Having spent the past months writing about beauty and makeup products to which I have access here, I thought it would be good to put things into perspective for you with a series on Beauty Shopping in the Netherlands. Well, you never know when you might swing by this country and when you do, you just might find this series useful. To my fellow Dutch readers, you would probably find this series boring as this is like me talking about what’s in your backyard. However, if you do read this, feel free to chip in if I’ve missed out anything here as these are just the stores that I am aware of.
I will start off this series with the budget-friendly category: The Drugstores.
A Kruidvat shopping experience would vary from store to store. Presentation is average at best, but it can also be messy in some stores. By that, I mean having to squeeze between cardboard boxes in the aisles and tolerating eyesores like untidy product presentation. To be fair, in the past year, Kruidvat has been working hard at improving its image with a rollout of a new ‘store formula’ complete with a new logo. I have noticed a slight improvement.
Customer service is my other gripe. In general, it’s tolerable but I’ve come across sloppy staff who were less than polite and those who were simply clueless about the store’s product offering! Yes, I’ve been left dumbfounded before by their responses. Personnel training, Kruidvat, personnel training!
Still, we overlook all that and continue to frequent our beloved Kruidvats as there are often great deals to be had. Moreover, it has its own house-brand range of body care products. Women visit Kruidvat to get their beauty care products from brands too many to name (but they are the usual suspects), fragrances, makeup from Maybelline, L'Oréal, Rimmel London, Max Factor and nail care products from Sally Hansen and Herôme to name a few.
There are also makeup products from several European brands that are easy on the budget like Essence, Catrice, Manhattan, 2b and 2true. Most importantly, Kruidvat is the only place to go to for GOSH makeup!
However, beware. Not every Kruidvat stocks all the makeup brands mentioned. Only the larger stores would have the full range of brands.
Kruidvat also has a retail presence in Belgium.
Etos has its beginnings in 1918 when the employees of electronics giant Philips established a co-operative with a grocery and drugstore. Over the decades, the drugstore division evolved into the Etos that we know now. With 500 stores currently, Etos is the second most common drugstore you will find in the Netherlands. Etos retains its Dutch-ness to this day and is now owned by the Ahold Group which also runs the Albert Heijn supermarket chain in the Netherlands.
I love shopping at Etos. Though standards may vary, the interior of Etos stores are in general more spacious and have a neat and tidy presentation. Shopping at Etos promises a pleasant experience. One can certainly notice that Etos invests a lot in their staff as they are not only better dressed but customer service there is of a high standard.
Just like at Kruidvat, you can also buy at Etos all sorts of beauty care products and fragrances and makeup from Maybelline, L'Oréal, Max Factor, Rimmel London and nail care products from Sally Hansen and Herôme. However, Etos also sells Bourjois, Revlon, Miss Sporty, Collistar and nail polishes from Herôme (although brand offering varies from store to store).
Most noteworthy is the body care and makeup range from its house brand. The Etos makeup brand offering covers the whole range from foundations to lipsticks and nail polishes. These are decent makeup products at decent prices. One such product that I reviewed recently was this makeup kit.
Etos also has a retail presence in Sweden.
This is a much smaller player on the market as there are only about 130 Trekpleister stores in the country. They are mostly found in the suburbs targeted as neighbourhood drugstores. Trekpleister is actually a sister store of Kruidvat as it is also owned by A.S. Watson Group. Owing to this connection, the standards of the Trekpleister stores are about the same as those of Kruidvat.
Here, you will find some of the common beauty care products and drugstore makeup brands plus one of two of the budget-friendly European brands mentioned above.
This name needs no introduction, I’m sure, especially to those in the UK. Boots made a foray into the Netherlands in the late 1990s but eventually pulled out of the market when the management realised that its retail format which included pharmacy did not fit the local consumer market then. During its absence, its house brands like No7 and Botanics found a home in Etos.
Well, Boots made a cautious return to our shores last year and to-date, has opened five stores. The retail format has been retained, which means that not only its house-brand body care products and No7 makeup products are available, but it’s also a pharmacy as well, just like in the UK.
The entire Beauty Shopping In The Netherlands series can be found here.