, menessentials.ca
When it comes to beauty products, retail options for women are almost endless. From big-box behemoths like Sephora to eco-minded boutiques like Queen East's new Leaves of Trees, there's almost too much choice.
When it comes to men's grooming ("beauty" apparently not being a masculine enough term), things get a little more dicey for those wanting to venture beyond the Old Spices and Axes of the world.
Enter MenEssentials, a locally owned shop that offers over 1,800 grooming products - none of them the mass brands you see in drugstores.
The Danforth store celebrates its first anniversary this month. Stock that includes international luxury brands like Floris and Penhaligon's as well as Canadian favourites Elvado, Schaf and Urban Beard has garnered the shop a cult-like following, aided in part by the staff's enthusiasm for guiding men through the ins and outs of a good grooming regimen.
MenEssentials picks: Kogi Naturals Beer Soap ($5) is made in BC and uses Canadian beer as a chief ingredient. Not just a gimmick, the amino acids in beer are actually anti-bacterial and soften skin. Also check out Chiefs for Men Tobacco Man Wash ($35), which smells like sweet honey and sandalwood-scented tobacco, not cheap cigarettes. The wash is perfect for cottage season because it's biodegradable, which makes it safe for the septic system and environment.
Look for: Schaf Skin Care Cleanse ($22), a locally made, all-natural cleanser that's eco-friendly and effective.
Hours: Tuesday-Wednesday and Sunday 10 am to 6 pm, Thursday-Friday 10 am to 9 pm, Saturday 10 am to 7 pm.