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If you are in the market for a new face oil, look no further! As a Finalist, Ellie Bianca’s Citrus Verbena is a judge favourite in CertClean’s Clean Beauty Awards this year – it has been recognized as one of the top performing face care products in the clean beauty industry.
Ellie Bianca has a vision of “cultivating a global connection that empowers women, creates resilient communities that exemplifies natural beauty”. After hearing the story behind why Evelyne, the founder, decided to start Ellie Bianca, you’ll love her as much as we do.
What inspired you to start your business or to formulate your Citrus Verbena oil?
Prior to venturing into the beauty industry, I operated an environmental consulting firm, supporting projects globally. On one of the occasions my consultancy work took me to Chad, Central Africa and I found myself doing fieldwork among the most beautiful wild mango trees. Never being one to pass up the opportunity to indulge in succulent mangoes, I had my fill courtesy of a family whose mother and children climbed the trees in the hot sun to harvest mangoes for me to eat. After eating to my satisfaction, I went to give the money to the mother who then told me, “You must hand the money over to the father as a sign of respect.” Sitting off to the side, never having lifted a finger or looked up to acknowledge my existence was the father. I felt both anger and frustration as I handed the money over to him. This happens everywhere around the world in different ways and it must stop. The experience took me back to the boardrooms in Canada where I had experienced instances of misogyny and gender discrimination. I felt compelled to make a difference. This was the genesis of Ellie Bianca. I was moved to create a brand that would be more than a beauty brand but a brand that would empower women globally.
The product line has been inspired by various experiences. I can vividly recall 6 years ago, along the halls of a hotel in the south of France, I caught the scent of a comforting aroma that my nose just couldn’t get enough of. The fresh, invigorating fragrance filled the halls in the hotel, and I was obsessed. I had to find a way to recreate it naturally and organically. Following this was a two-year journey of trials, ups and downs that helped birth the Citrus Verbena oil.
Please tell us more about your Citrus Verbena! Why do you think it was so well-loved by Clean Beauty Awards’ judging panel?
Citrus Verbena consists of base oil of 12 luxurious oils that are result driven. It took as about 2 years to formulate this base keeping in mind the needs of customers. We took our time because we wanted to formulate an effective product. We went through trials and testing, formulating and reformulating, trying different ratios and finally we were able to create a light, fast absorbing, non-greasy face oil. Furthermore, the scent had to be made from organic essential oils to ensure it measured up to our standard of 100 % natural.
This invigorating face oil helps reduce inflammation, improve skin texture and maintain a balanced complexion. Thanks to the unique blend of oils, it locks in moisture, improves overall skin texture and glides smoothly onto the skin resulting in a youthful and supple complexion.
Since launching the oil, it has received a lot of attention. It was nominated in New York at the Indie Beauty Expo and was a finalist in 2018. Additionally, the oil was a finalist for the clean living awards. When we submitted it for CertClean’s Clean Beauty Awards we also submitted it along with the other scents in this collection and to our surprise it was shortlisted as a finalist for in the Facial Oil category for 2020.
As a formulator, you must have some special love for some ingredients. What is your favourite ingredient?
All the 12 oils that are part of the formula are special to me. Each ingredient is selected for its function, for example; Borage Oil is high in omega 6 fatty acid, gamma linolenic acid, beneficial for soothing dry, damaged or irritated skin. While Evening Primrose Oil is high in essential fatty acids, anti-inflammatory and known to help with the overall appearance of the skin. It is beneficial to those affected by eczema, psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. Rose Hip Oil has natural Vitamin A which reduces signs of aging and lightens age spots while balancing the skin tone. However, if I had to choose one, I would say Shea oil, which is our foundational ingredient;
It has been known to have natural SPF which protects against harmful sun rays
- It boosts cell generation
- It has high concentrations of fatty acids and vitamins that make it great for the skin.
- It also has anti-inflammatory and nourishing properties and it tones and soothes skin.
In your journey of creating natural products, what were some roadblocks or issues that you were faced with?
Misleading Information. Navigating this business, I have had to be almost like a myth buster; especially when it comes to oils and the face.
Many people are scared (especially those with oily or combination skin) to put oil on their face. It seems counterintuitive, but the truth is that stripping your face of oil is when most breakouts occur. Your sebaceous glands go into overdrive to produce more natural oil, blocking your pores. The right oil will help repair and protect your skin and can even regulate sebum production!
No matter what your skin type is, your face still needs oil. I consistently advice consumers to invest in the right products. The right facial oil will repair your skin, make it look more youthful and protect it from free radicals.
Educating consumers has been an equal challenge with misconceptions on creams and oils as causes of acne I have had to work hard in order to educate and build awareness. My background in Chemistry and Biology has given me an edge to be able to understand ingredients and how to use them effectively. My deep understating of skin anatomy and plant ecology plays a huge role in ingredient selection. For example lipids hold the cell structure together, and certain oils will nourish and promote cell renewal. We want to ensure that we are effectively nurturing the skin micro-biome which is connected to the gut microbiome; a healthy skin microbiome might protects against infection the same way a good gut microbiome does.
We absolutely love the ethos of your company. Can you tell us more?
The beauty industry is awash with many products most of which are full of toxins that could be potentially harmful to the skin. That’s why it is important for us to have products that are non-GMO, environmentally friendly, vegan and cruelty free. At Ellie Bianca, we believe that beauty is more than aesthetic, and that’s why each of our products are scientifically formulated using all-natural ingredients that have been specifically chosen for their quality and efficacy.
One of the pillars that guides us is that we are kind to the earth, meaning, we are deliberate in choosing ingredients that are organically grown or organically certified. Conservation of ingredients in the beauty industry is important to us. Sustainability is at the core of our sourcing.
When it comes to the essential oils, our general practice is to use steam distilled as opposed to solvent extracted oils. We believe in being kind to the earth by taking what we need and ensuring that there is posterity for the next time.
Tell us more about the different pillars that guide your brand!
Ellie Bianca has 3 pillars that we use to guide our operations. Kind to your skin| Kind to the Earth | Kind to Women
Kind to your Skin | Beauty is so much more than an aesthetic. We want our customers to feel beautiful, inside and out, every day. Each ingredient has been analyzed at a molecular level with every unique skin type need in mind. At Ellie Bianca, we value clean beauty: effective, natural and using clean ingredients.
Kind to the Earth | When consumers use Ellie Bianca, they support a real, safe and non-toxic beauty industry. We actively implement conservation techniques from managing to manufacturing our product line. With the proper measures in place, we have control over ingredient quality and actively reduce our carbon footprint. Our products are centered around raw, unrefined African shea butter and oil sustainably harvested and prepared from women-run co-ops. Working with shea means nothing goes to waste. At Ellie Bianca, we believe a green earth equals green beauty products.
Kind to Women | Empowered woman, empower women. We actively seek to connect with and learn from other females. It is through this interaction and sharing of knowledge we grow as people and as a company. We are inspired to create a global community of empowered women. At Ellie Bianca, we wholeheartedly believe in the ability of women to work together towards a common success.
What sets you apart from other beauty brands?
At Ellie Bianca we are more than a beauty brand; we believe beauty is not just skin deep. We are guided by three pillars; Kind to your Skin | Kind to the Earth | Kind to Women. Last year we launched the Ellie Bianca Women Foundation which administers post-secondary education scholarships. We sponsor both boys and girls in Africa because I know that lightens the burden off the mothers who are often stressed as they try to make ends meet. Furthermore, in Canada the foundation supports single mothers pursuing post-secondary education at a Canadian university. Statistics show that only 28% of single mothers enrolled in university complete their degree having walked through this myself as a single mother, I am fiercely dedicated to changing these statistics. Many times, women have been there for me, to uplift me, encourage me and support me and now that I have the ability, I feel like I must pay it forward.
Thank you Evelyne for sharing your powerful story and working towards women empowerment while producing highly effective, results-driven natural skincare!
See Ellie Bianca’s website, and follow them on Instagram or Facebook
Learn more about the finalist below!
2020 FaceOil Finalist
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