Creams of the Crop: our favourite all-natural lotions, potions and goops
In Toronto, we want our meat house-cured and our coffee micro-roasted seconds before we drink it. It was only a matter of time before the artisanal ethos wormed its way into our beauty regimens. In workshops across the city, modern-day apothecaries are using organic ingredients like farmers’ market honey, rosewater and bergamot oil to concoct products as luxurious as the latest miracle cream—without the unpronounceable chemicals. Here, our favourite small-batch grooming products.
Leaves of Trees
Most natural deodorants leave pits smelling worse than a folk festival campsite. Roohi Qureshi, a doctor who crafts grooming products in her spare time, has one that actually works. It contains peppermint oil to deter bacteria and kaolin clay to absorb moisture, and holds up during the sweatiest spin class. $15. Leaves of Trees, 177 Queen St. E., 647-391-0177.
In the ’90s, Graydon Moffat ran a macro-biotic catering company, which explains why many of the products in her line sound downright edible. Hair Smoothie, a nutrient-rich conditioner, contains broccoli seed oil and essences of parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme—Simon and Garfunkel would approve. $20. Logan and Finley, 670 Queen St. W., 416-769-9732.
Aromatherapist and herbalist Carol-Ann Granatstein bottles delicately fragrant oils and creams. Her top seller is a neroli-jasmine oil worn under face cream for an extra dose of hydration. She often gets thank-you notes from grateful clients who swear it got them through last year’s endless winter. $45. Aromacentric.com.
Crawford Street Skin Care
Former journalist and TV producer Gaelyne Leslie’s homemade beauty brand got a rave in the natural beauty bible There’s Lead in Your Lipstick—and for good reason. Her creamy lip balms ($6) stand up to the dry air on planes, and her rose-geranium toner ($17) is an indulgent pick-me-up. The Big Carrot, 348 Danforth Ave., 416-466-2129.
Christine Chanter Botanicals
Chanter, a registered massage therapist, started using essential oils on her clients 20 years ago and soon graduated to mixing her own scents. Our favourites include the floral Parfum 2 ($40), as well as Bush Country, a scented oil for what Chanter calls “lady gardens” ($35). Medulla and Co., 809 Queen St. W., 416-869-0809.
Lisa Inglis’s six-month-old line is free of chemical additives, which endears it to people with rash-prone skin (like Inglis herself). The standouts are a gentle eye-makeup remover ($15) and the Desert Island Wonder Balm, which does triple-duty as a cleanser, moisturizer and soothing salve ($35). Scout, 405 Roncesvalles Ave., 416-546-6922.
Aide Body Care
Michelle Treen made soap out of her tiny Oshawa apartment for five years before expanding to a 1,700-square-foot studio in Bowmanville in January. She uses a traditional cold-process technique, cuts the slabs by hand and cures them for at least four weeks (which makes the soaps more mild and helps keep them from turning to mush in the shower). The bars are rich with shea butter, which leaves post-shower skin feeling soft instead of tight and dry. $8. Coal Miner’s Daughter, 744 Queen St. W., 416-629-6610.