The words "natural skincare" used to conjure up images of brave DIYers slathering mud and herbs over their faces. Which, despite our never-ending journey for clear skin, most of us are just not willing to try. Canada-based Consonant Skincare arrived on the scene to offer a happy medium between natural and luxurious, store-bought products. The brand combines all-natural formulas with luxe packaging and effective results and its HydrExtreme® is a Canadian Beauty Innovation Awards Grand Prize Winner. We talked to founder Bill Baker to find out more about how he is working to change our perceptions of natural skincare.
What was the inspiration to create a natural skincare line?
“As an adult, I suffered from all kinds of skin issues. It got so bad I became addicted to prescription ointment with cortisone, which was the only thing that would relieve my symptoms. But that’s all it did; it relieved my symptoms. Then, someone turned me on to natural skincare, and without exaggeration, my skin cleared up overnight. When I did research, I learned that the ingredients in the skin care products I was using were causing my issues."
"I became a convert immediately. But I couldn’t find natural products that felt as good as my conventional products; nor could I find products that were natural and high performance. So Consonant Skincare was born to meet my own needs: natural and healthy, beautiful textures so they feel wonderful, and potent formulations that deliver superior results.”
Why was it important for you to have a line that was not only natural, but also luxurious?
“When it comes to skin care, we recognize natural only gets you so far. If they don’t feel good to use and if they don’t deliver results, customers won’t come back. We think we have cracked the code: you really can have it all!”
Where do you source your ingredients from?
“We use organic botanicals whenever we can—but not all organic botanicals are created equal. So, we source our ingredients from reputable North American and Western European companies that adhere to strict manufacturing processes that guarantee efficacy and purity.”
Have you ever been inspired by a particular ingredient to create a product?
“We were inspired by the phenomenal hydrating properties of Cassia Angustifolia Seed Polysaccharide to develop an uber hydrating serum that could address the number one skin concern we hear about: very dry skin. And HydrExtreme® was born. In addition to providing the longest-lasting hydration of any product on the market, the added benefit is a noticeable improvement in the look of fine lines and wrinkles, instantly.”
What has been one of the biggest challenges developing the line?
“Probably our greatest challenge has been convincing consumers that you really can have an all-natural skin care line that delivers powerful results and feels great to use. That’s why we do lots of sampling, and we encourage prospective customers to try the products before they buy the products. We are proud of how well Consonant Skincare performs, so we get extremely high bounce back from sampling.”
How long does it take to go from an idea to a finish product?
“Typically, it takes one to two years to get a formulation just right. And we’ve learned the hard way, even when you think you have it perfect, things can go off the rails when you scale up to full production. So we’ve learned to take our time to do it right. Our most recent product introduction is a great example. When we first developed our 100 percent natural and effective deodorant, we got rave reviews from our panel testing. But when we scaled up, and the temperature changed, we learned how sensitive the formulation is to changes in volume, and even changes in humidity during manufacturing. While skin care is primarily science, there is a lot of art to it too!”
How does the name tie in with the brand?
“In the musical sense of the term, a ‘consonant’ sound is a harmonious sound. Consonant Skincare has been formulated to be consonant with your body’s natural chemistry.”
What are the benefits to using the natural skincare products?
“The benefits are enormous and meaningful. Most importantly, natural products are healthier. That’s a fact. Many of the commonly used synthetic ingredients found in conventional skin care products are harsh and irritating at best, toxic and carcinogenic at worst! An added benefit is that natural skincare products tend to be much more easily tolerable for people with sensitive skin.”
What advice do you have for someone looking to switch to a natural skincare routine?
“Ironically, the products we buy to improve our skin may in fact be causing the problems we are buying the products to resolve. You can see how we can get trapped in this cycle of unhealthy skin care. One way of determining if you are more sensitive to conventional products is to eliminate them from your routine for a couple weeks, and then slowly reintroduce them. You might be surprised to find just how sensitive to these products you may be. It is similar to doing an elimination diet. Once the decision is made to switch, customers often see an improvement in their skin immediately, but a small number will experience a transition period. Most common would be a minor breakout. In order to minimize the chance this may happen, we recommend a gradual switch-over to our clients. That is, introduce one or two new natural products at a time.”
What is your favorite product in the range? Why?
“Hands down my favorite product is HydrExtreme®. I have the world’s driest skin, so I use it every day. Some people don’t realize they should hydrate even in warm and humid weather. This is why HydrExtreme® is perfect. It is super lightweight so it doesn’t feel heavy or weigh your skin down during warm weather months, but it is potent enough to deliver persistent hydration during the coldest and driest months.”
What misconceptions about natural skincare do you hope to change with the range?
“Our mission is to take natural skin care out of the health food store and bring it into the mainstream. We are targeting the 98 percent of consumers who are uncomfortable buying their skin care at the same place they buy their supplements and natural peanut butter. In order to do that, we recognize being ‘all natural’ alone isn’t enough. Our products have to feel good to use, and more importantly, deliver results.”
Have you ever used Consonant skincare? Do you follow a natural routine? Let us know in the comments and make sure to review your favorite all natural products!