Lynn Steven's new Gastown location has transitioned into a clean beauty paradise.
All this talk about wellness may seem a bit overdone in Vancouver, but after eavesdropping on a few conversations (because what else is there to do on transit?), you might hear about something you didn’t know before – like how the parabens in your makeup can be linked to breast cancer, or how the aluminum in sweat -blocking deodorants can cause swelling of the lymph nodes. This new awareness about the damaging effects of your everyday beauty products may lead you to search for the best (and possibly least pretentious) solutions that will benefit your long-term health, without interrupting your regular routines. But where do you start? For Nicole Dennis Durnin, her wellness journey began when she started selling Ilia’s clean beauty supplies at her former women’s clothing store. “For a long time that’s all we carried,” recalls Dennis Durnin. “And then we just gradually added more and more products and it very quickly became the number one category in our store.” Now, her recently re-opened Lynn Steven boutique in Gastown is entirely dedicated to clean beauty and wellness products (think Well Told Health supplements, scented candles from Vancouver Candle Company and Loa Miracle Oil) – Dennis Durnin is even planning to use the bright and airy space to create a community for wellness workshops, speaker series and weekly yoga classes. Lynn Steven founder, Nicole Dennis Durnin.
It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Finding the right product can be time-consuming (read:exhausting). Since #YouMatter (the store’s official hashtag), the Lynn Steven team does all the research, testing each product to make sure that whatever they put on their shelves is effective – as well as non-toxic, ethical and cruelty-free – so you can walk in the store knowing that everything from the Sappho foundation to the Tenoverten nail polish actually works. (Phew!) “I think there’s misconception that green beauty products don’t work as well as your drugstore brand and that’s not the case at all – have really researched the ingredients they use,” says Dennis Durnin. “You have to think about what you’re putting on your skin because it absorbs into your body.” If you’re ready to make the complete transition to a clean lifestyle – or just want to experiment with a few products – Dennis Durnin says switching to a natural deodorant (like the scented roll-ons or creams from Schmidt’s or Hola) is the best way to start. Despite the scary rumours that you'll stink forever and scare away people on the SkyTrain, the detox phase only lasts a couple of weeks. And according to Dennis Durnin, it’s 100-percent worth it in the long run. “I think people get really overwhelmed,” she says. “You can’t do it all at once. I think as you finish something, like your cleanser, then come in and pick up a green beauty one – just replace things as you run out.”
No Alll the Take Backsies
For Dennis Durnin, these carefully curated (and often local!) products are part of what makes the Lynn Steven boutique so distinct. Plus, as a customer, it’s nice to know the earth’s wellbeing is just as important as your own. The store donates a portion of their proceeds to two non-profit organizations: Baby Go Round and Women’s Health Collective which, respectively, help families provide for children and help empower women to take control of their health. Lynn Steven has also embraced the TerraCycle recycling program so customers can bring their empty containers back to the store – and ultimately prevent buildup in the landfills. TerraCycle provides several zero-waste boxes to choose form and Dennis Durnin says the one at Lynn Steven is specifically for personal goods – like hairdryers and bathroom accessories. “If you’re cleaning out your bathroom and you have all this stuff you don’t know what to do with (and you cant just put it in your regular bin), we’ll recycle it for you.” …Be right back. Going home to collect all our empty beauty products.