New Local #YYC Skin Care Favourites
Skin care products are one of my favourite things in the world. Make them local and well, that's outta this world!
I've been lucky enough to encounter a few new (to me) local beauty and skin care companies in the past few months. All of them focus on quality over quantity and are dedicated to using ingredients that help not harm. XX Balm was started in Calgary and is now produced in B.C. (But the mastermind still lives and works in #YYC), Simply Polished is made in Calgary and Bar 13 Soapworks is located a quick 30 minutes south of the city in High River. What I love most about all three companies is their simplicity and the wonderful, wonderful people behind them.
So without further ado, here are a few goodies that are keeping me pretty!
Up until a few weeks ago, I only knew of two life-changing lip balms. The first was part of a hotel toiletry kit that must have been made exclusively for the property because I could never find it on the brand’s website. Once that balm was gone, there was simply no way I could justify paying for a night in a hotel just for lip balm (Unless, I snuck in and raided a housekeeping cart... who’s with me on this one?!)
The second balm was also a long-time exclusive of a skincare brand I loved, but the formulation changed and it was never the same. I know this is a first world problem but when you live in a dry climate, a good lip balm is ESSENTIAL!
Long story short, I have been on the hunt for a new balm that didn’t require continuous application, wasn’t too sticky, and gave lasting hydration. It’s a trifecta that’s hard to find.
Thank goodness XX Balm came into my life! I had been creeping Sam, the creator of XX Balm, on Instagram for awhile and for the first year of XX’s existence, kept meaning to find time to pop down to one of her retailers to grab a stick. Well it ever happened (F U migraines), so when SZN 2 of XX Balm launched at the end of June, I was all over it and picked up a tube of “encouragemint” — flavoured with peppermint and bergamot. This second release of XX Balm has been reformulated with argan and jojoba oils while keeping beeswax and shea butter in the mix. Let me tell you, IT’S FABULOUS. Every time I put it on my lips I have one of those “Where have you been all my life moments?” The best part is how velvety the balm makes your pout feel and how the feeling lasts and lasts. Because of it’s stellar hydration, you only need to apply a few times a day (I usually do mine after meals and before bed), although you’ll want to apply more because it tastes so damn good. By the end of summer, I plan on having all four flavours in my handbag — since I’ll finally have room after tossing all my previous lip balm under-performers in the trash.
Plus XX Balm is hosting a pop-up at West Elm in Calgary on July 30. I just might see you there!
Simply Polished Lemon Lavender Deodorant and Happy Bath Bomb
I confess: I have been using an antiperspirant with aluminum and other unhealthy ingredients for years. My reasoning for using an antiperspirant at the time was sound — I didn’t want to be a sweaty, smelly teenager and it took me trials of a few brands before I found one that didn’t give me a rash. So for 10+ years, I’ve been using the same antiperspirant because it worked and I wasn’t about to go through another summer of red bumpy armpits again. Then, natural deodorants became more widely available and I began researching which ones worked, the formulations (tube or paste/cream) and reading reviews like crazy. From my reading, I knew switching from an antiperspirant to a deodorant was A) Going to be an experience because I wasn’t accustomed to only halting body odour and not repelling sweat at the same time and B) I was going to have to find a natural version that worked with my body chemistry. My first natural deodorant I picked up from a health food store and could barely get the damn tube to roll onto my pit. Enter B.O. and the instant reintroduction of my beloved antiperspirant. The second natural deodorant I tried was a best-seller at Sephora and while I liked the smell, it always left my armpits feeling damp and I wasn’t too keen on having to carry it around with me 24/7. It also didn’t work at all when I was in a migraine and having stress sweats — ew.
Third time's a charm though (I had a good feeling about this deodorant!!) and I had my eye on Simply Polished’s all natural Lemon Lavender Deodorant since discovering the brand on Instagram. With my health giving me more good than bad days, I was finally able to attend a Little Modern Market and meet Victoria, the creator of Simply Polished. I picked up the deodorant and one of her bath bombs. So far, I am in love with the deodorant. It’s mix of cocoa and shea butter to soften the skin, coconut oil to work as a anti-bacterial, and diatomaceous earth and bentonite clay to keep you dry and smelling fresh. It’s simply the best natural deodorant I’ve tried. Even on my migraine/stress sweat days, I don’t notice any B.O. and my armpits feel dry. In hot weather, I’ve had to reapply later in the day but it is still a noticeable difference from other natural deodorants on the market.
I also fell in love with Simply Polished’s Happy Mood Bombs aka bath bomb. The lemon, grapefruit and orange scents were uplifting from the moment I snuck a whiff at the market. When I used it in a bath a few days later, I have to say, it was a joyful bath! Usually I go for a relaxing, put-me-to-sleep vibe for my baths, but stepping out of the tub with a smile on my face was actually more relaxing than usual! If I could buy these bath bombs in bulk, I would!
Buy Simply Polished products online, or at Rosso Coffee Roasters, WorldTown Cosmetics Co., Outside The Shape, The Juice Shop and Oat + Tonic. Check their website for upcoming markets too – They’ll be at the Southcentre Night Market July 28 and 29!
Bar 13 Soapworks Moisturizing Bath Salts and Bath Bombs
Bar 13 Soapworks holds a place near and dear to my heart because they're made where I live in High River, Alberta! I had heard about their products long before moving to the area but first discovered their shower steamers last summer. Now, I get to take a walk downtown to their new store to pick up my bath supplies! What I love about Bar 13 Soapworks, is that like XX Balm and Simply Polished, they focus on high quality ingredients. All of Bar 13's products are handmade and free of parabens, sulfates and phthalates.
My favourite products so far are their moisturizing bath salts (The jasmine scent is amazing) and bath bombs. The moisturizing bath salts might be discontinued (They were on sale last time I was in), but if you can find a jar — grab it! Otherwise, there are the Jasmine Moisturizing Bath Bombs which feature soothing babassu oil, anti-inflammatory grape seed oil and mango butter for some serious hydration. The coconut and lavender varieties are also great, but my favourite has to be Bath Bomb Crumbles Bag. You get 1 pound of bath bomb crumbles (The broken bits left over from production) for $5! They mix and match the scents but I haven't had a bag yet that hasn't smelled divine.
Bar 13 is also offering free home delivery within Calgary, Okotoks, Turner Valley, Black Diamond and High River right now! How fun would that be to order online and have your bath bombs waiting on your doorstep within a day or two?! I'd start filling the tub right now 😉
Buy Bar 13 Soapworks products online or at their store in High River. Let me know if you're coming to town, maybe we can grab a coffee!