Editor’s Spotlight

Made in Canada: Indie beauty brands north of the border

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / (lucky-photographer)
© Getty Images / (lucky-photographer)
Conventional wisdom holds that the, now global, indie beauty movement has its origins in the US. But our neighbors to the north have been making substantial contributions all along. Here, Cosmetics Design takes a look at some of the innovative independent personal care and skin care brands headquartered in Canada.

Over the past months, the Canadian indie beauty brands that have been featured on the Indie Beauty Profile column or otherwise made headlines on Cosmetics Design are brands focused on natural ingredients, new science, and sometimes both.

Natural ingredients

Niu Body is a natural skin care brand founded by millennials and making affordable product for millennials. As Cosmetics Design noted in the intro to co-founder Laura Burget’s Indie Beauty Profile​ early last year, “Consumers are no longer settling for the next-best brand or waiting for big beauty to meet their expectations. More and more women are building the very brands they want to buy.”

Burget and her co-founder Connie Lo have developed an expansive product portfolio with “No animal testing. No synthetic ingredients. Just good for you natural skin care,” ​according to the Niu Body ecommerce site. The brands products comprise cleansing oils, toning mists, facial serums, clay masks, sugar lip polishes, and skin care kits.

Ellie Bianca founder Evelyne Nyairo has built an indie skin care and body care brand that’s as much about natural ingredients as it is about environmental sustainability and socially conscious business. As she told Cosmetics Design last summer in her Indie Beauty Profile​, Ellie Bianca is “Kind to your skin. Kind to the earth. And kind to women.”

The brand’s hero ingredient is shea butter. And the Ellie Bianca product portfolio is made up of a collection of lip care, body oils, bath salts, and luxury serums.

Julianne Robicheau’s indie brand Robi Skincare is all about small batch luxury skin and body care. “Small-batch beauty has long been the purview of farmers’ market personal care brands and the launching off point of many booming natural brands. Robicheau is among those innovators scaling natural luxe products with a local feel for a wider market,” ​Cosmetics Design noted in the intro to her Indie Beauty Profile​ last March.

For Robicheau it’s not only important that her brand reaches consumers online and in conventional retail shops like Riley Rose; she’s also invested in a refillable retail concept shop called eco + amour, which opened a first store in Ontario, Canada, this past September. Read more here on Cosmetics Design. ​ 

Mary Futher’s brand kaia naturals has been in business since 2010. Known best for the juicy bamboo cleansing cloths, kaia naturals is dedicated to doing the research and making the ingredient choices that clean beauty shoppers would make for themselves if they really had the time.

“Our mantra,” ​Futher told Cosmetics Design in her Indie Beauty Profile​ last August, “is minimalism. We don’t make a lot of products but what we do make, we make sure we do it really well.”​ The kaia naturals affordable product portfolio currently includes, a range of deodorants, overnight dry shampoos, bath salts and minerals, a bar soap, and the bamboo cleaning cloths.

And new science

Other Canadian brand founders like Alison Crumblehulme of Veriphy skincare and Kenna Whitnell of Altilis Beauty are merging natural ingredients and new science to innovate brands that meet the expectations of consumers ready for new products with a simple sophistication.

“Veriphy harnesses the power of PhytoSpherix (phytoglycogen), a breakthrough material extracted from plants that delivers impactful clinical results,” ​says Crmblehulme in her Indie Beauty Profile​. Explaining her brand’s place in the current beauty ecosystem, she notes that, “Canadian-made and cruelty-free, Veriphy is a natural beauty startup led by a team of women in STEM.”

Whitnell shut down her first beauty venture when she was studying biochemistry at university and discovered the skin care benefits of breadfruit. “With my new breadfruit ingredients, full of antioxidants, flavonoids, fatty acids and other phytochemicals, I formulated a skincare line for sensitive skin with a focus on age prevention,” ​Whitnell says in Indie Beauty Profile​.



Deanna Utroske, CosmeticsDesign.com Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.

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