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Is There a Distinctly “Vancouver” Watch?
Because faces love plants too.
Vegan, organic, gluten free, all natural, zero calories? Sign us up! Here is our list of Vancouver brands at the forefront of the clean beauty movement that deserve some attention.
Emmy-award-winning makeup artist to the stars and fellow Vancouverite, JoAnn Fowler, founded Sappho: New Paradigm to fill the gaping vegan and organic shaped holes in the luxury cosmetics industry. Nearly 10 years on she has built her green empire up from a single foundation line to cover the whole face—including that rare thing: vegan eyeliner.Founder: JoAnn FowlerAbout the brand: Sappho is transparent with their ingredient list which primarily consists of oils, butters and waxes derived from fruits and plants. None of the ingredients rank higher than a two on the EWG (Environmental Working Group) skin deep database such as naturally occurring Titanium Dioxide or inorganic but low toxic Manganese Violet. “We have 70-percent-plus certified organic content in all but our concealers (they are 65 percent),” says Fowler, and “use the least amount of plastic possible in our packaging.”The gist: 100-percent vegan, the products are designed and tested by makeup artists and packaging is recyclable.Her favourite product: Rachel FoundationWhat they think you should know: “Clean beauty is here to stay.”
Headquartered in Mount Pleasant and self-identified as “the white cotton underwear of your skincare routine,” Harlow is a local gem that likes to let it’s wide range of products do the talking—right down to the understated packaging that makes minimalists swoon. They cover everything from lip and cheek tints to candles, with plenty of face and body moisturizers in between.Founder: Chrystal MacleodAbout the brand: “Harlow is made with whole, real ingredients and they work,” says Macleod of her product range that only contains 12 ingredients total over all the products. “Because we care about you and the planet, we formulate products to reflect that,” she says. Certain products contain bee bi-producs such as honey and beeswax, but Harlow has partnered with Hives for Humanity to ensure it is ethical and certified organic: “good for people and planet, plain and simple.”The gist: 100-percent vegetarian and organic, with unrefined plant oils and crude raw butters as the main ingredients.Her favourite product: “That’s like asking who our favourite kid is! I love our Body Balm (all scents) and Youth Dew Face Elixir.”What they think you should know: “Your skin takes care of itself if you take care of yourself. Harlow is your base-layer, your lifestyle is your skincare.”
Specializing in haircare and shower products, United and Free is a brother-sister operation inspired by the nature and lifestyle of the West Coast. The primary ingredients are fruit, hemp and jojoba oils, making it all natural (and smells good enough to eat).Founders: Kaleena and Brandon MorrisonAbout the brand: Kaleena and Brandon wanted to “use products that fell in line with beliefs, but also functioned as a high-quality skin care solution” and so they created a brand of their own with citrus essential oil blends that are gentle on all skin and hair types and have a unisex scent, “making it easy to share with the whole family,” explains Kaleena.The gist: Cruelty-free, plant-based and vegan.Their favourite product: Balance Face CleanserWhat they think you should know: “We were raised in a family of entrepreneurs who believed highly in the natural and organic movements for food. When we founded United and Free we decided to create products that…carried the same passion and morals we’ve been ingrained with growing up.”
Finding a completely vegan lipstick brand is a challenge, but it turns out there was one in our backyard this whole time. Lippy Girl is a colourful brand that carries blush and eye shadows, but, as the name suggests, its crowning jewel is the lipstick. With two different lipstick lines that range from soft pinks to daring purples and a line of lip glosses, it’s the answer to a hard-to-come-by bold and natural lippy.Founder: Darcey DiehlAbout the brand: All the lip products are made of organic shea butter and nourishing plant-based oils to moisturize your lips while you wear them with a balm-y like finish.The gist: Neither product nor ingredients are ever tested on animals and are 100-percent vegan.Her favourite product: Schmoopy Vegocentric lipstickWhat they think you should know: “I believe in guilt-free beauty. Makeup should be all together good: look good but also be good for you, good for the environment and good for animals.”
A favourite of our associate editor, Eventide is an all-natural face mask brand founded by local skin therapist Kathryn Sawers. Their line is small (just two masks on their site), but is looking to expand. Even so, the quality of products makes up for the limited range.Founder: Kathryn SawersAbout the brand: “What I love most about the brand is: the products are sensory-experiential if you will,” says Sawers. Her masks consist of white clay, rolled oats, and rose petals with different essential oil blends that you then mix with raw honey, plain yogurt, or water depending on your preference. “I can suggest these products without hesitation because they are full of pure, concentrated plant-based ingredients that leave the skin noticeably refreshed and revitalized.”The gist: Alone the products are 100-percent vegan and the ingredient list is as natural and simple as it’s going to get. Plus these clay masks effectively hydrate without leaving you with that parched skin feeling.Her favourite product: “It’s so hard to pick one! But in terms of the season, I would have to say the Restorative Face Oil is my current favourite” (launching later this month).What they think you should know: “With the influx of indie beauty products that have come to the market in recent years, I felt it was important to…create a line that stands the test of time doesn’t follow trends but instead is formulated to address the skin’s needs in a dynamic way. My experience as a specialized skin therapist has given me a unique insight into what is required to address those needs. It’s a labour of love and I want people to enjoy using them as much as I do.”