Why not go Christmas shopping at local independent stores this year instead of buying your gifts from international (online) retail giants? Sofie Albrecht and I made a list of our favourite independent beauty stores in Flanders, Brussels and online. Part 1: province Antwerp.
This fragrance boutique, a bit tucked away in the Central Station area, is a hidden gem for anyone who loves wearing strong signature scents. The small boutique has a lot of (bling) luxury niche brands on offer like Roma Dove, Xerjoff and Creed. They may not be the most democratically priced brands but La Maison du Parfum has also more affordable fragrance brands like Montale and Mancera.
Our Christmas gift tip. The fragrances by Nishane, a niche fragrance house from Turkey with exuberant fragrances.
Appelmanstraat 25, Antwerp and online.
Necessities in the heart of Antwerp attracts people from all around the world and we get why. Maxime Boxtaele, the third generation of the family business, has a nose (pun intended) for interesting niche brands. Necessities offers an interesting selection of fragrances (Agonist, Tauer, L’Artisan Parfumeur, Profumum Roma, Floris and Nasomatto, among others) but it also has a nice selection of skincare brands like Brussels based Delbôve. The boutique is known for its excellent expertise and personal advice. If you are looking for a fragrance that is completely you, you are guaranteed to find it at Necessities.
Our Christmas gift tip. Necessities sells Buly 1803 exclusively for Belgium. The Parisian niche brand is known for its natural fragrances and skincare. We can highly recommend its gently fragranced body oils (40 €) that come in the most beautiful packaging you can not NOT display in your bathroom. You need to go to the store to discover the brand as it is only sold in store, not on Necessities’ webshop.
Steenhouwersvest 28, Antwerp and online.
You’d rather avoid the shopping crowds in Antwerp city and Wijnegem Shopping Center but want to buy beauty products while getting good personal advice? The Breckpot family recently opened its third Parfuma boutique in Hove. Parfuma offers a large range of fragrances, make-up, hair and skincare from big international brands and niche brands alike. Its well-trained staff is known for its excellent advice.
Our Christmas gift tip. Nars’s limited edition Excess Orgasm Blush, 42 €: THE cult blush in an XL version and pink packaging.
Eiermarkt 31 in Antwerp, at Wijnegem Shopping Center and Mechelsesteenweg 1 in Hove and online.
Five years ago psychologist Isabelle Ulenaers started her own natural skincare brand because she could not find products that really helped her daughter’s eczema skin. The cherry on the cake after five years of hard work is the very first SELF boutique that opened in November. There, you can of course browse and test the entire product range but you can also follow a workshop or book an Apéro Friday to start the weekend in beauty.
Our Christmas gift tip. The Self gift boxes are a great way to get to know the Belgian brand. The body scrub and body butter in the Skin Treasures box (75 €) will leave your skin feeling smooth, soft and nourished.
Lombardenvest 54, Antwerp and online.
MUA Kyria Cateau first started her own webshop and then opened a brick-and-mortar store in November this year. Because people still like advice in real life and/or want to try before they buy. Kyria selects ‘clean’ brands for her shop that she absolutely loves and uses herself: the make-up of Instagram favourite Ilia and RMS Beauty, the skincare of Verso and Comme ça, the sunscreen of Soleil Toujours, Rahua’s hair care, the vegan and Belgian nail polish of Karolin van Loon…
You can also book a make-up session with Kyria in the store.
Our Christmas gift tip. Belgian jewellery designer Karolin van Loon’s vegan nail polish (20 €): the colours are amazing (you won’t find them with other brands) and the formula stays chip-free on my nails for up to five days, which is exceptional on my nails.
Hoogstraat 19, Mechelen and online
After a couple of pop-up stores and her own studio near the canal in Mechelen MUA Eva Trappeniers decided it was high time she’d open a real life, permanent store for her webshop von Winckelmann. She picked the hot and happening Onze-Lieve-Vrouwestraat, where you can also shop candy at Zoet, lovely interior stuff at HUT and a new outfit at Lily.
Eva likes her beauty “future proof” aka no nonsense, natural and animal and environment friendly and efficient. There is a nice selection of Belgian beauty to choose from: Skin by Dings’s suncare, Studio Mino’s mineral make-up, Go as u.r’s lipsticks and eye make-up, the natural skincare of Cîme and the make-up bags of Studio Kolere. Eva also has great international brands on offer like (M)anasi 7 and its tinted make-up balms, John Masters Organic’s haircare, the British skincare brand Upcircle that upcycles leftovers from the food industry or Australian fragrance house Goldfield & Banks (with its Belgian-French founder Dimitri Weber).
You want to look as glowy and well coiffed as Eva? Book a make-up and/or hair session with her or follow one of the make-up workshops where you learn how to accentuate your natural beauty/assets.
Our Christmas gift tip. Botma & Van Bennekom’s Luxe Badmix (11,50 €), a mix of Himalayan and Keltic sea salts, lavender, sage and cocoa butter for a relaxing (foot) bath.
Onze-Lieve-Vrouwestraat 9, Mechelen and online.
Opening picture: Self.