One challenged herself to help women take care of themselves while helping the environment, and the other creates holistic beauty products for the body and skin. Our beauty ambassador, Lea, met with Alexandrine Pierre, founder of Apprenti Organik, to discuss natural beauty products and how they can transform your skin. Portrait of a discussion between two inspiring women.
How did you start producing holistic beauty products?
I started creating my beauty products after I travelled to Morocco, where I had the chance to meet with merchants selling various natural ingredients, such as clay and essential oils. Seeing them respecting nature in such a way inspired me to do the same. I then bought multiple oils and clays that I brought back to my Montreal kitchen, where I started to do various tests. One thing led to another, my surroundings, especially my boyfriend, convinced me to start my own business.
How do you think people should take care of their skin?
Our skin is part of our body, and to take good care of it, we need to start by listening to ourselves, taking care of ourselves, and getting to know who we are to understand what our body and skin needs.
Even if each skin has different needs, do you think specific steps should be a part of everyone’s skincare routine?
Our skin is perfect and already creates a complex oil (sebum) that is sufficient to nourish, hydrate and protect itself. In an ideal world deprived of synthetic toxins, well-balanced people don’t even have to use products: the simple action of washing your face with water on a daily basis is highly enough.
I would still like to add that, in general, people are scared of hydration, and it is usually what the skin lacks. In my opinion, it is best to start with a hydrating product and a gentle soap for your face. A small tip that anyone can benefit from: if your skin feels tight after washing your face, the cleanser you are using is too abrasive. When the skin is finally correctly hydrated, we can then start using specific products targeted for our skin.
And beyond hydrating our face, it is mandatory to hydrate from within: you need to drink water, lots of water. If it is good for plants, it is good for us.
How are you putting together your products? Are you following a specific approach, or is it more of a trial and error method?
The first thing you learn when you decide to launch your natural beauty product business is that you need to take classes on the principle of their formulation. If we think about creating a new cream, as an example, it is mandatory to learn how to do an emulsion and understand how to mix an aqueous phase with an oily phase so that it creates a homogenous solution. Same thing with soaps: it’s essential to know how to perform saponification.
The funny thing is, these are all notions that were taught at school before, in home-economics classes. In a different time, people were self-sufficient by using the same oil for cooking and then creating their soaps. Today, it’s a whole different story. We need to do our research and learn by ourselves the properties of each natural ingredient to understand how they interact with each other.
Many of your products are fabricated with hemp oil. Tell us why you enjoy this particular ingredient.
Hemp oil is very nourishing: it is full of Omega-3 and Omega-6. In the nutritious oils category, it is the least comedogenic, which means its formula does not clog pores. It is also an herb that grows quickly, without pesticides, and needs very few water supplies to develop. It can also be used in its totality for many different things. The one I am using to create my products is from Manitoba and is harvested in a very ecological way. I love it so much that I drink it every morning!
Which other natural ingredients are beneficial for our skin?
Natural products are becoming more and more popular, which means laboratory researches are also on the rise. Aloe is one of the only plants studied by dermatologists and is now well-known to act as an ally to our skin. Aloe juice is very soothing and helps protect from pollution and sun damage caused by extended UV exposure. All properties of aloe are well-known now in ayurvédic medicine. Then again, this plant is as good to drink.
When it comes to buying a skin beauty product, it is mandatory to read the ingredient label. A product labelled “natural” is not automatically good for us. We need to get closer to plants and not forget that products created in a laboratory were usually designed to imitate a natural plant component.
There is a rise in people trying to create their natural beauty products at home. Do you have any tips for anyone who might want to start?
First if all: congratulations! It is so rewarding to be able to support ourselves. But it is also so important to do your research before you start anything. Our skin is a membrane that needs to breathe, which allows toxins to come and keep the good ones. When we do not give it what it needs, we’ll start to experience a few problems. It’s just like anything else: it is so great to create things by yourself, but you must have the right tools to do so.