Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Glossier Comes to Canada (except Quebec)

Last month, Glossier began shipping to Canada. Finally. Actually, I should have seen this coming before they announced it, since you can see they have bilingual packaging here in Auxiliary Beauty's review of the Birthday Balm Dot Com, which was a couple of weeks before they announced they'd be shipping to Canada. However, this didn't tip me off because I live in the only bilingual province in Canada and grew up in the first officially bilingual city in Canada, and therefore this was not unusual to me. The stop signs in my life are bilingual. Lip balm packaging doesn't ping my radar.

Glossier knows how to present itself.

Anyway, I made an order (and this was also when I discovered the referral program had changed: I used a link and only got 10% off, and now you only get $5 in store credit per referral purchase). Two orders, to be more precise - I ordered the Phase 2 set (Stretch Concealer in Light, Boy Brow in Clear, Generation G lipstick in Zip) and the Birthday Balm Dot Com when shipping to Canada was opened, forgetting that I also wanted to try a Haloscope. I decided to just let it go. However, a couple of weeks later, Glossier had a free shipping no minimum event, and I had $10 in store credit from friends using my referral link, so I picked up a Haloscope in Quartz. So I have a nice array of their makeup to comment on today, after a couple weeks of use for each. 

I scratched the Stretch Concealer lid with my keys. It didn't arrive that way. I have too many sets of keys and not enough purse.

Before I jump into that, I am going to give Glossier props for not making shipping to Canada a nightmare once they did start up and not gouging Canadians because they can. I am inclined to narrow my eyes and make snarky cracks about Glossier as a whole, but it was honestly very easy and one of the easiest and best online shopping experiences I've had when ordering from the States. Their site displays all prices in Canadian dollars and charges in Canadian dollars, and everything is reasonably adjusted (eg. Boy Brow is $16US and $20CA. With the exchange rate being a little higher now than it was when they launched in Canada, it was cheaper to buy as a Canadian when converted. It still is, but the margin has shrunk a bit. This is a huge deal). Glossier has been running a "buy 2 things, get free shipping" promo for Canada since they launched here, but shipping is $8 for one item, which isn't all that bad. They're currently shipping from the US, which is less great, but they use DHL and then it gets passed to Canada Post once it clears customs, and doesn't seem to take an overly long time, falling within the 7-10 business days they claim. 

It took forever, but you did good, Glossier. People in Quebec, who can't buy from Glossier yet despite their Canadian offices being in Montreal, due to the fact they don't have a French website yet (which struck me as odd since Into the Gloss loves to fetishize all things French), probably don't agree. They are right to be disgruntled about that. There are a lot of retailers who don't allow Quebecois to order from their websites because they don't have a French one. However, aside from not having a French website up and ready, it was well-executed.

That all said, was it worth the wait? Ehhhhh probably not. I enjoyed the items I got, I even like some of them very much and will likely repurchase them. And maybe it's because I've been reading about Glossier now since it launched, but nothing feels revolutionary about it. Part of that is because it isn't, as much as Glossier would like us to believe otherwise. But these are all products that I ended up feeling vaguely lacklustre about. Did anticipation wear me down? Is it a case of the wait being better than the reality? I don't know. I just know that I wasn't blown away or even super excited about them, for all that I ordered on the launch day.

Here is a handy breakdown of where I ranked these items:

Winners: Boy Brow in Clear, Haloscope in Quartz

Middling: Generation G in Zip

Losers: Stretch Concealer in Light, Balm Dot Com in Birthday

Let's start with the losers, because I feel like being snarky.

Stretch Concealer in Light

According to Glossier:
A traditional concealer sets to a stiff, flat, dry finish—a dead giveaway that you’re wearing it. Ours is a new type of concealer with elastic micro waxes that move with your face instead of caking on top of it, and nourishing oils that give a dewy, glowing finish. The buildable formula covers everything from dark circles to redness and blemishes. In five shades painstakingly developed to enhance, brighten, and—most importantly—completely disappear into the widest range of skin tones.
You can see it's a little too warm and dark for me.

According to me:
Wtf, Glossier. This doesn't conceal anything. It sinks into lines I didn't even know I had. I don't ever conceal my undereye circles, because they aren't that bad, but this couldn't even conceal those. I DON'T GET THIS PRODUCT. 
Light is a touch too dark for me, but can be blended a bit to melt more into my skin. While not concealing a damn thing. Pointless. I've stuffed it in my bag to use as a bit of base for when I rub off foundation on my chin or something during work, to keep it from looking patchy and weird. I know Glossier is all about effortless makeup for pretty people who already have perfect skin, but this is especially egregious. Will not be repurchasing or recommending, ever. My MUFE Water Blend covers more than this, and Water Blend is incredibly sheer.

Swatched with all of my base products and concealer, which has recently expanded a lot. L-R: The Ordinary Serum Foundation in 1.0P, The Ordinary Serum Foundation in 1.0NS, The Ordinary Coverage Foundation in 1.0N, Makeup Forever Water Blend Foundation in R210, Stretch Concealer in Light, Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer in SX01, Gosh Illuminating CC Cream in Porcelain.

Balm Dot Com in Birthday

I confess Balm Dot Com is in the losers' category through no fault of its own. It's actually me who is the problem. Balm Dot Com is very nice and you shouldn't discount it because it doesn't work for me. Glossier describes it as:
A hydrating, long-lasting, multipurpose lip and skin salve that’s packed with antioxidants and natural emollients to nourish and repair dry, chafed skin. The dense, waxy texture stays in place to seal in moisture wherever it goes.
Birthday was released this spring in celebration of Glossier's second birthday. It's supposed to be inspired by Milk Bar's birthday cake and smells like cake and is silvery shimmer. It's pretty and moisturizing. The problem is that I'm allergic to it.

Please enjoy this IG photo from two weeks ago when I still thought I could wear this, in lieu of swatches.

You see, very recently, I figured out that I react to lanolin, after an ill-fated attempt to wear Jack Black lip balm, following an ill-fated attempt a few months ago to wear Bite Agave Lip Mask. Both of which have lanolin. Both of which I reacted to in the same way, and in the same way that I reacted to Balm Dot Com. I'm apparently not smart enough to read ingredients' lists (or unused to ever having to, since I became lactose-intolerant as an adult and chlorine, my other major sensitivity, is pretty easy to avoid in the amounts that trigger a reaction) and forgot to notice that Balm Dot Com has lanolin in it. I'll be passing Birthday off to a friend. It felt really nice while it was on, though! I'm sure if you can wear it, it works well, and a friend confirmed that she liked her original Balm Dot Com when I lamented about the fact that my lips were rebelling in a slightly painful manner after wearing Balm Dot Com all day. Sigh.

Onto the middling Generation G in Zip.

The Generation G lipsticks are described by Glossier as:
Generation G is a new kind of lip color that gives the look and finish of just-blotted lipstick, without the blot. We’ve created a short list of the six most important shades, with dialed-down pigment loads for a casual look.
One swipe and four swipes.

Zip is described as a poppy red. And actually I like Zip very much, and the formula of the Generation Gs is nice enough. But not nice enough for the $20 pricetag when I can get a Colourpop Blotted Lip for $5US, which is the same general idea.

I have the current, reformulated version of the Generation Gs, with more product, better packaging and supposedly more moisturizing. I have no frame of reference, but I can say that the Generation G formula is more emollient and less drying than the Blotted Lip formula. I can move the pigment around on my lips a bit after applying, and it glides much more smoothly than the Blotted Lip. Zip is a bright, fun colour, and I'm glad I picked it up. As one of the more pigmented Generation Gs, it's still pretty sheer and not nearly as buildable as the Blotted Lip formula. It is comfortable and lightweight. It's nice, really. But I can't see picking up any more of these, though I'm kind of curious about Cake. If you like the Blotted Lip formula, just get that.

And finally! The winners.

Boy Brow in Clear

Since I don't feel like my brows need any filling in, I chose to get Boy Brow, one of Glossier's most well-known/loved products, in Clear, to see how the hold was. Glossier says:
All brow needs have been considered to create THE brow product: one to thicken, fill in, and groom brows into place. The creamy wax formula is inspired by traditional hair pomade for soft, flexible hold that doesn’t stiffen or flake.
I've been using the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Gel and feel it's wildly overpriced, but have never tried any other brow products that gels in the past. And gels can easily get too crunchy or flaky. Boy Brow is neither of those things, as Glossier claims, and it's true. Clear holds my brows, keeps them looking natural, and makes them look full and just all around good. Gah. I didn't want to like this, and in fact ordered it figuring that I wouldn't, but wanted to try it anyway. But I also thought I'd like Balm Dot com sooooo.

The tube is tiny. But my brows look awesome. I'll be back. You win this one, Glossier.

Haloscope in Quartz

I need another highlighter like I need another hole in my head (but bought it anyway and am planning another one anyway) but Haloscope has called to me since it came out. So it was kind of odd that I forgot about it. But it has been rectified.

According to Glossier:
Skincare + makeup = Haloscope, the galaxy’s first dew effect highlighter. It’s a dual-delivery formula: the outer halo is infused with genuine crystal extracts for all-day enlightenment, with a solid oil core of vitamin-rich moisturizers for a hydrated, dewy finish. Expect an otherworldly sheen that’s never dry, never glittery. 
I roll my eyes at any highlighter that talks about being infused with crystals, but Haloscope is a gorgeous, smooth, dewy highlighter. Quartz is "a universally flattering, pearlescent highlight." Sure. Maybe. Probably not. It is sheer enough that I think it could work on a variety of skintones, at least. But lighter skintones. Sigh again.

That glow.

This is probably the most functional of the Glossier offerings: Haloscope is best applied directly from the tube and easily blended with your fingers (I blend everything with my fingers, to be honest. I've never used a foundation brush). It can be a little draggy once you first put the stick to skin, but warms up easily and glides after a moment. It does tend to face on me through the day, but the area where I typically apply it (brow bone, cheekbones) isn't one of my oilier areas, so it stays put well enough. Quartz is a lovely champagne pink and it looks so natural, but could be built up a bit for a shinier, more shimmery glow (but not a lot). It's made with coconut oil, which could be a problem for some people. I'm not one of those people, thankfully, because two duds would have been too much. 

Overall, I'm still mixed on Glossier. Their branding annoys me - as all brands who want to be my friend do. I don't love that they wouldn't accept my money for years. Stretch Concealer is garbage. But the Canadian shopping experience has been smooth and well done. I love Boy Brow and Haloscope and Cloud Paint. Who knew you could have such complicated feelings about Instagram brands? Not I. I guess I'll continue to buy the things I like, potentially try some others, and side-eye the hell out them in general. As usual.

(If clicking on my referral link is something you'd like to do, you can here. If not, no worries.)


  1. In my first year of university I wasn't able to order printer ink from Best Buy because the ink's packaging was only in English. My mom's side is made up of Quebec Anglos who married Francophones so I was aware of this type of stuff before I moved to Montreal, but I didn't realize that some websites were literally blocked there. I remember being in my dorm room, super broke and wanting to look at clothes that I couldn't afford, and being so mad that I couldn't even browse the Urban Outfitters website. And there was a news story a few years ago about parents who had to drive to Ontario to buy their kids a popular toy for Christmas because it couldn't be ordered online to Quebec. Oh, a digression that is slightly more relevant to our favourite topic - we got Pixi at my store in January, and within a few weeks we had to pull half the products from the shelves because the packaging was only in English. People would come in and be like, "Do you have the rosehip oil?" and I had to say no even though we had like 10 bottles in the back that we couldn't legally sell. I thought it was mindboggling that a popular international company would expand into Canada without researching those laws. Most North American cosmetics have French on the packaging even in the US so that they can sell in Canada easily. Anyway, Canadian language politics are a very interesting beast. I always say you can't explain Quebec to people from other countries - it has to be experienced. My old roommate is from the US and she's used to it now (she's been in Montreal for 4 years), but I can't imagine how weird it must have been when she moved there.

    Haloscope is still the only thing I've tried from Glossier, but I love it. When they launched here everyone was going crazy and I got sucked into the hype and browsed their site, but then I decided that I didn't actually want anything. The skincare all seems needlessly expensive for what it is, and I was kind of interested in some of the makeup but not enough to commit. I ordered some Blotted Lips instead of a Generation G (I mean, you can get 3 BL for cheaper than one Generation G), and though the Cloud Paints look so pretty I know that I prefer powder blush. So I will just admire the pretty stuff from afar and continue to love my Haloscope. The lip colour is so nice on you, though - you pull off bright colours beautifully.

    1. Thanks! I find that since I've embraced bright colours, they really suit me much better than my muted ones.

      Canadian language politics was the focus of my undergrad degree, and now that I work for the English-language health authority in NB, it comes into play for me pretty often. For example, by law, we're required to answer the phone in both official languages...which means I have started answering my personal phone with "Hello/bonjour." But also things like signage regulations and language of service versus language of work. It's super interesting to me, which is probably why I volunteered to teach the Official Languages section for new hire orientation. Quebec is definitely an interesting beast too.

      Glossier's skincare has pretty much zero interest for me, especially now since I can't use the one thing I was interested in. Why bother with that when The Ordinary exists?

    2. Oh, that's really cool! I feel like the discussion gets really heated on both sides - I rarely hear it talked about academically or even rationally in general, lol. Everyone has very strong opinions on it - Francophone Quebecois, Anglophone Quebecois, and Anglophones from outside of Quebec. Oh, and my Franco-Ontarian friends are something else entirely. (They hate Quebec and are moving back to Ontario.)


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