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I started my adventure with natural cosmetics in 2016, while working as a horticulturist and saleswoman in a garden center. Hands in water and earth, hair in the wind, the freezing cold of the month of March and the heat waves of July resulted in split thumbs, dry hair, chapped lips and cabinets full of big bottles of products all more inefficient than each other. My work pushed the limits of cosmetic products available on the market to the fullest!
Using a list of toxic ingredients to avoid in cosmetics from the David Suzuki Foundation, the bathroom cabinets were then purged. All the bottles that contained the following ingredients went to the trash (except the recyclable containers of course!):
BHA, BHT, paraben, PEG, petrolatum, sodium lauryl sulphate, formaldehyde releaser, cyclomethicone and siloxanes, p-phenylenediamine, DEA, MEA, TEA, phthalate and triclosan
But with what can these cosmetics be replaced???
On the market, natural products were, for me, often difficult to find, expensive and/or not as effective as expected. In addition, I quickly discovered that some « natural » or « organic » products use ingredients such as preservatives and surfactants that, although organic and plant-based, can still be irritating. The terms « fragrance » or « flavor » are all also permitted by Health Canada, while these terms may hide phthalates, a group of chemical compounds used in plastics as a solvent. Even « fragrance-free » products might have been deodorized.
I tried to return to the basics to create balms, hydrosols, bath salts, as well as liquid and solid castile soaps, the primitive form of some of these dating from ancient Egypt. After many researches, readings and often disastrous experiments, I then began to refine homemade recipes with very simple ingredients. I quickly discovered that buying quality ingredients is one of the biggest challenges in cosmetics making. Fortunately, staying in an rural area in Quebec has given me access to several resources. The ingredients I needed were often the « waste » or « surplus » of small businesses: the raw beeswax of beekeepers that don’t have the time to transform it, branches of Christmas trees when they are pruned in July, imperfect vegetables, etc. However, buying these ingredients in small quantities is impossible! My recipes improved. My family, friends and acquaintances were frequently « ordering » products. Recurring questions resonated in my head:
- Can others benefit from my experience?
- Can I highlight local ingredients available in my beautiful region of La Petite-Nation?
Terre Natale was born!