A Metro Vancouver woman will have her skincare line featured at this Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards in Hollywood, thanks to her toxin-free approach to cosmetics.
Mai and Daniel Mowrey’s Scentuals is a B.C.-based, family-operated company based out of Coquitlam that makes high-quality skin care products set at a reasonable price. But the line isn’t just any old cosmetic brand; they use natural ingredients from around the world in their products, like pure essential oils, cold pressed carrier oils, the finest butters, botanicals and organic herbs. Not a drop of synthetic ingredients or toxins will be found in their range of face and body products, aromatherapy, or hair care items.
Every product is made and shipped from their Coquitlam factory, and now some of the world’s biggest stars will be getting their hands on what many in Metro Vancouver have known to love. And with this glitzy wave of attention, the company’s focus is still to educate customers about the importance of natural and organic ingredients.
Vancity Buzz spoke with Mai Mowry to find out what Scentuals is all about and how she feels about heading to Hollywood for the Golden Globes:
What are the worst toxins you need to look out for on your cosmetic labels?
Reading labels on skincare products is as complicated as reading labels on foods. And in many cases, if you can’t pronounce it, you shouldn’t use it (or eat it!) The list below includes what we (and likely most natural/organic skincare brands) would consider to be the worst toxins to look out for on labels. If consumers could just start to look out for these ingredients, they would be taking great strides in the right direction!
Parabens. Parabens are preservatives. They, like a preservative in food, help to maintain shelf life. Parabens are the most widely found preservative in cosmetic products and not only can they penetrate the skin, but they are linked to hormone dysfunction, endocrine disruption and cancer. Consumers should look out for any word that includes “paraben” in it. Parabens are also found in perfumes, but because manufacturers are not required to disclose the ingredients in perfumes, a consumer wouldn’t know. This is why we use essential oils to scent our products and also have a scent-free line.
Phthalates. Phthalates are chemicals that act as binding agents and make plastic flexible. They are found in many products (ie/detergents, vinyl, raincoats) but are also found in soaps, shampoos, hair sprays, and nail polishes. It has been inferred that women have more of these chemicals in their system due to their usage of beauty-related products. Phthalates can be linked to endocrine disruption, damage to the liver/kidney/lung, ADHD, neurodevelopmental issues and cancer. When reading a label, look for any word that includes “phthalate”.
Triclosan. Triclosan is also a preservative, but also an anti-bacterial ingredient. You’d commonly find it in deodorants, antiperspirants, cleansers and hand sanitizers or products advertised as “anti-bacterial”. Although a single product may not contain an extensive amount of triclosan, the issue is that it is found in many products and has a cumulative effect. You should avoid products with labels that include “triclosan” and “triclocarbon”.
Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES). SLS is a surfactant (which breaks down dirt and oils), a detergent, and an emulsifier (a stabilizer which prevents liquids from separating). SLES is a detergent with high foaming ability and can explain why we feel the need for a product to create bubbles in order for it to be cleaning, which is actually not true. Soaps and shampoos that don’t foam make many consumers feel like they aren’t cleaning when in fact, they likely are. SLS and SLES can be found in shampoo, body wash, hand soap and may be called (or include words such as) “sodium dodecyl sulfate”, “sulfuric acid”, “sodium salt”, and “monododecyl ester”.
What are the risks of putting GMOs and toxins on your body?
Because many cosmetic/skincare ingredients come from agricultural ingredients, and many of those ingredients have been re-engineered, GMO’s are getting into our bodies through skincare, not just food. The associated risks will, of course, depend on the toxin or GMO, but may include: increased tumours and cancers, asthma, endocrine disruption, reproductive disorders, neurological disease, irritation of skin or eyes, allergies, disruption of healthy intestinal bacteria, and more. Research is ongoing and some questions still remain but generally we pose the question: If you wouldn’t risk putting GMO’s or toxins IN your body, then why risk putting them ON your body?
How did you go about getting your products featured at the Golden Globes?
The Golden Globes Secret Room reached out and invited us to feature our products at their event. We thought this was a huge opportunity for us to be there and able to get the celebrities to try our products.
Which stars are you most excited to have try them out?
We are anxious to see which nominees will be attending the event. As natural products are becoming more mainstream, I’m hopeful that more and more of these Hollywood influencers will be open to learning more about our brand.
Of course we’d love to have women like Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Schumer, or Maggie Smith, but we also have men’s lines and would love to get in front of Leonardo DiCaprio, Steve Carell, or Mark Ruffalo!
Many of these nominees are parents as well and should be concerned about what they put on their child’s skin, so we’d love to have them try our Baby Steps products as well.
What’s next for the company?
We will further expand our distribution in Canada and plan to export into U.S. and Asia market. We have also just opened our first retail store in Vietnam, which was a great success. Our mission is to convert people using natural products versus conventional, one lotion or one soap at time.
The information on GMOs and toxins above are of the interview-subject’s opinion and do not necessarily represent proven scientific fact.