Updated 18 May 2011
In this third instalment of the Beauty Shopping in the Netherlands series, we will explore the branded stores. The first two names are home-grown brands, what I would proudly categorise under Much About Dutch. Again, I do not claim this to be a comprehensive list as there may be other stores that I am not aware of.
Rituals is a lifestyle brand. The first brand in the world to combine Home & Body cosmetics. Founded by Raymond Cloosterman around a decade ago, Rituals is a Dutch retail chain that offers pampering products for both the home and for personal care. Rituals coined the word “masstige” which refers to products of quality on par with prestigious brands but offered at accessible prices. In other words, chic and luxurious products available at around, say, The Body Shop prices.
Basically, Rituals’ product offering encompasses body care, facial care, gemstone makeup, home perfumes, kitchen care, tea and even bath towels.
The underlining philosophy of this brand is to turn everyday routines into special pampering rituals. It advocates self-awareness and savouring the moment. Such rituals can be practised in the comfort of your own home using Rituals’ products. However, Rituals has expanded its business model with the opening of several City Spas in the last couple of years, two of which are in the Netherlands and one in Belgium. In these City Spas, facials, massages, manicures and pedicures are offered for both men and women. I had a look at their City Spa brochure the other day and I must admit that the treatments all sound fabulously pampering.
Rituals has expanded rapidly in the last few years and has a store in just about every city in this country. The products are also available in some parfumerie stores and departmental stores. Rituals also has a retail presence in Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic, Kroatia, Lithuania, Portugal, Spain and the UK.
To have an idea of what its products are like, you might like to read my overview and extensive review of the Rituals Hammam line of body care products.
You would already know about the KOH Experience Shop, better known as the nail polish heaven. If you still don't, I suggest that you check my previous articles on the KOH brand that was founded by Margreet van Roemburg, and the shop.
I’ve been informed that the KOH Experience Shop has recently moved to a different location, just a short distance from the previous spot. It is still on the Second Floor of de Bijenkorf in Amsterdam. I haven’t seen the new shop yet, but I bet it’s got yet another facelift. It’s getting quite hard to keep up!
As far as I know, there is only one dedicated MAC store here and it is in Amsterdam. I’m warning you. It’s one tiny, narrow shop. Fortunately, MAC is also available elsewhere: at de Bijenkorf departmental store in several cities and in some of the bigger Douglas parfumerie stores.
4. The Body Shop
The legacy of the late Dame Anita Roddick needs no introduction here, I’m sure. Its shops are ubiquitous! In the Netherlands, they can be found in just about every city.
Ahh, Lush. Surely you would have heard of the UK-headquartered Lush before. Did you know that long before the Lush identity was born, the founder Mark Constantine, together with a partner, were already making bath and beauty products using natural ingredients for other companies, the most noteworthy being The Body Shop?
Lush has retail presence in more than forty countries around the world. In the Netherlands, there are six stores, two of which are in Amsterdam.
L’Occitane en Provence is another lovely brand with cosy-looking stores that always smell so so divine. L’Occitane was founded in Provence by Olivier Baussan at around the same time when The Body Shop was launched. I doubt I need to say much here as L’Occitane is present in around 85 countries. L’Occitane is available in six cities in the Netherlands.
7. Yves Rocher
This is a name that I don’t see that often in beauty blog world. It is a brand that has been in existence for a little over fifty years and with sales points all over the world. It has its roots in Brittany, France, started by the late Yves Rocher who was very passionate about producing beauty products using plants as its main ingredients. This is a company steeped in history, strong ethical values and botanical expertise and with its own botanical garden and laboratoria to boot.
Yves Rocher offers products in the area of skincare, haircare, perfume and makeup, among other things, all available at very budget-friendly prices. In many ways except for the prices, this brand and its ethos remind me of L’Occitane.
It was also a pioneer in beauty mail order shopping. Moving with the times, it is now active with its online shops serving many countries around the world. In the Netherlands, there are now also Yves Rocher stores in several major cities. I've come across only one such store and I thought the ambience in the store rather reminded me of The Body Shop.
This is another brand offering bath and body products in very elegant, cosy stores quite like L’Occitane’s but with a different colour scheme. Sabon had its humble beginnings in 1974 in Israel when a couple started making soaps using a blend of local herbs, flowers and fragrant oils. Well, they’ve come a long way since then and its glorious range of products currently also includes shower gels, bath salts, body oils and lotions, foot creams, scented candles and perfume. There are currently stores dotted all around the world and in the Netherlands, I believe there are seventeen dedicated stores.
Updated: 21 December 2010
9. Make Up Store
A new addition! Make Up Store is a Swedish brand begun by Mika Liias. His first store opened in Stockholm in 1996 and today Make Up Store has 160 stores in 22 countries. We, in the Netherlands, are a bit late but the brand finally opened its maiden store here in mid-2010. This one store is located in the heart of Amsterdam’s main shopping area, funnily enough, just two doors away from the MAC store. Address: Heiligeweg 9.
As the name suggests, the brand has a full range of makeup products, anything from foundations to nail polishes, one of which is shown here. Make Up Store also offers makeup lessons/courses – both private and in groups. If I’m not mistaken, the space upstairs above the store is where they conduct the lessons.
Updated: 18 May 2011
The Netherlands finally has an Inglot Cosmetics store!
Inglot is a Polish brand that has been around for more than twenty years. It's an established brand in its home country but over the years it's been steadily gaining popularity overseas with the opening of more and more stores. There are currently more than 200 Inglot retail stores worldwide.
The founder, Wojtek Inglot, was a chemist by training. I read that, in the early days, Mr Inglot went to New York to attend a convention for cosmetic chemists, mainly for the purpose of networking. He learnt a lot from those he met there and from their laboratories. In fact, his first nail polish was made using an American formula.
The Inglot store in Amsterdam opened for business in early May 2011. It has pretty much the standard Inglot store interior - sleek, large and spacious with rows and rows of colours of nail polishes, eyeshadows, lipsticks, etc.
Its location is quite a distance from the main shopping area in Amsterdam (where say, MAC and Make Up Store are located). Instead, it is closer to the Rijksmuseum and PC Hooftstraat (Amsterdam's chic area filled with luxury brand stores). Address: van Baerlestraat 8.
The other instalments in this series can be found here.