Updated 26 May 2011
Having looked at the drugstores in the Netherlands, let’s now move on to the beauty stores. We call that parfumerie here. I must say that the lines are blurred in some cases here, as some of these stores can have both a drugstore and a parfumerie section.
1. ICI Paris XL
With 122 stores located in prime shopping areas in the Netherlands, chances are good that you will bump into this store. ICI Paris has its beginnings in our neighbouring country, Belgium. What started out as a little parfumerie store in the late 1960s with the aim of ‘bringing Paris’ into a district in Brussels called Ixelles (this eventually morphed into the ‘XL’ that we see in the name today), is now a chain of over 200 stores in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg.
The staff are professional and well-trained. However, the brand offering at ICI Paris XL is pretty standard, in my opinion.
Pronounced here doo-glaas
Douglas began as a soap and perfume factory in Hamburg, Germany way back in 1821 and the first Douglas parfumerie opened in 1910. Today, it has a big presence in Europe (with more than 1,000 stores) and a small presence in the US. There are now 88 Douglas stores in the Netherlands.
Every Douglas store has a basic product offering as mentioned in the introduction paragraph above. In addition to that, each store may decide what other brands are to be brought in based on the demands of the local customers. So, some Douglas stores may offer a few of these brands: MAC, Bobbi Brown, Collistar, Artdeco, Helena Rubenstein, just to name a few.
Since Douglas is headquartered in Germany, I believe the product offering there is much larger.
Ahhh, finally a parfumerie with Dutch origins! DA began life during the Second World War when five independent drugstores came together and agreed to support and cooperate with one another during those difficult times. While the two aforementioned stores are pure parfumerie stores, DA stores are both drugstore and parfumerie in one. There are about 400 DA stores all over the country. Larger DA stores can be found in the bigger cities while in the suburbs and smaller towns, the DA stores tend to be smaller in both size and range of product offering. The large DA stores, especially the one in Amsterdam city centre, stocks many high end brands (even IMAN Cosmetics!) and OPI nail polishes.
4. Pour Vous
Pronounced the French way
Pour Vous celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. There are approximately 90 Pour Vous stores in the Netherlands but there is a likelihood that you wouldn’t know that a store is a Pour Vous because the stores are usually named after the franchisee running that store. Just like DA, some Pour Vous stores also have a drugstore section.
Just a note of interest: Very recently, Pour Vous, in cooperation with Clarins, organised a competition to find the Best Makeup Artist in the country. The competition attracted more than 2,000 entries and the results will be made known later this year.
Minerva has a small presence with just a handful of stores. Minerva has been around since 1965 and the stores are a combination of drugstore, herbalist specialising in homeopathy, beauty salon and parfumerie. Not all stores offer the whole range of services though.
Mooi (which means beautiful) is another Dutch chain of parfumerie stores. It is a relatively new player on the market, having opened its first store only in 2007. It has enjoyed a healthy growth as there are now 30 Mooi stores in the country. Some beauty brands available at Mooi are Chanel, Dior, Lancome, Clinique, Estee Lauder, La Prairie, Rituals, Une, Biotherm. OPI and KOH are the nail polish brands that I’ve seen there.
Updated 17 November 2010: Selected Mooi stores now also stock the entire line of ELLIS FAAS Cosmetics.
Of the 30 stores, two are located in major train stations in the cities Leiden and Amsterdam, with another one to follow in The Hague. Last year, to celebrate the opening of the first train station store in Leiden, Mooi organised a Beautyschool in a train! A carriage was hired for half a day and as the train travelled from Leiden to other cities and back, passengers could get a taste of Mooi’s Beautyschool experience for free. Cute, no?
Yes, we do have Sephora but no, we don’t have
Updated 26 May 2011: Selected Sephora stores now stock Urban Decay products. A small selection of Burt's Bees products are also available.
Grouse aside, with the arrival of French Sephora in the Netherlands less than 2 years ago, the Dutch ladies can finally have easy access to brands like Too Faced, Benefit, Make Up For Ever, Cargo and, of course, its house brand. Other classical luxury brands are also available.
At the moment, all the Sephora stores are located inside V&D. V&D is a Dutch departmental store chain with a big enough presence in the Netherlands. I can’t say it’s the coolest departmental store around but I do take my hat off to them for snagging Sephora. V&D's advantage: location, location, location!
The number of Sephora stores stands at 13. If you’re travelling through Amsterdam, you’d be disappointed that there isn’t a Sephora store here. “What?!?” It seems that the V&D in Amsterdam doesn’t have enough floorspace to accommodate Sephora. I believe that will soon change as I’ve read that the first Sephora standalone store in the Netherlands will be opened in Amsterdam.
8. Skins Cosmetics
Skins opened its first store in Amsterdam in 2000. At Skins, it’s all about exclusivity and bringing in brands that are not already available in the Netherlands. And so we have here brands like Rodial, Annick Goutal, Ren, Diptyque, Philosophy, Aveda, Dr Sebagh, Creed, among others. For makeup, this is where Ellis Faas, Laura Mercier
Update 26 May 2011: For some information on where to buy NARS if you live in the Netherlands, please read this post on NARS.
There are currently only five Skins Cosmetics stores in the country and a small store located within the upmarket departmental store, de Bijenkorf. Other than Skins Cosmetics the store, there is also Skins Institute which offers the services of a beauty and hair salon using the brands offered at the store.
Please note that this list of parfumerie stores is by no means comprehensive as there may be other smaller, independent ones not mentioned here.
The entire Beauty Shopping In The Netherlands series can be found here.