Inside the Body Shop’s New Concept Store

For reasonably-priced skincare with a healthy dash of activism.

There’s a new kid on the CF Pacific Centre block. Ok maybe not a new kid, but a grew-up-over-the-summer-and-now-wears-a-puka-shell-necklace-and-is-too-cool-for-school kid.

The doors of the skincare and beauty store the Body Shop are back open after a renovation and things are, well…different. Good different. This is the brand’s first concept store in North America and it’s actually pretty cool.

The UK-based store has always linked their mission closely with environmental protection, animal rights and gender equality (they were B Corp Certified in 2019), but Hilary Lloyd, VP of marketing and corporate responsibility, says the new concept store “marks the return to [its] activism roots.”

“We want our customers to roll up their sleeves and join us in playing with product, recycling, refilling and campaigning for issues that progress equality,” said Lloyd. 

The renovation features a more dynamic layout and sustainable store fixtures made from reclaimed wood and recycled plastics (they got the counter from the landfill).

A designated “activism corner” displays information on the brand’s various activist campaigns with details on how to get involved. Lloyd says they plan to eventually host workshops in the space. They’re also continuing their recycling program, which gives members $10 in store credit when they bring in five of their empties.

Part of the idea behind the new store is to create more hands-on shopping experience, as seen in the sniffable ginger bay, enormous block of shea ripe for the carving and large circular sink for trying products. A refillable water bottle station in the back is available for all mall visitors.

My favourite part about the new store is—drum roll—the refillable body wash station. 

For economic and environmental reasons, I want to like bar soap, I really do, but I just… don’t. Call me crazy but I think it’s weird that we rub a slippery prism all over ourselves and then call it a day. So I’m excited to have another green option that’s pretty reasonably priced—an initial fill plus the aluminum bottle costs $12, with refills at $7. Still double the cost of the Dove four-pack of the bar stuff my boyfriend buys, but baby steps… Plus, I’m hoping this one won’t leave my skin feeling like the Sahara Dessert. 

I haven’t tried the Body Shop’s body wash yet (the morsel of self-control I have goes towards waiting to start a new product until I’ve finished the old) but I have been sneaking sniff of the Pink Grapefruit scent way too frequently and I’m a little obsessed. I’m excited to try Satsuma next, which also smells divine.

Bottom line: it’s pretty cool that the head office over at the Body Shop chose Vancouver to guinea-pig this new type of store to North American customers. It’s not necessarily life-changing but certainly an upgraded version of an already well-loved brand. And you can definitely expect to find me at the body wash pumping station again soon.