Although I tend to cringe at the reputation the West Coast has of being filled with nature-loving hippie types, I do have to say that Vancouver does have its fair share of all-natural beauty brands - Saje, Escents, Eminence Organics... these are just a few of the more well-known brands all headquartered in Vancouver and now there are many boutique brands as well repping Vancouver's lifestyle and commitment to green beauty.
Recently I was fortunate enough to discover Here&Now Botanicals and to learn more about their approach to skincare. Handcrafted in small batches, Here&Now's philosophy is that scent is a powerful influence on the human experience and that all beauty products should be based in this understanding. Using only the best therapeutic grade essential oils, minerals and botanicals, Here&Now's products will gently restore skin to its natural balance and their entire line of cleansers, essential oils, aromatherapy blends, balms, and deodorants are all made to be good for you and good on the environment (that means no parabens, sulphates, palm oil, petroleum, phthalates, and mineral oil).
In order to learn more about Here&Now's products, I was sent three items to try: the Wash Gentle facial cleanser, the Dream aromatherapy oil and All Natural lip balm.
Wash Gentle Facial Cleanser
Price: $22 for 120 ml
What it is: A gentle moisturizing cleanser that can be used on all skin types.
What's in it:
- Ginseng extract - an antioxidant
- Calendula oil - an emollient (seals in moisture)
- Aloe vera - an antioxidant and moisturizer
- Nettle leaf extract - moisturizer and soothing ingredient
The Wash Gentle Facial Cleanser is filled with natural extracts and oils, such as horsetail extract, marshmallow extract, hemp seed oil, seaweed extract, sweet almond oil, lavender, cypress, tea tree and rose oils. Mixed all together, this cleanser has plenty of antioxidants, moisturizers and also the oils help to bust up dirt and makeup.
My take: The presence of some potential irritating oils like lavender oil, makes me wonder if those with really sensitive skins can use this, but I didn't experience any irritation whatsoever with this cleanser. I found the Wash cleanser to be truly effective both morning and night. In the mornings, its refreshing, slightly herbal scent helped refresh my skin for the day without stripping it of much-needed moisture, while at night it was strong enough to cleanse away all the dirt and impurities leftover from my cleansing oil.
If you're new to natural cleansers, then it will take you some getting used to this one as it doesn't foam much at all and it has a very natural, herbal/floral scent that's quite different from the usual artificial scents you find in the drugstore. I personally love this kind of scent, so I found it really relaxing and the soft, milky foam the Wash cleanser produced was easy to work with and rinsed away cleanly.
Final Verdict: Buy
Dream Aromatherapy Oil
What it is: a soothing roll-on aromatherapy oil designed to bathe you in a heavenly scent that will ease your troubles (like the first time I wrote this post out and then Blogger didn't save my draft!!!!)
What's in it:
- Sunflower seed oil
- Jasmine oil
- Lavender oil
My take: I've been into aromatherapy oils ever since I discovered Saje last year and I've even dabbled at creating my own jasmine and lavender blend before, but whereas my attempts just fell flat, the Dream aromatherapy oil was pure heaven. Jasmine is one of my favourite scents, while lavender is decidedly not, yet somehow Here&Now have blended the two into a perfect harmony. I love to roll this on all my pulse points (along the hairline, behind the ears, wrists and decolletage) to literally surround myself in its relaxing aroma. I even enjoy wearing this one as a daily perfume! Don't worry though - this isn't so strong that you'll get sleepy behind the wheel!
Final Verdict: Buy
All Natural Lip Balm
What it is: An alternative to petroleum based balms, these balms contain all natural ingredients and come in 5 flavours: Safety Third, Chai Latte, Mint, Focus and Sassafras.
What's in it: Each balm has slightly different ingredients, but they all primarily consist of a cocoa seed, pot marigold and beeswax base (all are emollients), castor seed oil (emollient), green tea leaf oil (antioxidant), coconut oil (emollient) and various fragrances. The one I received was Safety Third and was scented with bergamot, lemon and tea tree oils.
My take: Out of all the Here&Now products I received, I liked the All Natural Lip Balms the least. Maybe there is something in their ingredients that doesn't agree with my skin (though I generally don't react to things) but this balm just causes my lips to peel like a mutha f*cker! It just drove me mad having rough scaleies all the time and I had to do some major exfoliating. Over time, this reaction lessened, but I still found that I had to reapply this balm more often than others as my lips just absorbed it within minutes, yet still not feel any softer than before. As well, this balm is also very slippery and glossy, which makes it not suitable as a moisturizing base under lipsticks.
Final Verdict: Ditch
Overall, I was primarily positive about my experience with Here&Now. I love the simple, apothecary style packaging and their commitment to using environmentally friendly ingredients. I'm definitely interested in trying more of their aromatherapy oils, especially Sassfras and Uplift!
You can purchase Here&Now products via their website, or at various boutique beauty shops in Vancouver and Toronto.