Making Beauty More Beautiful

How to feel good about looking good this winter

Our Canadian climate provides us with glorious weather diversity, and also specific skin care challenges. As the temperature drops, so does the natural moisture in our skin. Winter dehydration is problematic for many, as is dry, inflamed skin and seasonal dullness.

Having worked in the cosmetics and beauty industry for over twenty years, I’m familiar with the unique challenges we face each winter. There are countless products developed to treat and correct everything from uneven texture to lines and wrinkles. Many of them produce impressive results, but how many are manufactured with our health and the health of the environment in mind?

It’s an unfortunate reality that the vast majority of manufacturing processes need to catch up with consumer awareness. Producing green and ethical products is often more costly than not, and in today’s competitive cosmetics market, money talks.

The good news is that many companies are realizing that today’s consumer is more informed than ever before. These companies are ahead of the curve. They’re demonstrating social responsibility, using effective ingredients that promote our health and wellbeing, respecting the environment, and utilizing green manufacturing processes. They understand that we’re no longer swayed by glossy magazine ads or shiny packaging. Of course we wants results, but not at the expense of our health or environment.

I’ve highlighted a few companies who are making beauty more beautiful. They’ve worked hard to develop and maintain socially and environmentally conscientious practices, from harvesting of ingredients to packaging. You can feel good about both their products and the initiatives your dollars are supporting.


Lush is a line of handmade, fresh cosmetics that originated in England are now available for purchase in their Canadian stores and online. Featuring a fresh, fun alternative to the sometimes very serious business of skin care, Lush prides itself on their core values, all of which revolve around their belief that fresh and organic ‘have an honest meaning beyond marketing.’ They are firmly against animal testing, and firmly for sustainability, ‘naked’ packaging, fresh ingredients, ethical buying, and charitable giving. It’s a company you can feel good about supporting, and not just because of their dreamy scents and textures and squeaky-clean standards. Lush products are, quite frankly, lush, running the gamut between rich and luxurious to light and fresh, depending on your skin’s needs. Their product line includes delights for the bath, shower, hair, face, and body, all affordably priced. You can find their fun and colorful shops at several Calgary area malls.


We love UniKa for a lot of reasons, first of which is that it’s Canadian! UniKa was developed by Patricia De Mare, who, after a frustrating search for natural skincare free of toxic petro-chemicals and other harmful ingredients, decided to create an entirely new skincare line. The result is UniKa, which means unique. UniKa is totally PABA-free, talc-free, and boron nitride-free. The line includes skincare, make-up, body and bath, and 100% organic cotton facecloths. The products deliver radiance and results, and we love that they’re developed with our health and well-being in mind. We also love feeling good about looking good, and UniKa’s products deliver the best of both worlds!


Founded in Greece, Korres is a homeopathic skin care line that was developed in the country’s first homeopathic pharmacy. George Korres, founder and pharmacist, dreamed of developing an all-natural skincare line that harnessed the power of plants and the synergy between them. That dream is now a reality. Not only is every Korres product formulated with natural ingredients, but they are as innovative and effective as their non-green counterparts. The company is passionate about research and results, and they support, rather than compete with, local farmers, empowering their communities (we love that!) Korres products are manufactured at their own ‘green guaranteed’ certified plant, which uses 100% renewable energy, and it’s a no waste operation! We love the minimal packaging, clear labeling, and the fact that the results we can expect are written on the box. The product line includes facial care, body and bath, and color. Classed as a prestige cosmetics line, all of this gorgeousness is available at your local Shopper’s Drug Mart.


At age 23, Olivier Baussan began distilling and selling Rosemary essential oil in the local markets of Provence. From such humble beginnings grew the now global company, L’OCCITANE, (pronounced lox-ee-tan.)  Its core values include authenticity, respect and sensoriality, and the company is guided by the desire to preserve and to pass on. L’OCCITANE also funds the L’OCCITANE foundation, which supports visually impaired people worldwide and the economic emancipation of women in Burkina Faso. It prides itself on social responsibility, responsible purchasing and sustainable development. Their scientifically advanced products are developed with respect for nature, and L’OCCITANE guarantees traceability of their plant extracts from planting to distillation. L’OCCITANE is a company that cares, and you can feel good about using their products, which include bath, shower, body, hand, foot, facial care, and fragrance. Treat yourself and visit one of their beautiful shops. Their helpful and knowledgeable staff will guide you to a product line that works for your skin.

Last but definitely not least . . .

Your kitchen

Exfoliation is the base of every good skincare regime. Without it, you’re missing out on dewy, smooth skin, and also wasting money on that expensive moisturizer . . . it just won’t work as well if you aren’t exfoliating on a regular basis.

What’s regular? Beauty experts recommend two to three times a week for a strong, oily skin; once a week for a drier, more delicate skin.

Feeling inspired? No need to rush out to your local beauty counter. Take a few moments right now, mix up a scrumptious exfoliator from your own kitchen, and treat yourself to the most touchable, smooth skin you’ve ever worn.

Mix together:

1 ½ cup white sugar

1 cup coconut oil, gently warmed until it reaches a liquid state

Several drops of essential oil, such as bergamot or lavender.

Combine all ingredients and stir until blended. Store in a tightly closed jar.


To use: Apply to a clean, damp skin, and massage gently to remove dead skin cells. Rinse to reveal a beautiful glow, follow with moisturizer.

If you’re feeling more adventurous, the internet is awash with recipes for delectable scrubs, ranging from peppermint to vanilla brown sugar flavor. You can also find recipes for facial masks.

Or just head to your local skincare retailer, but don’t forget that while you’re making your skin beautiful support those companies whose ideals are equally radiant!

Like what we’re doing? Want to share your story or tell others? Do you have a green business in Calgary and want to get in front of a large local audience? Let’s build a green community together!