Julie From Province Apothecary Chats Green Beauty (& How to Dry Brush Instead of Workout!)
The beautiful soul behind one of Canada's leading organic skincare lines is one worth getting to know - she'll teach you a little something about how to shop clean, how to move the "stuff" out of your lymph (read one and you'll learn why this is indeed a good thing), as well as how to design your perfect skincare regime from day to night, country to country, and season to season.
I'm talking about Julie Clark from Province Apothecary. After struggling with eczema all her life, she was eventually drawn to holistic skincare, and began studying Aromatherapy, Holistic Health and Esthetics in Toronto. There she formed the foundation of her skincare expertise, experimenting with raw materials and natural ingredients - and eventually went on to build my new all-time favourite skincare line.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Julie to get her take on all things natural beauty, sacred morning rituals, and even her tips, tricks & secret remedies for perfect hair...
Julie's Advice On Shopping Smart:
“As a consumer, you have to do your research and empower yourself to make the most informed choices."
"If you really care, ideally you'll get familiar with the ingredients that you don't want." Julie explains, as she does the same when it comes to working with partners at the lab - strictly abiding by a list of 'no's' (i.e. substances she's not comfortable with using in her products). Regardless of the additional expense or inconvenience, Julie stands true to her merits around pure and ethically sourced products - even when mocked or informed otherwise by others in her industry. Her integrity certainly provides inspiration to be a little more conscious with the way we shop. Julie reminds us that it doesn't have to be difficult or time-consuming;
“I always say, look at the brand, look at the founder’s story, find out who they’re targeting, that's usually enough to point you in the right direction."
Of course, in Province Apothecary's case, Julia has struggled with eczema, so her target are those with problematic skin that has an inflammation underside to it.
Julie warns: "We should all be careful of greenwashing!"
3 Precious Skincare "Superfoods"
- Julie absolutely loves this anti-inflammatory, anti-viral herb, and PA actually infuses the pure flowers into an incredibly healing oil for the skin.
2. Sea Buckthorn Oil.
- Still relatively unknown in the mainstream skincare world, this extraction from sea buckthorn berries (not the sea like the name would suggest) is known to help treat and prevent skin issues such as acne, dermatitis, and even stretch marks.
3. Oat Flour.
- It's one of the most beautifully nourishing ingredients for the skin, Julie explains, and they ship theirs in direct from the prairies!
"I love taking simple ingredients you can find in your kitchen and learning how they can be used for the skin - I think that's a really powerful thing."
2 Ingredients You've Likely Never Heard Of (But Should!)
- Why? Lots of trace minerals! Julie explains; we already know our skin can absorb things: drugs, minerals, vitamins, birth control, pollution, etc. - that’s been proven. So when we topically apply something like maple syrup, you have the trace minerals in that product, and then they can go through the skin. Adding that to a mask is amazing, and she mentions that she loves honey in masks too - it’s one of her favourite ingredients and they use it constantly in their facials.
- PA uses this 'immune system of the hive' ingredient in the eczema balm and rescue balm - both for really dry skin. It adds a water-proofing element, and it’s amazing because its so anti-microbial. Julie explains that a big issue with inflammation is infection because you have a compromised barrier on the surface of the skin - so the propolis essentially works as an antibiotic as well as like a protector.
Since We All Want to Grow Luscious Locks...
Julie's secret weapon? Of course, PA's Full Brow Serum! Her explanation will have you running to their shop...or at least it had that affect on me:
- Coffee-infused jojoba oil, castor oil and argon oil --> caffeine stimulates hair growth!
- Essential oils germanium & rosemary —> increases blood flow while also nourishing the hair follicle.
- Infused with burdock root & horsetail, which are high in silica —> nourishing and stimulating the hair growth.
*Note: The Full Brow Serum is not necessarily recommended for eyelash growth due to the essential oil content (you shouldn’t really put essential oils too close to your eyes!)
Now Let's Get Personal...
I've become incredibly obsessed and downright nosy about people's daily morning routines, so I couldn't help but ask what Julie gets up to during her morning rise. She admits that she's not a consistent person, so everyday is different. It changes all the time, she laughs; "Yet somehow it always ends up taking me 2 hours to get ready!"
Julie shares that she's recently become obsessed with spin classes at 6IX CYCLE, but openly acknowledges that if she doesn't do that first thing, well - she just sleeps in!
As for morning beverages, sure - she likes lemon water like the rest of us (if she remembers to do it!). What's more exciting is the Fire Cider recipe she shared with me for when she's feeling under the weather. She claims, "It literally kills sickness!" - worth a shot I'd say.
She's also a (late in the game) fan of butter coffee ;)
Now let's talk beauty regimes - here's where things get interesting, hilarious, and extremely informative.
"If I don't workout, I dry brush." says Julie.
I giggled in confusion - wait, you can "dry brush" instead of working out?
“Well I do.” Julie laughs. "If you’re working out, your working your lymphatic system, but if you’re not working out you’re not working your lymphatic system - so in that case I essentially dry brush in place of it. I'll do that on the mornings I don’t workout - before I shower, because then at least it stimulates everything."
Specifically, Julie starts every morning by dry brushing her face (even if she does a workout) - and then the rest of her body if not. Apparently you do it on dry skin first thing. Julie says she doesn’t cleanse in the morning; "I just throw water on my face - this works for me because I’m so dry. If you feel sweaty, oily or dirty in the morning - cleanse! But if you don’t, there’s really no need. For me, it's water --> toner --> serum. Done."
Need a Dry Brush Tutorial? Check out the informative step-by-step guide on PA's blog here.
My ultimate take-away as to why I should start dry brushing?
Apparently it's super stimulating + detoxifying.
Stimulating what exactly, you ask? Well, it's important to note that the lymph is just on the surface between your skin and muscle - and that's what dry brushing does - it moves this "stuff" around in your lymphatic system, essentially "detoxing" your skin.
Julie explains, "I see so much acne throughout my work and at the end of the day it comes down to one simple thing to start: you need to clear your lymph! Essentially, dry brushing helps to get rid of a lot of the built up "stuff" in there. Even with other skin concerns like aging and skin spots, milia, the more you can move that stuff the better!"
What To Pack In Your Travel Bag?
First things first: face balm.
"For me, travelling, I get stressed out, I get dry, I get eczema. The face balm is my go-to as it's super hydrating but doesn't have any essential oils, and it's oil-based with beeswax and has healing yet gentle ingredients like calendula and rose hip."
Note that Julie has skin on the drier side, so a moisture-rich salve like this works well - basically acting like an overnight hydration mask. On the other hand, for those of us with oily skin, Julie recommends you use it simply as a treatment to target wrinkles and troubled areas (rather than as a full mask).
P.S. for those of you wondering why essential oils are NOT in the face balm, Julia mentions that while essential oils are amazing, they can sometimes be irritating to sensitive skin, so in that case it's best to steer clear.
How-To Design The Perfect Skincare Regime for YOU:
"I'm a purest, so for me, its all about the oil based ingredients - and then layer if necessary."
Julia explains that if you’re quite oily, perhaps you don't need to layer. In the winter in Canada, though, almost everyone has to. With the first step always being oil (serum), the next would be the moisturizer. Julie mentions that the PA moisturizer she created doesn't have shea or coconut oil - simply because those are two ingredients that she has found tend to flare up acne and eczema. In fact, her moisturizer even works well for oily skin - especially for those with rosacea skin, as Julie designed it with the most sensitive of skin types in mind.
So here's the deal:
- Oily skin opt for oil (serum) + moisturizer in winter; just oil (serum) in summer.
- Dry skin opt for oil (serum) + moisturizer + face balm in winter; feel free to omit the balm in the summer if you don't feel like you need the additional hydration.
Also, bet you didn't know: the secret to oil is water. The face oil (serum) is at the base of every skin care regime Julie designs. She explains that once you add the toner to the oil, it emulsifies. Basically, with the addition of water, the oil becomes like a raw cream (because cream is just oil and water).
For those of you who are used to chemical laden preservative-rich crap (my words not Julie's!), you may want to ease into the beautiful world of natural skincare gently. Julie suggests: "If you’ve never tried green beauty, go with the moisturizer, as its the most common thing to what you’re already using - but it’s natural."
And for us who are already clean green skincare machines, here are some additional tips from Julie:
- Exfoliate every 3 days.
- Treat yourself to a clay mask once a week (or even just once a month).
- Use a balm - but customize it's use to suit your needs. For instance, Julie shares how even me, someone with oily skin can use the eczema balm simply as a spot treatment on acne - it's got zinc which is great for problematic skin conditions!
To sum it up, oil (serum) is really the base all 12 months out of the year, as well as the cleanser + toner + exfoliator. Beyond that, layer to your heart's content (or rather, skin's dryness!).
UPDATE: I was generously gifted a Basic Daily Essentials Kit last month and I've officially found my new go-to beauty care routine. I'll admit, I was a bit weary as "natural" products can tend to make me breakout...my skin enjoys the loving attention at first, but them BOOM the honeymoon period abruptly ends and it's back to some harsh chemicals + Clarisonic for me! BUT, I am thrilled to announce that I have had no such bleak reality check after using the gentle yet effective PA products. My skin feels clean, clear and effectively nourished without feeling oily or overly dewey. This stuff is worth the incredibly reasonable price-tag. Give it a go friends!