Bloom Beauty: Toronto’s First Clean Beauty Makeup Studio

The world of clean beauty is expanding rapidly, but with no industry standard definition of what it means to be ‘clean,’ figuring out which brands fulfill the criteria and which brands are simply cashing in on the hot new trend can be overwhelming. Bloom Beauty, a new store in the Leaside neighbourhood of Toronto, is here to help.

 

{Bloom Beauty: Toronto’s First Clean Beauty Makeup Studio}


Disclaimer: I attended the opening of Bloom Beauty and received a selection of products at no charge for editorial consideration. All opinions are my own. Interview was conducted by phone on July 3, 2019.

 

Bloom Beauty Storefront

Located at 1625 Bayview Avenue in Toronto, Bloom Beauty opened in May with the mission of helping people think differently about beauty. The first floor is an intimate boutique carrying a curated collection of independent beauty, skincare, and lifestyle products from local and international brands. The lower level of the store acts as a salon/studio, offering a selection of services from facials to spray tanning to hair removal. What’s special about Bloom, however, is that every single product sold in the boutique or used in the services is clean.

I recently got the chance to visit Bloom Beauty and speak with one of the co-founders, Pam, about what clean beauty truly means and why Bloom is such an important addition to the Toronto beauty scene.

 

Planting the Seed

Over her 30-year career as a makeup artist, Pamela Cass used innumerable products and met thousands of clients, developing a keen sense of what women were searching for and what products would work best for which person. Along the way, she taught classes and sourced products, becoming increasingly aware of the harmful ingredients that some makeup and skincare items contained. Many of her clients – some of whom had been working with Pam for 15 or 30 years – would regularly ask for her recommendations about which products to buy, and Pam realized there wasn’t yet a place in Toronto where you could purchase a range of high-quality, safe beauty products or receive clean beauty services.

“I always had my clients ask me, ‘Which mascara should I use? Which cream is the best?’,” says Pam. “And, creatively, I felt as if I was needing a new challenge. So I realized that I could marry all of my talents, and all of the things that I had done my entire career, to create [this space].”

Pam paired up with her long-time friend and fellow makeup artist Samantha Brewes to found Bloom Beauty, set on providing a one-stop shop where customers could find safe, effective products for every aspect of their beauty routine.

Bloom Beauty Store Interior

Image courtesy of Blend PR


Why Clean?

Opening a clean beauty store and studio was important, says Pam, since many consumers are unaware of the harmful ingredients in many beauty products, or of the fact that there are alternatives available. And, even if they are interested in clean beauty, they may not know what products to try or which brands are reliable. Since there is no consistent regulation over the terms ‘natural’ or ‘organic,’ Pam notes, many companies use these terms purely for marketing purposes. Which can make it extremely challenging to find products you can trust that also work well.

But healthy, high-quality products do exist, and both Bloom founders believe that you don’t have to sacrifice quality or efficacy for the sake of safe ingredients. That’s why they’ve done the legwork to test out the products that come into their store. “If we don’t love it, it’s not in the store,” Pam asserts. “We’re constantly learning; we research products, check out their packaging, their ingredients, their manufacturing. And then we take it home and test it. And probably 90% of what we try doesn’t come into the store.”

The products that do make it onto Bloom shelves or service rooms, therefore, have the founders’ approval as being both clean and effective. They’ll be free from the “dirty dozen” (parabens, sulfates, phthalate, formaldehyde, etc.), and have no synthetic fragrance. Products are also cruelty-free, and many are vegan and formulated without gluten.


Helping Others Bloom

Another reason that Pam and Sam are so selective in the brands they stock is that Bloom is designed not only as a store, but also as a space for education. “Part of the discomfort [in shopping for beauty products] is not knowing where to go or what to look at. When you go into a drugstore and there are 50 different lines,” explains Pam, “even if you ask for help, it’s impossible for the salesperson to be an expert on that many products.” Since Bloom has a more tightly curated collection, employees can speak knowledgeably about each product. “[At Bloom], you’re not going to be wandering aimlessly like in a larger store. You’re certainly welcome to look and touch and play, but there’s also someone to actually help you and teach you.”

One of Bloom’s signature services, for example, is the Clean Swap. For $40, you can bring your makeup bag in to the store, and one of the employees will go through it with you, helping you find a clean beauty alternative to each product. And the $40 service fee is waived if you make a $40 purchase at the time of the appointment! “I have exactly what I need in the store,” says Pam. “I can do a full face, on any face, for any [occasion], just with the products in my store. We can give you something comparable for Nars’ Orgasm blush, for example. All these cult favourites, I can find a safe alternative.”

Left: A shelf stocked with some of Bloom’s clean beauty offerings. Right: An adorable corner of the downstairs studio.


Sticker Shock (In a Good Way)

For those who are concerned about the price of switching to clean products, Pam assures that many clean beauty products are comparably priced to department store brands. And if there is a higher price point, it’s often due to factors like higher-quality ingredients, import fees, and batch size. The EU and Australia have much more strict legislation regarding ingredients, so brands from those places tend to be cleaner in general, with less filler. Combine the cost of those ingredients and the import and shipping fees, therefore, with the fact that clean products are generally made in smaller batches since they have a shorter shelf life, and you can see why clean items not going to be priced at the same level as a drugstore brand.

What you’re paying for, essentially, is quality and safety. But, despite what many people think, the price difference is often just a few dollars. A MAC Cosmetics lipstick, for example, is $23, which is just a dollar less than Bloom’s Lily Lolo lipstick. Laura Mercier’s much-lauded foundation retails for $60, but you can get Ere Perez’ Oat Milk Foundation at Bloom for just $4 more. “I can’t tell you how often people are bracing themselves when they come to the register,” Pam laughs, “but then they’re so surprised at how reasonable it is. It’s not always as bad as people think.” And the benefits of using safer products, of course, are significant.

 

Full Bloom

Bloom Beauty fills an important niche in Toronto’s beauty landscape. It’s a store founded by experienced makeup artists who are passionate about helping others feel beautiful, and doing so without compromise. “Think differently about beauty. That’s what we’re all about,” explains Pam. “To some people, that means makeup. For others, feeling beautiful is really taking care of their skin. Or it’s a tan and lashes. And whatever it is, we can help. And use safe products [doing so].”

Whether you’re looking for bath products or bum masks, a fabulous shimmery eyeliner or the perfect blotted lip, Bloom is here to help you find the clean beauty product that will help you look good and feel good. Plus, with services like organic spray tans and facials, non-toxic manicures, the Clean Swap, and even teen birthday parties with makeup lessons, everyone can experience the Bloom difference.

 

{As a special offer, TBR readers can get 25% off their first clean beauty service at Bloom Beauty! Just mention that you learned about Bloom from Maddie Monroe at Toronto Beauty Reviews 🙂 }

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