A few Sundays ago we stumbled upon a quaint shop in Dundas. Perfumer Noëlle Smith makes fragrances from all natural, custom blends to match your skin chemistry in her shop Ellënoire. You may remember the previous post we did on the gorgeous vintage shaving kit. Her shop is filled with natural oils, and concentrates that you can mix-and-match to create your custom scent. The process takes two to three hours and we can't wait to do it ourselves. While we adore our Marc Jacobs, Givenchy, and Tom Ford perfumes but we love the idea of custom scenting an all natural product with absolutely no chemicals.
The shelves are lined with jars containing everything from lemon peel to fir balsam. It makes you really appreciate the difference between natural perfumery and today's perfumes made in a laboratory environment. "Many artificial fragrances do not have very good quality ingredients," explained Noëlle, "They don’t blossom on the skin like natural ingredients do." When you breathe in the scent of each jar, you understand what she means. We really loved the blood oranges.
Courses for natural perfumery are hard to come by, so when Noëlle explained she was self taught, we were genuinely intrigued. As an almost-lost art form, it requires serious devotion to develop the level of skill she has. We love that she turned her passion from a company based out of her living room into a full fledged business. "The first thing I would suggest to someone interested in learning perfume is to try to clarify why they want to learn the art,' explained Noëlle, "What perfumery study is means a lot of different things and the general public is often misinformed about what a career in perfumery could entail." We reccommend reading the book Essence and Alchemy by Mandy Aftel.
Gorgeous bath muscle bath salts make beautiful gifts -- we suggest you buy in bulk, enough to fill a mason jar. Tie the jar with a fabric ribbon and pair with a Lather soap bar.
After seeing the workspace, we thought it would be really fun to host a bridal shower or party here. Your girlfriends would each leave with a custom fragrance and a memorable experience. The custom scenting process is a lengthy one, but you'll truely have your own signature scent at the end of it. "The first hour we spend sampling approximately 20-30 different oils and natural substances and once we whittle it down to 3-10 oils I start blending," said Noëlle, "The blend gets tested on your skin each time I change anything." And its guranteed you are leaving with something you love.
While we love the space itself, it is just a temporary location. "Right now we have a tiny pop up store stuffed to the rafters with bath and body care products and we cut hair offsite in our private salon," explained Noëlle, "We are in the process of expanding to a location that includes hair services as well as product for bath, skin and hair."
Ellënoire sells custom products as well, from exfoliating sugar scrubs to emolliant bath, body and massage oil . We love the extra rich lotion, although it takes a little while to absorb compared to department store creams. Its paraben and petroleum free -- and has the option for custom scenting (gift ideas!!) The all purpose aloe castile liquid soap (below) contains organic coconut, olive and jobjoba oils, as well as aloe vera, rosemary and essential oils.
Noëlle believes in a 90/10 life style. Ninety percent of her life is natural and organic and the other ten percent she allows herself to enjoy guilty pleasures, like hair colour and makeup. "I encourage my clients to come up with their own philosophy about their skin and hair care choices too," said Noëlle. She attempted to use organic makeup products and found that the compounds didn't allow for foundations to sit on her face and last for longer than a couple hours. She found a company she could count on with Face Atelier, the Canadian owned and manufactured company by Debbie Bondar.
53A King St West