Eco Chic Movement
At Alma we are big supporters of partnering with local and natural business so that we can offer the best natural products to our customers. Each month we will be featuring a different business. This month we’d like to introduce you to Eco Chic Movement. Eco Chic Movement (ECM) is a high-end skin care line for mom’s and baby’s dedicated to providing its customers with natural beauty products of the highest quality. Eco Chic Movement was founded by Dr. Alexis Reid, who is originally trained as a Chemical Engineer at the University of Waterloo in Canada, Dr. Reid continued at Queen’s University completing her Master’s Degree in Pharmacology and Toxicology. She completed her education at the Canadian College for Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM) in Toronto. This unique background presents exciting and new opportunities to this industry and represents what ECM is all about – providing safe and healthy products for its customers.
At Alma, you will find ECM’s Belly Butter, Baby Shampoo & Body Wash, Baby Powder, Baby Oil, Baby Lotion, Diaper Cream and Baby Face Cream.
To learn more about Eco Chic Movement and Dr. Alexis Reid, read our full interview with her.
Alma Natural Spa’s interview with Dr. Alexis Reid:
How did you get interested in natural products?
Having had dry skin my whole life, and being conscious about the importance of preventing the signs of aging from a young age, I enjoyed testing plenty of different facial moisturizers. University consisted of many late night trips to Shoppers Drug Mart to buy a facial mask or a new eye cream to try out. It was during my master’s degree, when I was doing breast cancer research, that I first became interested in natural products. My research focused on environmental carcinogens and their ability to initiate or increase the progression rates of breast cancer. One morning in the shower I made the sleepy discovery that one of the chemicals I had been reading about the day before, which is well known to be linked to breast cancer, was in my shampoo! This led me to take a better look at what was in all of the products I had been using and I was not happy with what I found. They were full of parabens, phthalates, SLS, and petroleum products. That day I made the switch to natural products and haven’t looked back!
Why did you decide to start making your own line?
Even though I was quite committed to using natural products, I was fairly disappointed with their quality and efficacy. I did not like the “granolaness” of the products that were available. Everything I seemed to find smelled like either lavender or hemp! I started researching how to make my own products and would find myself studying the fatty acid profiles of oils for hours and formulating creams that were tailored to my skins needs. I thought why not give making all of my own products a try. It was a natural fit for me. I did my undergraduate studies in chemical engineering, my masters in toxicology and was in my third year of studying naturopathic medicine at the time. These degrees appeared to be “all over the place”, but making skin care products brought everything I had learned together! I started simple. The first product I ever made was my peppermint lip balm in my dad’s kitchen over the Christmas holidays in 2011. It has snowballed from there and I have had a tonne of fun formulating and then making a wide variety of products. What makes my line special is the amount of time that goes into formulating my products. I formulate each product to have the proper fatty acid profile for the oils and butters and correct herbs used for their intended purposes. To put this into perspective my diaper cream is designed to be a 100% oil based formula. The oil repels water, and hence helps keep the moisture off the baby’s skin. I also included herbs that are anti- viral, bacterial, yeast, and fungus to help prevent diaper rash from being able to form.
What is your top selling product and why?
My top selling product is the Baby Face Cream. This is a cream that I was asked to formulate by Whole Foods as they saw that there was a gap in the industry as everyone makes a baby lotion, but there was nothing available as a face cream. The face cream is designed to protect baby’s cheeks from the harsh Canadian winters and from the chafing that occurs with excessive drooling during teething. This product is so popular because it works like a charm! It is a fairly simple formulation of olive oil, avocado oil, shea butter, cocoa butter and calendula that is very moisturizing and helps form a protective barrier on the skin a while allowing the calendula to help heal any irritated skin. I keep a jar of this cream in my car as my go to hand cream in the winter; helps heal chapped fingers in no time!
What comment do you hear most often from your clients?
What I hear most often from my clients is that they can’t believe how nice the texture of my products is. That was one of my main goals when I started out. I really didn’t like how the natural products I had tried felt. Lip balms were dry and crumbly, facial creams were oily, body lotions didn’t absorb nicely. I made that my number one goal from day one; to make safe, toxin free products that look, feel and work like your chemical laden products.
If you could tell everyone one thing about why they should care about natural products, what would it be?
The reason that you should care about natural products is everything that you put on your skin get absorbed, to some degree, into the bloodstream. Toxins absorbed though the skin have the potential to cause harm, because the body does not get the chance to detoxify them. When we eat a chemical, such as a pesticide, it gets taken to the liver. In the liver we have a group of enzymes called Cytochrome P450 which help to break down the toxin and make it water soluble so it can be excreted in the urine. From the skin, the toxin goes directly into the bloodstream and bypasses the trip to the liver.
Toxins are more of an issue with babies for a few key reasons. 1) Babies do not have fully developed nervous systems and many of these substances are neurotoxins 2) Babies have a higher percentage body fat than the typical adult does. This is important as many of the chemicals that are harmful, such as parabens are “lipophilic”, meaning fat loving. These chemicals get stored in the fatty tissues, which babies have more of, and then are released as the babies grow. This is a double edged sword, when the chemicals are released they cause disruption to the child’s hormones as they are known endocrine disruptors.
What is one product (yours or otherwise) that you cannot live without in your purse or medicine cabinet?
In my purse I cannot live without my Eco Chic Movement peppermint lip balm. I have the world’s driest most chapped lips year round which was the inspiration for the lip balm in the first place. It goes on smooth and last for hours. In my medicine cabinet, I can’t live without Thayer’s Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner. I use it twice a day, every day! With a quick swipe it gets rid of stray eye makeup, tones the skin and moisturizes. Love to use it under my nightly moisturizing cream.