Saving Face: skincare brands to know
It's the middle of one of the toughest winter we've had in the city and it's putting our skin through everything. If you aren't already it's definitely time to protect that beautiful mug and body of yours. If you're new to a skincare routine or products in general, it can be intimidating to sort through the endless options available and know what to do with them, but it can also a very chill process and the perfect way to treat yourself while you hibernate and binge watch Netflix.
Here's a short list of my favourite brands and shops that are all locally based. They offer well-needed alternatives to departments store and pharmacy mega brands, their products have short ingredients lists and they also look real cute on your bathroom shelves. Here's some Q&A.
For simple luxury try F. MILLER
Toronto's Fran Miller spent two years developing F. MILLER, a full line of skin and hair care that's free of any synthetic fragrance, colourings, and parabens and other harmful elements for your skin that can be found in a lot of other skincare products. With a clean, minimal design her oils will look insta-worthy on your bathroom sink and are VERY easy to use.
K, skincare in winter, what do we do?
Store away your lighter lotions and intense cleansers and replacing them with gentler products that will protect your sensitive skin throughout the season. The cold brings on dry air and harsh temperatures, leading to dry, flaky, itchy skin.
What's your go-to?
The Face Oil is my go-to but also season-less favourite - it's very effective in the winter, can be layered on its own or over moisturizer and is super concentrated with the nourishing ingredients winter skin needs.
And for the bearded boy?
The Beard Oil is a great one to start with if you’re new to oils. The deep woodsy scent is usually what hooks people first but it’s also extremely hydrating and conditioning, not only for the facial hair but the sensitive skin beneath it. It’s a richer formula so a little goes a long way however it absorbs quickly, leaving the area feeling moisturized rather than greasy.
Any other lifestyle tips?
Water with lemon, all day, everyday! I try to stay away from dairy and sugar as much as possible and load up on good fats and superfoods in the cold season, Avocado, coconut oil, flaxseed, chia, turmeric, sunflower seeds… ingredients that are not only great for the body but also do wonders for our skin. Things that can be easily packed into a smoothie and help keep skin clear and glowing. Caffeine can be really dehydrating as well, so cut down if you can or go with alternatives like matcha lattes which are super high in antioxidants.
For post-workout aromatherapy, try WAY OF WILL.
Scents will make them swoon, and can be the perfect mood lifter when the winter weather is getting you down.
A passion project for founder Will Tsang, Way of Will was created after his father was hospitalized due to Cancer. His father became very confused was unable to recognize many things around him because of his illness and although it was difficult for him to express himself, he would react strongly when he smelled food or familiar scents around him. It was then that Will started to realize how powerful scent could be and started to look into the benefits of scent stimulation.
Based on his own product development experience, he partnered up with an aromatherapist friend and started to learn more about the benefits of natural essential oils (especially after you exercise.) Way of Will products are made with 100% natural oils and are targeted toward those who train regularly, in and out of the gym. Since Will himself is an avid gym goer, it was the perfect project to start.
What would you recommend to use after a workout?
For muscle relief, I recommend the 03 (Soothe and Cool Massage Oil - which has a base of sweet almond, apricot kernel oil and jojoba oil) and spot treat any muscles in need of relief. If you are getting out of the shower, I would go with one of their Moisturizing Body Oils (06, 07, 08 - with a variety of scent combinations from cedar to grapefruit) on damp skin.
Then use a Face Toner 20 (neroli & frankinsense) for sensitive skin, 21 (geranium & patchouli) for dry skin, 22 (tea tree & fir) for oily skin. The toner can be sprayed direct on the face with eyes closed and lips pursed. 2-3 sprays are enough, and they will absorb into the skin very quickly. Toners help balance and set your skin to protect it from the elements of the weather.
Any other tips during the coldest winter?
For the winter I make sure to do Hot yoga, drink Hot tea, get enough sleep, and make sure you get some Vitamin D!
For a one-stop-shop try THE CURE APOTHECARY
The Cure Apothecary, located on Queen West is a natural beauty boutique that houses over 20 different brands for every skin type and preference that range from skin care to hair care to accessories like turkish towels. Nitasha Goel, owner of the Cure Apothecary, opened the boutique over two years ago as a way to share her passion for natural eco-concious beauty products. If you go pay her a visit, she will help you navigate through your brands and help you make the right choice for your skin type. It can also be a cute easy spot to find a gift!
Tell us about the importance of masking
Masking helps exfoliate dead skin cells and unclog pores so your toning, hydrating and protecting products work more effectively. They also help stimulate blood circulation and leave your skin feeling smoother and softer. One of our favorites for this time of year is Hamilton-based Artifact Skin Co's the Detoxifying and Pore Refining masque. And when paired with the After Masque Skin Boost, it will actually draw out impurities from beneath the top layers of the skin.
I recommend using a facial mask at least once a week to keep your skin healthy and free of impurities. Another one I like is the Glacial Coast detox mask from Artifact which features natural ingredients such as Glacial Marine Clay and Bentonite Clay that work to absorb dirt and oil, and clean pores, Pacific Seaweed and Dandelion Root extracts provide a rich source of vitamins B12 ,vitamin A and trace elements to help draw out impurities for a deep, cleansing experience. It also features Peppermint and Strawberry Extracts that refresh and tone dull complexions, while their astringent properties and salicylic acid reduce the appearance of large pores.
And for your hair?
You can mask your hair too! The Bora Bora Hair Pact Mask by Doe (based out of Ottawa) adds the perfect tropical escape during winter. Made of natural and organic ingredients like coconut oil, avocado oil and vitamin E, this mask fights dryness, and frizz. Hair masks are so easy to use, just apply a small amount over your hair, and work it in evenly. Chill out for 30 minutes or more, I actually sleep with mine in. Then shampoo and condition as per usual. You hair will be left feeling super soft and shiny. I love to do both face and hair masks at the same time. I mean why not, it's so cold out!
All products are available at The Cure Apothecary (719 Queen St. W.)