Tag Archives: green beauty

holiday shopping, skincare, black friday sales

How to Gift Skincare: For the Skincare Aficionado

How to Gift Skincare This Holiday Season

The Skincare Aficionado

As the 2nd instalment in our Holiday series in how to gift skincare, we are tackling the Mount Everest of people to give a gift to: the aficionado.  They are the tastemakers in your life.  They may not be paid for it on Instagram but they have the covetable ability to influence.  You find yourself wondering where they got that new scarf, how do they make bell bottom jeans look cute again, and most importantly, what do they use on their skin.  You may be wondering then at the hubris in attempting to give them skincare.  How would that even work? Can you do it? Of course you can- we have the inside track on what to give this insider who knows it all.  The key? Give something with a cult following but real street cred in the active department.

The Omni-Potent Powerhouse

Power, Power and More Power

Retin+Erase, CyberDERM, holiday gift shopping

Our Retin+Erase has a cult following for a reason.  Sure a fancy La Mer product might have a high price tag, but this little gem has the enviable status of having the highest known concentrations of this type of active in North America.  It’s a hybrid molecule that is a part of the Vitamin A derivative family- think a close relation to prescription retinoids and retinol.  If you were to gift the equivalent 1% active concentration of either a retinoid or even a retinol, your friend might not appreciate that you’ve caused their face to molt as though it had been sandblasted. In other words, it would be a tad harsh.  Our Retin+Erase is so giftable because really everyone can use it without difficulty but still get impressive results.  You can mention that your dermatologist had it exclusively first made for her patients like the best of any Hollywood celebrity physicians.  It’s pretty and luxe feeling to boot- so you have all angles covered!

 The Green Beauty Godess

Natrèceutique, Calm in the Evening skincare, organic skincare

Let’s say your friend instead is more of the green goodness variety- she drops the word ‘toxic’ easily, explains to you about the carcinogens in your favourite neighbourhood pizza, and sips delicately from her daily green smoothie.  You might need to modify your gift giving tactic.  You could mention that you’ve heard about the ‘zero-irritant’ trend in green beauty and read the worrisome study that some essential oils can themselves be dreaded endocrine disruptors. Yikes! What is a green beauty diva to do? Fortunately, our new line Natrèceutique blends the best in luxury green beauty with the latest in Western medicine.  It also happens to be zero-irritant free and contains no essential oils, fragrances of any kind or any common skin allergens like tea tree oil or aloe.  Instead, it contains a short curated list full of plant derived goodness like our Inca Inchi Oil at a 10% concentration, harvested sustainably. It also features the lesser known actives like Ectoins or AOX (Norwegian Spruce extract) with more commonly known superfoods like Turmeric.

holiday skincare, Simply Zinc Ultra SPF 50

Finally, it can be a challenge for anyone to find a ‘green’ sunscreen that meets the most stringent criteria while also being aesthetic. Fortunately, both our Simply Zinc Ultra SPF 50 from our clinical line CyberDERM and our two formulas from our ultra matte Ava Isa SPF 45 line check both of these boxes.  Gift one of these babies and your friend or loved one will be impressed and have the ultimate in protection for their skin every single day.

There you have it- you have no need to be intimidated by your know it all skincare enthusiast.  Show them the light on these au courant products and they will be truly appreciative this holiday giving season.

Also, if you are reading this pre Black Friday 2018- make sure to sign up for our newsletter. We’ll be sending out a promo code limited to the first 50 people who use it. We don’t typically put our skincare on sale so sign up now! Click here to sign up.


green beauty, toxic, all natural

Label Freedom

green beauty, toxic, all natural

Moving Past Labels, in search for Freedom.

I was reading through this post by MindBodyGreen about the biggest health trends in food and I gave a collective wistful sigh when I read trend # 4, “Label Free is the Way to Be”.  I thought, “if only”.  I think it represents a a beautiful aspirational way to live in all things, not just food related. Doesn’t it make sense when you are living outside of a hashtag that your day to day would not be confined to limiting labels.

As a brand, I know it can be problematic to live label free.  Labels make marketing easy.  If a brand is a promise to your customer, a label reduces that message into one tidy and compact little morsel.

We’ve certainly had some people experience some confusion when it comes to our brand depending on how they first come to us.  We started as a line that was created specifically for my mother’s dermatology office.  If you asked us in 2008 what we were, we’d say, “Easy, we are a clinical line”.  In 2011, after completing my MBA at Queens (I’m a very proud alum!), I felt we could use a re-focusing if not exactly a rebrand.  We’d been selling our Every Morning Sun Whip  SPF 25 as a cosmetic (i.e. made no SPF claims) to our patients exclusively and their feedback was startling.  They loved the product.  We were also in the process of formulating our Simply Zinc Sun Whip SPF 30.  We wanted a product that would be a Natural Health Product, which would mean having a high concentration of zinc oxide in order to provide sufficient UV protection.  We were also deeply committed to including ingredients that were controversy free and that meant looking at the medical community but also the emerging green beauty world.

With these two products in hand, I could see that we had built up an expertise in sunscreen that was rare in the industry.  We were bringing together worlds that didn’t necessarily speak to each other.  It was with this commitment to making the best sunscreens in the world that we became “The Sunscreen Company TM”.

When I mention confusion though, our products do straddle both the clinical and green world.  Bloggers especially love our Simply Zin Sun Whip SPF 30 for its ingredient list and aesthetic finish.  Physicians love our Every Morning Sun Whip SPF 25 because it offers an excellent zinc oxide alternative to conventional sunscreens.  Then we have our label-free customers, who just want a truly safe and effective sunscreen and find us to be a credible and trust worthy solution.

Our cosmetics straddle the line too.  We are launching a cleanser this year that will have 8 ingredients total in it, all of them excluding the water will be Ecocert Certified Organic.  We have a retinoid ester product that is in limited release while we update its packaging that has 4 ingredients total that uses a synthetic retinoid ester in a whopping 1% active concentration.  We’ve always used the guiding principle of finding the best actives in our industry, using them in their most effective and high concentration and then using functional ingredients that provide a benefit to the skin and are controversy free.

I’ve been seeing a shift in our industry though that is troubling. I love the idea of people being proactive about their skincare and finding as much information about products as they can.  However, in an Instagram age, there seems to be race for some to the top for ‘purity’.  It’s as though we are trying to out compete each other and say ‘are you only against these ingredients?  Because I’m against all of these”.  The word ‘toxic’ is thrown around quite casually and it seems new insinuations about ingredients spring up on a constant revolving basis.  It’s true that new information comes up but I often take a look at the source material for these new allegations and very often the consensus is that the ingredient is overall quite safe to use.  Other times, I’ll see that ingredients are blacklisted either by confusing them with another or because they share a similar name to another controversial ingredient.

An example of this- butylene glycol is often confused with butyl glycol, more commonly known as butoxyethanol.  Butylene Glycol receives a hazard score of 1 on the Environmental Working Group (EWG).  There is a mention about a low risk for irritation but upon further investigation, one study showed some potential for ocular irritation when the ingredient was applied neat to the area. Overall, it’s a fairly inert and safe ingredient. It’s used for functional benefits for a formula, for instance the tetrapeptides we use come pre-dispersed in it as a wetting agent. Butoxyethanol receives a hazard score of 5 on the EWG and is listed by the European Union as likely toxic or harmful.  That’s a big difference, made confusing by similar chemical names!

Many most likely question what could the harm be in being over-restrictive in scrutinizing ingredients.  What is the issue in being too careful?  My concern is that it can put the wrong focus on products overall, especially as it relates to sunscreens.  I’ve always argued that sunscreens have different implications in their criteria for being safe and effective when compared to cosmetics.  The safety of a cosmetic is not necessarily impacted by a lack of efficacy.  For a sunscreens though, they are inextricably linked. It doesn’t matter if all of the non-medicinal ingredients are organic and plant derived if the product also only has 2% zinc oxide.

Frankly, I’ve also seen hints of green becoming the new mean where people’s tone of voices become as toxic as the ingredients they are pillorying. I read an interview from a founder of a beauty line that I really respect but her tone came off as caustic and really negative.  I could see people thinking that the lifestyle she was promoting was unattainable.

The concept of label-free living sounds so appealing. I wish we can take a collective breath and ease up- the quest for purity should not descend into puritanism.  That unattainable quest for perfection won’t make your skin or your soul more beautiful.

Let me know what you think-

Warmest regards,