I am a self-confessed all-natural skin care junkie. While working at Shoppers Drug Mart when I was a teenager, a cosmetician used ultraviolet photography to show me what damaged skin looks like under the surface. It's not pretty. Sometimes you need to see to believe. I said goodbye to sun kissed skin and have since loyally used moisturizer, mineral sunscreen and taken evening primrose oil supplements. Consider it vain or not, Jacklyn and I are terrified of having complexions that resemble a leather handbag when we are older. Now you'll understand why we embrace our pale skin! When we discovered Anise Natural Apothecary, a natural health boutique in Burlington we found ourselves in total heaven. The boutique carries lines we adore like Pangea Organics and Lov Organic Tea.
Owner Monique Bisenberger-Clark has worked in fitness and health for most of her life. After moving back to Burlington from the UK she saw a need in the downtown core for an upbeat, fun, healthy lifestyle shop which could offer a more personal approach. "I wanted to help bring a more down to earth, basic approach to our ideas of health and wellness," says Monique, "Everything in Anise has been researched by myself or my daughter who is a Herbalist." Intrigued by Monique's approach to natural health and skin care, we left armed with valuable insight and new products to try.
What is your philosophy on natural health and skincare, and how does Anise Apothecary reflect this?
My philosophy on natural health and skincare is to feed your body with nutrient dense 'super' foods that are not genetically modified, heavily laden with pesticides or processed. Our bodies recognize nutrients in their true natural state better than synthetically produced ones and therefore these are more absorbable and assimilable by our bodies. Plus, these whole food nutrients contain all the co-factors naturally found in nature as opposed to many isolated vitamin supplements. We recommend eating as closely to nature and as cleanly as possible whether you are vegan, vegetarian, raw, or carnivore. That being said, the same applies for skincare. Why would I spray a chemical laden perfume all over myself in the name of beauty after just consuming a lovely organic kale salad?
What would you say are the most crucial components, lifestyle or other, to healthy skin?
The obvious ones are eating well, not smoking, limiting alcohol, drinking lots of water, removing your makeup before bed, sleeping on your back and not eating sugar. Sugar causes glycation, a natural process in which the sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins to form harmful new molecules called advanced glycation end products. The more sugar you eat, the more vulnerable your skin becomes to damage and aging, particularly to our collagen and elastin, the protein fibers which keep our skin supple and firm. I'm not a big believer in chemical sunscreens. I think we need a certain amount of sun to stay healthy and if we consume the right foods, then we naturally protect our skin from any harmful effects of over sun exposure. Having said that, I do think our skin needs help topically too. We are surrounded by environmental factors such as pollution and stress also takes its toll on your skin.
It seems that new all-natural skincare line are constantly arriving on the market –– what differentiates the products you carry?
Most conventional skincare products found in supermarkets, drug stores and department stores are full of chemicals. In fact, in a lot of them, the water content, preservatives, chemicals, colours, parfum outnumber the amount of actual medicinal properties of the product. We carry skin care products that are chemical and toxin free, are organic and/or wildcrafted and as close to nature as possible.
Which of your products do you consider a must-have in every girl's natural beauty arsenal?
If I was stuck on a desert island, (and I have been!), the products I would want with me are copious amounts of coconut water to drink and coconut oil to eat and slather on my skin. Luckily we have access to more than that in the boutique, so I would add a few more things: a good cleanser, a functional oil such as chia which is high in Omega 3 and keeps skin supple. A damage repair oil with Rosehip seed which is nature's answer to Retinol. Amongst the ingredients in antioxidant based oils I look for raspberry seed or broccoli seed, fat soluble vitamin C as well as soothing ingredients such as aloe vera. In addition to this topical arsenal I would add a few basic supplements such as Omega 3, a food based Vitamin B complex or whole food multivitamin with B complex, an assortment of food based antioxidants (in capsule or powders) containing high amounts of Vitamin C and perhaps a clean sprouted protein shake. We are big into 'sprouted' foods, from soaked/sprouted nuts, seeds, legumes and grains to raw, sprouted, clean protein powders for quick, on-the-go shakes.
o makeup or not to makeup?
Well, we all want to look glamorous sometimes. This is not always achievable without a little help. After researching long and hard for a natural, non-toxic makeup that performs well, we have come across the best clean, functional ingredient makeup line so far! Sappho Cosmetics has just arrived in store and has been formulated by a professional makeup artist who works in the film industry with many famous faces who insist on clean makeup. We are hosting a free non-toxic makeover event on the 27th of April!
Drop by Anise Natural Apothecary and check out Monique's selection of nutrient dense functional foods and non-toxic perfume, skin and body care. And trust us, being healthy doesn't mean being boring. We spotted chocolate in the shop, that is not only delicious but has an antioxidant capacity that blows blueberries out of the water.
Anise Natural Apothecary
446 Pearl Street