by ANEEKA WARD
JENNA FLETCHER, 29 YEARS OLD, PSYCHOTHERAPIST
ON BEAUTY AND AYURVEDA
“Over the past 10 years, my relationship with nature has evolved and I am now able to better recognize the impacts of the choices I make. Consequently, this has altered my makeup and beauty priorities and practices. My respect and reverence for nature have grown immensely. This shift started when I became interested in something called Ayurveda a few years ago. Ayurveda is a 5000-year-old life science and medical system originating from India. It is often referred to as the “sister science” of yoga. Ayurveda is a fascinating and powerful ancient wisdom system that promotes living a healthy and happy life, in harmony with nature. Ever since delving into Ayurveda, I’ve learned that nature truly is a highly intelligent pharmacy that can heal us on multiple levels, along with helping us look and feel radiant. I so love using beauty, wellness and spa products made from nature’s plants, oils, minerals, etc., that have been respected along their road to becoming a product that I get to use. When you think about it, it truly is amazing how much time, energy and miraculousness happens in order for a tiny seed to grow into a plant that we then get to use and enjoy in the form of a beauty product. I love products that appreciate and respect this process and cycle. All of that being said, I do still use and enjoy mainstream beauty products.
ON MAKING HER OWN BEAUTY PRODUCTS
I’ve loved making products and having “spa days” ever since I was little. I can remember being 7 or 8 years old and adding the weirdest things to my mom’s grocery shopping list because I wanted to replicate a facemask recipe I saw in a magazine. She always managed to find everything I needed – thanks, mom! These days I regularly take salt baths, make and use face masks, hair masks, foot and body scrubs, and do something called ‘abhyanga’ which is an Ayurvedic self-massage technique using infused oils. I do all of this because it’s fun, feels amazing, helps me decompress and release toxins. I also take cold showers. Cold showers are super detoxifying and great for one’s mood and energy levels.
I began making soap 3 years ago with my friend Eva and instantly fell in love with it. I’ve always enjoyed making things, but can’t begin to tell you how many of my old ‘creations’, i.e., paintings and miscellaneous crafts, are tucked away in boxes in my basement collecting dust. The great thing about making soap is that I get to create, and the end product is completely functional. My soaps also make great gifts. Also, ever since I started making and using my own soap, I’m healed of what was a life-long allergy to wearing wool! I guess commercial soap was just too irritating for my skin.
Jenna’s handmade soaps – Sea Salt, Poppy Seed, Charcoal
ON THE IMPORTANCE OF GETTING READY
I’ve fallen in love with the actual process of ‘getting ready’. When you take a moment to reflect on those words, you realize that this is a short but deeply intentioned and meaningful little phrase. I’ve learned the hard way how vital it is to start the day off on the right foot, by preparing for it both mentally and physically. When I sleep past my alarm clock, forget to eat breakfast and then rush off to work with messy hair and no makeup on, I just feel off, stressed, unhappy, and like I’m behind the eight-ball all day long. When I get up early, meditate, workout, take a cold shower, eat well, and give myself half an hour to do my hair and makeup, I feel relaxed, prepared, radiant, and motivated to leave my house and take on the day. I’m happier and more productive at work and my interactions with others are way better when I’ve properly gotten ready for the day.
TOP 5 BEAUTY PRODUCTS
I use my Phyts Cleansing Milk every night after I take my makeup off with coconut oil. I find this product helps to keep my acne under control without drying out my skin. After I’ve removed my makeup, I hop in the bath or shower, wet my face, squeeze about a dime’s worth of product into my hand and then gently scrub the cleanser into my face and neck for 30-60 seconds before rinsing. My friend, Deborah, who owns Eco Honey Bee Spa in Kemptville, recommended it to me. She is really skilled at skin assessment and has done advanced training for this in France – so I completely trust her and her recommendations. She orders Phyts from France and I believe Phyts products are one of the few, if not the only, product lines that are 100% natural and without any preservatives. I’ve had acne since I was 11 and have tried dozens of products and even some pretty intensive interventions like Accutane. This is the first face wash that’s been helpful for my acne without leaving my skin feeling dry and stripped. Also, I absolutely love the smell!
Side note #1: In my opinion, the best way to remove makeup is with coconut oil and a cotton pad. It works beautifully for waterproof eye makeup and dark lipsticks. Just make sure you wash your face afterwards, otherwise, the oil can create breakouts in the eye-area. It’s super moisturizing. I’ve always found makeup removers to be irritating and even somewhat burning.
Side note #2: Oil pulling, or the swishing of coconut or another type of oil in your mouth for 10-20 minutes then spitting it out, followed by gargling with salt water, and then drinking hot lemon water – only as hot as you can stand – first thing in the morning works wonders for the skin too. Try it every day for a week and see what happens!
I knew I wanted Eco Honey Bee’s Calendula Face Balm as soon as I saw its amazing ingredient list. It has royal jelly from Deb’s bees (who I have met – they live a very happy life), organic calendula from her garden, and other whole and natural products from her farm. Deb has been making her face, lip and body balms for years now, and this is her latest creation for the face. I apply this balm once a day, in the morning before I put my makeup on. I feel like it goes a step beyond moisturizing; the honey in it creates this very light waxy barrier against pollutants and toxins, including from the makeup I put on my face. As a bonus, it also keeps my crazy eyebrow hairs in place. This balm gives me great value for the price. I’ve been using the same small jar for about 3 months now. You only need a micro amount to cover your face and neck. I find it so cool that when I look at this balm, I can visualize the bees who produced the royal jelly, the gardens where the plants and extracts came from, and Deb who works so hard to maintain all of this and creates products that come from a place of integrity and love. I have so much appreciation for Eco Honey Bee products; they’re the real deal.
Joico Endure Violet Shampoo and Conditioner is totally essential to my hair care routine. I would not be happy with my hair colour without it. I use it every 2-3 days to cut yellow tones out of my hair to make it the ashy-white blonde that I prefer. Ashy-white hair is a great base for experimenting with other colours and toners, too. A few months ago I toned it granny grey, which was fun. In addition to cutting the yellow out, I find this product to be quite moisturizing and repairing for my hair. Bleach is so damaging, but my hair has actually done a lot of healing since I started using this. My friend and amazing hair stylist, Carmelina Ortega, introduced me to Endure Violet when I bleached my entire head last year. She recommended I use a good quality purple shampoo to help maintain the colour. As instructed by Carm, I will use a regular non-purple shampoo first, followed by my purple shampoo, followed by a sometimes purple and sometimes not purple conditioner. I like to keep both on hand. The reason for using the non-purple shampoo first is that it prevents the hair from absorbing the bluish-purple tones that are in the purple shampoo. Anytime I’ve been in a rush and have skipped the first step, I’ve ended up with blue and purple stripes in my hair! Aside from its effectiveness, the colour of the product itself is awesome. It’s dark purple, it glistens, and the entire floor of the shower turns bright purple when I’m washing it out. It’s a fun experience.
In general, I love full, dark, bold eyebrows, and my eyebrows unfortunately are naturally blonde and on the thinner side. Before finding Combinal’s Eyebrow Tinting Kit I always coloured mine in with an eyebrow pencil. Now, I find tinting them to be better as I only have to do it once or twice a week and I get a more natural version of my desired look. To use this, I mix a dab of the tinted cream with about 5 drops of hydrogen peroxide and mix the two up with a small brush. I then apply it to my eyebrows using the small brush. As soon as I’m finished applying it to my brows, I take a couple of dry Q-tips and tidy up the perimeter of my eyebrows to avoid having any peripheral skin tinted darker. After 10-15 minutes I wipe everything off with a wet cotton pad. I use the brown cream for a more natural look, and the black cream when I want statement eyebrows, like if I’m going out on the weekend and wearing more eye makeup than usual. I found it a little tricky to use the first couple of times when I didn’t know the Q-tip trick, but at this point, practicing has made it pretty effortless. I have white counters and anytime I have spilled this product I was able to wipe it up easily with no staining. I buy this kit online at naildepot.ca and have been using the same one for a few months now. You only need to use micro amounts; I mix up as little of it as possible, and will always have extra left over.
My Stila All Day Waterproof Eyeliner is the easiest of all the liquid liners I’ve tried. Once it’s on, it stays put and doesn’t smudge into my eyelid crease. I must confess, I’m not great at putting eyeliner on and I can’t do wings or anything fancy like that, so the fact that I can put this on and have it look half-decent says a lot! Literally, every other liquid eyeliner I tried before this one would smudge into my crease, which was annoying and looked like crap. The tip is very fine, which works well for me because I have smaller eyes. I find that the colour does fade from jet-black to more of a grey-black over the course of 6-8 hours. It’s super easy to add another layer on top to darken the colour, though. I’ll bring it in my purse and darken the line at some point on days when I’m going out, going to my second job or if I go to a really long party like a wedding. One tube lasts me about 4 weeks and I use it about 5 days per week. It’s definitely a splurge. I do find it really expensive, but it’s just so awesome it’s worth it.”