As I'm sure many of you can relate to, during the cold and dry months the wind chill leaves my skin feeling parched and sensitive. In search of the perfect skin fix, I decided to reach out to Julie Clark, a certified holistic esthetician and aromatherapist. "As the weather changes, so does your skin and so should your routine," she explained. Having struggled with sensitive skin herself, Julie founded Province Apothecary, a collection of handcrafted organic skincare and perfumes. Julie's individually-tailored and natural approach to skin care ensures you feel good in your skin and with the products you are using. Prior to launching Province Apothecary she was a costume designer and stylist in New York. I was so intrigued to hear about her journey to Toronto to pursue her interest in holistic skincare.
What inspired you to start your natural beauty line?
My skin was my inspiration. I had terrible eczema and I would react to every product I tried. I wanted to heal my skin naturally so I started experimenting and making balms at home. I was frustrated with trying to learn on my own so I came to Toronto and went to school for aromatherapy. I saw amazing results with my handmade products and loved giving facials. I slowly built my business from there, sharing all the goodies I created with friends and family.
Can you share your approach to natural skin care?
I believe what you put on your body is just as important as what you put in it. Having the right skincare routine will give you beautiful skin; I help my clients find that routine. Everyone is different and I believe everyone needs their own routine. That's why I make custom serums for clients!
How do you decide on the combination of natural ingredients in your products and where do you source the raw materials?
I source my raw materials from all over the world, and I try to get as many of them as I can from Canada. We source the highest quality organic, wild crafted ingredients from each Canadian province, and hand blend these ingredients in small batches to create skincare that will nourish and balance your skin. Some of my favourite ingredients include organic seaweed from Nova Scotia, maple syrup from Quebec, organic sunflower oil from Ontario, organic beeswax from Alberta, organic lentil flour from Manitoba, and organic raspberry oil & glacial clay from British Columbia. I do a lot of research, experimenting with raw materials. I'd like to think I'm fairly knowledgeable of what works well for each skin type. My favourite thing is trying new oils, clays and essential oils!
Describe your skin care regime. Does your all-natural approach to beauty translate to the food and lifestyle as well?
My routine is very simple and easy. Every night I cleanse my skin with our oil cleanser and hydrate it with a custom serum. I apply our moisturizer afterwards. It's getting colder and my skin gets drier with the weather. If I have any pimples, I use our spot treatment, Clear Skin. In the morning, I rinse my face with a warm face cloth or exfoliate in the shower. I apply serum, SPF or moisturizer and Clear Skin. Once every few weeks I use a clay mask. During the other weeks I will use a hydrating mask with Province Apothecary's exfoliator, avocado and honey. I am very conscious of what I put in my body and try to eat as many fruits and veggies as I can. My boyfriend is an amazing cook so I feel so lucky to live with him!
What is a typical day like in the studio for you? When you aren’t at the studio, where would I find you?
Everyday: the studio starts with lots of emails and updating to-do lists. Two days a week I work until 2 or 3pm and then do facials until 7pm. Two days a week I work all day while our amazing, new aesthetician does facials, and two days a week I do facials from 11am-7pm. I have two employees that help me with PA. We pack orders, make products, help customers that come up to the shop and do all the little things that make a business run. Every day I feel so grateful and lucky to be working and doing something I love! On my day off, I am at home with my boyfriend hanging out, making food or going for a run!
What do you love most about your city and your neighbourhood?
I love that our studio is in Kensington Market. There is so much happening in the market -- great food and cool businesses that I feel lucky to be a part of! I live on Dundas West and I love that even though Toronto is a big city, it doesn't feel like one in my area. I live close to a great park and there are so many amazing shops, restaurants and galleries in my area. There is always something going on!
What is your guilty pleasure?
Chocolate and any delicious dessert! I have a sweet tooth.