Can you tell us a little about your background? How and why did you first become interested in natural skincare and beauty products?
I was born with eczema and have suffered from it for my whole life. I had tried every product out there and nothing would heal it – including steroid/cortisone creams. This led me to explore natural products and when those didn’t work, I started trying to make my own. I researched and experimented and made so many mistakes, then decided to get professional training in Toronto, at the Institute of Aromatherapy. It was my desire to heal my own skin that lead me to creating Province Apothecary, though now I am beyond grateful to have the opportunity to heal so many others as well.
When did you make the leap to starting your own company?
I made a spontaneous decision to move to Toronto for school, and while I was there I unexpectedly had to stay for longer than anticipated. This led me to taking more schooling and diving into clinical work. I continued experimenting in my apartment kitchen, then promptly turned my bedroom into a treatment centre for friends to test out my services/products. I had the idea of starting a business on the back-burner for 2 years, but I was unable to fully commit to it. I found that I kept distracting myself with working for other people in the hope that I would make enough money to start a company. Finally, I decided to make my dream my day job and work 9-5 on it; and then work nights at a restaurant in order to support myself and the business.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration everywhere – my clients, the changing seasons, our Canadian homeland, my amazing team, and other green beauty brands!
Your products are organic, biodynamic, and wildcrafted. Most of us at NaturalPath are familiar with organic, but could you explain what makes an ingredient biodynamic and wildcrafted?
Biodynamic agriculture is an ecological farming system that views the farm as a self-contained and self-sustaining organism. The health and well-being of the farm animals, the farmer, the farm and the Earth are all viewed as integral parts that make up the whole. This requires that, as much as possible, a farm be regenerative rather than degenerative. Some of the herbs used in our line are hand picked where they grow wild — this is the definition of wild-crafted. When we use wild-crafted herbs, we know that no commercial farming methods have been used, and that the plants are hearty, vibrant and full of skin-nourishing nutrients.
What are the benefits of using natural skin care versus more synthetic brands?
Initially I didn’t realize the complete ineffectiveness of non-organic or non-wildcrafted ingredients. Cosmetic-grade oils are so processed that they lose most of the benefits found in organic/wildcrafted oils. I started learning how to make products with the cheapest, most refined ingredients – because that’s what my teacher used in school. I started experimenting with food grade and organic ingredients on my own, and was blown away by the results! Organic or wildcrafted raw ingredients are so much more powerful, and will impart significantly greater results; they are biodynamic, true essence and energy of the plant.
There’s a lot of “green washing” happening in the beauty industry. What certifications should we be looking for to make sure we are getting the best quality products?
A lot of brands are claiming they are “all natural” and it’s becoming quite clear that consumers are getting confused, or distracted from the truth. For example, vitamin C (ascorbic acid) may be derived from an orange or produced in a laboratory. Clearly, the latter would not be considered natural to a holistically-minded consumer; however, there are no laws requiring manufacturers to differentiate between natural sources versus bio-identical laboratory synthesis of natural ingredients. The word organic is a labeling term that indicates production through approved methods that integrate cultural, biological and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. The term holistic, sometimes referred to as wholistic, is the philosophy and practice of healing that has to do with constantly keeping the whole body (meaning the physical body, the mind and the spirit) at the highest level of total wellness. This concept draws from the universal natural laws that state a whole is made up of the sum of all of its parts and that the parts cannot function properly if the whole is not functioning properly. We pride ourselves on being an organic holistic company.
What does your skincare routine look like, and what are some of your go-to products?
My all time go-to products are my eczema balm and hydrating rescue balms! I use the hydrating balm every day, all over my body – it is my saviour in the winter months. I am biking everyday, and this balm acts as protection against the harsh environmental conditions. Everyday I cleanse with oil, and use a customized face serum morning/night, then follow with my balm or moisturizer. I like to exfoliate gently every few days, and prepare a face mask or facial steam whenever I have the time.
What’s your favorite skincare DIY that we can try at home?
I love DIY facial steams. They are so easy to prepare, and you can customize the herbs and oils you use to your specific concerns. If I’m feeling ill, I like to use stimulating herbs like peppermint and eucalyptus to clear my breathing. If my skin is congested, i’ll choose Chamomile, Lavender, Rosemary, or Lemon.
You can find a recipe for facial steaming + recommendations for your skin type on our blog.
What are some of the most important tips we should all follow when it comes to our skin?
My philosophy for beautiful skin is: 50% of it is internal and 50% of it is external. The skin is our largest organ and it is a reflection of our internal body. Having the right topical products can either give you the most beautiful skin or cause greater issues.
Switch your serum or moisturizer with the seasons and avoid drying out your skin! Avoid chemicals, synthetics, alcohols and drying agents. I also advocate being a generally healthy person – sleep as much as you need (8 hours a day is great), exercise daily, and listen to your body’s needs. Every little bit helps our skin to find it’s natural glow.
For more information visit provinceapothecary.com