Must-Visit Natural Beauty Havens Across Canada

From the shores of Nova Scotia to the beaches of British Columbia, Canada is cholk-full of breathtaking scenery and miraculous marvels that reflect the beauty of what it means to be Canadian. With April being Earth Month, S/magazine decided to shed a spotlight on Canada’s best kept natural beauty wonders—the green and organic beauty havens that keep the Great White North looking and feeling its best. We’ve rounded up some of the nation’s most noteworthy and eco-friendly spas, salons, and boutiques that take advantage of the Earth’s wellspring of natural resources to create beautiful products that work from the inside out, while also being kind to our planet. Here, we asked each haven’s founder to share their insights on the green beauty industry, and, of course, dish on their fave au naturale products and ingredients.

TORONTO

Barefoot Beauty (643 Queen St. E)

Founder: Emily Stock

Any resident of Toronto’s hip Riverside neighbourhood will tell you that Barefoot Beauty is the one-stop shop for your natural nail and skincare needs. Founded on the principles of honest, straightforward, and easily accessible personal care, chiropodist Emily Stock created Barefoot Beauty after years of watching her clients search for natural health and wellness products that were accessible and affordable. She realized that most patrons of nail salons were not thoroughly educated about the products being applied to their bodies, and decided to join the world of natural wellness in order to promote positive change in the beauty industry.

ON THE EVOLUTION OF THE NATURAL BEAUTY INDUSTRY: 

“Now that people are becoming more educated about the risks of toxic ingredients in their beauty and personal care products, the demand has skyrocketed and tons of amazing, affordable, highly effective products are as easily accessible as the old synthetic brands.”

HERO PRODUCTS: 

“Natural deodorant remains one of the more challenging personal care items for people to commit to. Mabrook and Co. Clean Deodorant consistently gets rave reviews from our clients and is something I personally use every day. Other than that, I love Red Flower shampoos and conditioners, and pretty much any Meow Meow Tweet product is a big win for me. Try their Rosemary Avocado Shampoo Bar, and be ready to have your mind blown!”

HERO INGREDIENTS: 

“I love mixing jojoba oil with any of my lotions, body butters, or cuticle oils for an added punch of moisturizing wellness. I also love the power of essential oils. Not only do they add a wonderful scent to products without the harsh toxins in synthetic fragrances, but they are widely acknowledged to have a variety of healing properties.”

The Detox Market (96 Scollard St, 420 King St, and 65 Front St W)

Co-Founder: Romain Gaillard

In 2010, Romain Gaillard set out on a mission to create a positive experience around green beauty with the foundation of The Detox Market. 8 years later, it is safe to say that he has accomplished his goal—and then some. Growing the business from small California pop-up shops to a successful expansion into Canada, Gaillard and his team have turned The Detox Market into the ultimate green beauty go-to, both online and in-store. With a focus on creating a community around organic wellness, The Detox Market has a deep understanding of the inextricable link between beauty and health, and uses cutting edge formulas and organic ingredients to spread its message to an ever-growing market of natural beauty fanatics.

ON THE EVOLUTION OF THE NATURAL BEAUTY INDUSTRY: 

“The industry has greatly evolved. With our first pop-up back in 2010, very few people were interested in our message and our mission. In the past 10 years, formulas have drastically improved, there is more research, development and technologies, and product packaging has seen a huge upgrade. Social media—Instagram in particular—has played a huge role in this shift. Clients are more aware and can easily access information.”

HERO PRODUCTS: 

“I love Summer in Hossegor from Odacité. It was the first private collection serum created by Valerie Grandury, formulator and founder of Odacité. It is super versatile, easy to travel with, and works perfectly for my skin. You can use it directly on your skin or add it to a cream if you need an extra hydration boost.”

HERO INGREDIENTS: 

“I have so many! This is the best part of natural ingredients—there are endless option!  I am a huge fan of carrot seed oil, which is used a lot in Odacité. For my (dry) skin, I really enjoy marula and moringa oil. Moringa really helps to soothe extremely dry skin. I also recommend just simple and pure shea butter. It’s perfect for your body!”

MONTREAL

Vegan & Organic Salon (V & O Salon), 4288 Notre-Dame St W

Founder: Pascale Khoury

Pascale Khoury’s organic skincare journey began after her son was diagnosed with vitiligo at the age of five. After unsuccessful consultations with medical doctors, a friend recommended a naturopath who was able to stop the spread of the disease using natural and efficacious practices. Since then, Khoury has sworn by the health benefits associated with living a holistic, organic lifestyle, and, in 2017, she opened Montreal’s first completely vegan and non-toxic beauty studio, the Vegan & Organic Salon. Everything from the nail polish to the facial scrubs used at V & O are certified organic, hypoallergenic, and GMO, paraben and sulphate free. There is no stopping Khoury’s commitment to healthy, organic living, and her salon has started a healthy revolution for beauty-loving Montrealers.

ON THE EVOLUTION OF THE NATURAL BEAUTY INDUSTRY:  

“I believe people are more and more aware about health and wellness and what they want as consumers. Companies that were once not considered natural have re-evaluated their products, their testing, and have joined this ‘clean movement.’ More natural beauty companies have been launched also.  It used to be easy to say something was natural without it actually being natural. Now, certification is important and companies are doing a great deal to get that certification.”

HERO PRODUCTS: 

“We make a lot of our own products using certified organic ingredients. We Carry Tenoverten, which we love. It’s a company that was created  by two young moms in 2012, and who wanted a healthy salon environment and products. Deborah Lippmann is another great line that we carry, one of the pioneers of healthier polishes and products for hands and feet.”

HERO INGREDIENTS: 

“Certified organic cocoa butter, coconut oil, and olive oil are really versatile and can be used in scrubs, lotions, and body treatments. They’re great for soothing and moisturizing skin. Essential oils have many purposes depending on the type. For instance, we use lemon essential oil in our cuticle oil which has antibacterial properties and is great to boost immunity.”

VANCOUVER

Joyride (1758 W 4th Ave)

Owner and Director: Zarina Ahamed

Lead by its founder, greentrepeneur extraordinaire Zarina Ahamed, Vancouver’s Joyride nail salon and facial spa is the epitome of natural wellness and female empowerment: it’s based on the belief that all women should have access to products that make them feel stronger, healthier, and more beautiful in their own skin. It wasn’t until after getting pregnant with her first child that Ahamed became concerned with the harmful nature of the ingredients used in her everyday beauty products. This realization lead to the beginning of her quest to create a safe, all-natural salon that would make people feel not only beautiful but healthy, while Joyride’s involvement in charitable initiatives helps to make empowerment through natural beauty accessible to all women.

ON THE EVOLUTION OF THE NATURAL BEAUTY INDUSTRY:

“People used to believe that natural products were not as effective, didn’t deliver the same results, and were too expensive. Not so much anymore! You don’t need to compromise on results when you switch to natural beauty, and, more and more, people are realizing that. After all, women all over the world have been using natural skincare products for centuries.”

HERO PRODUCTS:

“It’s so hard to pick a favourite! I would say my hero products are the Microderm Facial Exfoliator and the Intense Night Nectar from our in-house skincare line. Both products are packed with excellent, 100-percent pure ingredients, such as carrot tissue oil, Vitamin C, and rose hip oil.  These are my go-to products in my skincare routine.”

HERO INGREDIENTS:

“I love shea butter and beeswax in a moisturizer. They’re extremely hydrating and nourishing, and both work great on my skin. My favourite essential oils in skin and body care products are rose hip, lavender, and frankincense. Not only do they smell amazing, but they have countless skin and health benefits.”

OTTAWA

Woman Divine (363 Churchill Ave N)

Founder: Magdalena Tomczak

Magdalena Tomczak has spent her career bringing the herbal medicinal and holistic lifestyle traditions of her native Poland to the people of Ottawa through her premier organic skincare studio, Woman Divine. After working as a massage therapist, Tomczak explored her fascination with whole ingredients and skincare by creating the Woman Divine organic cosmetic line that makes use of the healing properties of herbs, aromatherapy, nutrition, and facial massage techniques. Being both a skincare specialist and a product formulator, Tomczak is heavily involved in every aspect of her clients’ skincare journeys, creating an environment of continuous learning, and healing through the practice of mindful beauty. Every aspect of her business is focused on the importance of transparency and healthy living, and helping her clients to develop strong relationships with their beauty and themselves.

ON THE EVOLUTION OF THE NATURAL BEAUTY INDUSTRY:

“There has been a huge shift!  When I first started twenty-plus years ago, very few people bought organic food, never mind organic skincare. At the time, with my plant-based products and European face massage techniques, I was definitely the odd one of the bunch. Today, it is a completely different story. Clients are educated, they want to be healthy, and they expect clean, healthy, and effective skincare.”

HERO PRODUCTS:

“We are very proud to carry our own line of artisanal, organic, micro-batch skincare—made with my own hands. I will say that I could not live without our Shea + Sea Buckthorn Face Balm. It is protective and deeply nourishing with many locally grown organic herbs on its ingredient list. Our Everyday Body Oil has been amazing for dry skin and it smells divine. And, of course, you can’t leave home without our Rosewater Mist. It’s hydrating, cooling, and absolutely refreshing.”

HERO INGREDIENTS:

“Oh, how to choose! There are so many, but I will say that the quality of ingredients is what matters to me the most. Even though I work with some ingredients from around the globe, I will always favour locally grown organic herbs and locally produced oils. I love rose, calendula, chamomile, and our beautiful sunflower oils. I use them a lot both in our products and facial treatments. All of these are great for sensitive skin.”

CALGARY

Beach Beauty (1909 17 Ave SW)

Founder: Allison Cullen

Beach Beauty, a Calgary go-to beauty bar for toxic free and natural services, was created as a solution to the age-old problem of having to sacrifice quality for cost. Founder Allison Cullen conceived the idea during the last few months of her second pregnancy, while searching for a pedicure that wouldn’t break the bank or make her concerned for her safety. After realizing that this was a seemingly impossible task, Cullen took matters into her own hands by opening a salon that was both affordable and health conscious. Beach Beauty is founded on the principles of transparency, quality, and safety in the products they use, while also emphasizing the importance of education in personal care. Cullen realizes the inextricable link between health and beauty, and makes it her mission to create accessible products that use whole ingredients.

ON THE EVOLUTION OF THE NATURAL BEAUTY INDUSTRY:

“The natural beauty industry has definitely become more mainstream now. Trade shows like Indie Beauty Expo and companies like The Detox Market have made such a dramatic impact on the beauty industry in the last 2 to 5 years that natural beauty is kind of the only way to go.”

HERO PRODUCTS:

Wildcraft Buff Face and Body Scrub mixed with Skin Essence Fresh Facial Cleanser lather together for the perfect oil cleanser! Wildcraft Geranium Orange Blossom Face Cream will leave you so dewy you won’t know what to do. I like to use this cream at night so that it has a full 8 to 9 hours to soak in. When I wake up, I’ll use a lighter cream like Intelligent Nutrients Restorative Moisturizing Emulsion after a serum, and 100% Pure Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream—the best!”

 HERO INGREDIENTS:

“Ingredients wise, the simpler the better!  My favourite natural skincare ingredient would be collagen—I take collagen supplements daily. For body ingredients, olive oil—seriously. Coconut oil is a great hydrator if you live somewhere humid. Olive oil is thicker and will give you more moisture in a dry and cool climate like Calgary.”

EDMONTON

Kolya Naturals (7115 109 St NW)

Founder: Nicola Biggs

Edmonton’s premier organic spa and skincare supplier, Kolya Naturals has been keeping Edmontonians beautiful and healthy since it was founded in 2002. With a background in holistic bodywork and plant medicine, the brand’s visionary, Nicola Biggs, was inspired to delve into the world of natural beauty after running a successful health food store with her husband. Throughout this period, she witnessed first hand that her customers’ concerns with what they put in their bodies did not necessarily extend to what they put on their skin. Therefore, after receiving extensive training from organic cosmetics leader Dr. Hauschka Skin Care, Biggs felt that it was her responsibility to educate and make available healthy alternatives to conventional products to help make her community safer and more naturally beautiful.

ON THE EVOLUTION OF THE NATURAL BEAUTY INDUSTRY:

“I think the most notable changes have been the quantity and quality of green skincare now available, as well as the demand from consumers for transparency. I applaud it all. Brand creators are making formulas that are quite extraordinary, presenting unique and effective products all while remaining clean. When we started out, it was very challenging to find natural skincare. In the last few years though, we can’t keep up with the brands that contact us.”

HERO PRODUCTS:

The Blue Cocoon by May Lindstrom. This is sweet serenity in a jar. When it comes to quickly calming redness and irritation, The Blue Cocoon is our go-to product. Living Libations Seabuckthorn Best Skin Ever nourishing oil cleanser is a long-time favourite. Kösas luxuriously creamy lipsticks have turned several of our non-lipstick wearers (including myself) into junkies! Tata Harper Restorative Eye Cream is packed with active botanical ingredients to noticeably brighten, lift, and firm devitalized skin.”

HERO INGREDIENTS:

“Essential fatty acids and probiotics—internally—are highly anti-inflammatory and insulate the skin, keeping our skin cells flexible and supple. Hyaluronic acid boosts the elasticity and hydration of the skin, and is known to lock in moisture. It leaves the skin with a lovely and rich texture. Shea butter is highly nourishing and moisturizing, and has positive effects on the skin’s natural collagen production whereby it strengthens the skin, thus reducing the formation of wrinkles.”

HALIFAX

Bradshaw Pure Esthetics (1556 Queen St)

Founder: Diana Bradshaw

Diana Bradshaw fell into to her love of organic skincare after experiencing the power of natural ingredients for herself. After suffering from chronic acne for years, she decided to take the plunge into all-natural cosmetics and skincare, opting for a holistic line offered at the esthetics studio where she worked. After seeing results almost immediately, Bradshaw fully embraced a biodynamic skincare and lifestyle, incorporating the core concepts of simplicity and efficacy in her own esthetics salon. Bradshaw takes pride in treating every person individually, using only certified organic products by Dr. Haushka Skin Care and tailoring each treatment to the unique needs of her clients.

ON THE EVOLUTION OF THE NATURAL BEAUTY INDUSTRY:

“When I first started, no one really knew what organic skincare was. We would get the odd few clients who were making the switch to natural because of cancer treatments, or because conventional skincare wasn’t working. Now, more and more people understand that ingredients matter, and clients are really educating themselves about what they want in their skincare. The biodynamic skincare line I use has been around for 75 years. They were doing this before it was even cool! That history, science, and dedication is hard to find.”

HERO PRODUCTS:

“It might have to be our water-based nail polish, Acquarella. The technology is quite amazing, and, if applied right, should last just as long as chemical nail polish. My other hero products are really actually the concept of “like cures like.” The whole Dr. Hauschka line is a hero, but it’s their concept and ingredients that really treat and guide your skin into a balanced, beautiful state.”

HERO INGREDIENTS:

“My favourite skincare and body ingredient has to be rose on account of its harmonizing power. Rose can be found as an essential oil, rose water, rose wax or as rose petal extract in almost all the Dr. Hauschka range, including the decorative cosmetics. All ingredients in Dr. Hauschka products have a function and a purpose. Careful thought goes into the selection and sourcing of the raw materials as well as the way in which the individual ingredients are combined to form complete Dr. Hauschka products. All ingredients always adhere to the highest quality standards.”

 

 

 

 

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