Noticed: Canadian Wonder, Province Apothecary

By Megan Schwarz.

[Ed. Note: We’re excited to have Seed to Serum‘s Megan Schwarz join us with a monthly column on her latest finds in the world of artisanal skincare and beauty. Be sure to sign up for her blog here, but a warning: if you’re anything like us, you’ll be tossing your old products and trading them in for Megan’s selections. Of course, your skin will thank you for it.)

Julie Clark of Province Apothecary, image courtesy of Julie Clark

Last month, I was lucky enough to meet the lovely founder of Province Apothecary, Julie Clark. Her hip Toronto studio is nestled in a gorgeous old apartment that Julie has transformed into a peaceful oasis. This girl knows a thing or two about relaxation. As a Holistic Health Practitioner and Aromatherapist, she also knows a thing or two about skin. In under five minutes, she was able to analyze my skin, identify what it was missing, and whip up the perfect serum without measuring a single drop. And let me tell you, it was amazing: a blend of pumpkin seed, evening primrose, chamomile, and so much more. An incredibly soothing mixture meant to tame my reactive skin, while at the same time healing the persistent blemishes plaguing my chin. Everything about this serum, from the texture to the scent to the results was spot on.  I am in awe.

Which might explain why I spent the next three hours picking Julie’s brain about absolutely everything, including essential oils, homeopathic remedies, and the importance of buying local. Julie is honestly one of the most knowledgeable, intuitive individuals I have ever met. And lucky for those of you who can’t make it to her treatment space in Toronto, she is able to translate this innate understanding of the skin into her line of products. Housed in beautiful glass cobalt bottles, each product in the Province Apothecary line is meant to heal, balance, and ultimately treat. Her products are the first I’ve come across that exclude certain controversial ingredients like castor oil, shea butter, and coconut oil. (Loved by some, despised by others.) This makes Julie’s line truly perfect for all skin types.

I immediately repurchased my beloved Brightening + Clarifying Mask upon spotting it on Julie’s shelf and she was generous enough to send me home with some other goodies to try. As a recent oil cleansing convert, I was pleased with how light and silky her Moisturizing Cleanser + Makeup Remover was. Combining sunflower seed, jojoba, avocado, evening primrose, red raspberry seed, and a potent blend of antibacterial essential oils, this was heaven for my acne prone skin. (As I mentioned before, Julie does not include castor seed oil, so this cleanser would be wonderful for those of you who typically find oil cleansing too drying.)

I loved following the cleanser with another favorite of mine, the Regenerating + Stimulating Exfoliator. This hearty exfoliator relies on oatmeal, lentil flour, and flax seed to remove dead skin cells inhibiting the absorption of your creams and serums. Because it’s a powder, you can mix it with whatever medium suits your skin type (honey for acne prone skin, yogurt for oily skin, and coconut oil for dry skin). Though I don’t have particularly oily skin, I’m fond of using goat’s milk yogurt—it’s so cooling and soothing.

Perhaps the most miraculous product in the line is the Healing Eczema Balm. I have been liberally applying this white balm every single night over my breakouts and come morning, the redness is drastically reduced. Magic? No, zinc. This power-packed balm combines sunflower, avocado, beeswax, zinc oxide, calendula, rosehip seed, and evening primrose. Created for eczema, this wonder balm treats everything from heat rashes to psoriasis. Consider me zinc-obsessed. Julie clearly knows her way around a balm. It should come as no surprise, then, that I’m enamored with her Protecting + Restoring Face Balm, as well. It contains the kind of thoughtful ingredient list that I could just read over and over: pumpkin seed, broccoli seed, pomegranate, borage, I could go on. This balm is thick, rich, and a perfect ally in the fight against winter wind, cold, and dryness. It also smells gorgeous!

And did I mention that Julie makes perfume, as well? Given Julie’s background as a certified aromatherapist, each perfume is an absolute treat. My favorites include No. 14, No. 19, and No. 30, but you honestly can’t go wrong with any of these blends. Each is unique, memorable, and thought-provoking. As with any natural perfume, the scent is fleeting and requires reapplication after a few hours. Remember that this is how perfume should work. (However, if long-lasting is what you are after, Julie recommends applying the perfume to the inner seam of your dark clothes.) But then, there is nothing more romantic and seductive than applying perfume. And couldn’t we all use a little more romance in our lives?

All images by Megan Schwarz except where noted.


Province Apothecary:
Where to buy:
Twitter: @ProvApothecary

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