Canadian indie beauty brand makes skin care and soap from icebergs

By Deanna Utroske contact

- Last updated on GMT

Canadian indie beauty brand makes skin care and soap from icebergs
East Coast Glow uses glacial water and other local ingredients in its collection of personal care products. It’s a concept, right in line with several current industry trends, that the company hopes will sustain sales beyond tourist season.

The people behind East Coast Glow are Karen Dewling and Roger Dewling. And the brand origin story is a classic in the small-batch indie space: nothing on the market met the needs and expectations of someone with sensitive skin.

Karen Dewling first started making soaps and skin care in an effort to develop cleaners and moisturizers gentle enough to use on her newborn’s skin. The baby had eczema and Karen Dewling knew that she “needed some intervention and of course when we visited our doctor we were given harsh creams and topical steroids and things like that, that I didn't want to slather my six-month-old baby with,” ​she tells Jane Adey of CBC News.

Local harvest

The waters around Newfoundland and Labrador, the eastern most Canadian province, are known as the Iceberg Capital of the World. So perhaps there’s no better place for a startup beauty brand with glacial water as its signature ingredient to establish itself.

East Coast Glow gathers chunks of ice that break free from the local icebergs each spring. Roger Dewling wades out into the sea and shuttles the ice back home, where it’s stored in several chest freezers that the couple keeps just for this purpose.

When ice isn’t just drifting by, the Dewlings gathers up another local ingredient that’s used in the East Coast Glow product formulas: seaweed.

“We collect seaweed and kelp off the cape lighthouse and we dry that and we put that in our salts and our bath balms as well,”​ the couple tells Adey. “It makes our product interesting and we're here in Newfoundland and why not use the products that are all around us and in the ocean.”

East Coast Glow also sources sea salt from the Newfoundland Sea Salt company, a company which “harvests sea salt from the waters off Bay Bulls in eastern Newfoundland,”​ according to an earlier CBC item.  

Unique value proposition

Distinctive ingredients are the defining attribute of the East Coast Glow brand. There is plenty of competition in the small-batch, local indie beauty marketplace.  And Karen Dewling believes it’s the glacial water that makes the difference: “soap making is really a chemical reaction that's taking place called saponification and the purer the water source the better the chemical reaction is going to be, which is going to result in a better soap.”

It’s an appealing novelty too. Tourists to the province are there to see the icebergs up close. “They go out on these tours and they see them and they're enthralled by them so they come here and they see that we use the iceberg water and they kind of step back and say wow, we can't get this anywhere else and they bring gifts back to their families,”​ Karen Dewling tells the press.

And anecdotally, the East Coast Glow personal care product portfolio is well received by consumers with skin sensitivities.  “We've had a lot of good support and people who come out who can't use any other products, they try our things and they're able to use it and they keep coming back,” ​she says in Adley’s item about the company​.

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