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Ep 209 - The #DamnGood Skin Barrier-Boosting Creams We’ll Use Forever

“Barrier Repair” is a big beauty buzzword - but what does it really mean? Today we’re bringing you a little Skin Barrier 101, along with a roundup of our #damngood skin-saving favorites.

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Today we’re speaking to Susanne Langmuir, founder of the iconic cosmetics line dedicated solely to the power of lipstick, Bite BeautySusanne started the laser-focussed range in 2012 based on a simple premise: “What you put on your lips should be as good as what you put in your mouth.” As a product development guru, Langmuir succeeded where others couldn’t, creating bright, poppy shades that could measure up to the M.A.C’s and the NARS of the world, in earth-friendly formulas. Fast forward to 2020, and Susanne is on to her next, forward-thinking act: waterless beauty.

Bite Beauty broke the mould with bright lip colours using clean formulas

In this episode, we’ll update you on some maaajor changes leaving Bite Beauty fans shook since Langmuir walked away from the company over two years ago. (Shout out to our friends at I’m a Beauty Geek for explaining the vegan vs. lanolin debate so well!) Then, Susanne introduces us to her new indie start-up, SL & Co., a beauty incubator developed with her 18-year-old son. You’ll meet the debut product, aN-hydra The Powder of Youth No. 1, a water-activated microbiome cleansing powder that harnesses rice powder and pomegranate enzymes to sloughs away dead skin cells without stripping away “good” bacteria. (We weigh in with our personal review!)

Surprise! Bite Beauty introduces a three-piece complexion range starring micellar foundation this month

Find out what Susanne envisions a waterless beauty routine could look like in the not too distant future (pssst! a water-activated hyaluronic acid serum powder is coming soon!) and why ‘waterless’ is so key to shrinking our vanity footprint. But first, we’ll take you way back to before Bite Beauty even existed, to some of the serial entrepreneur’s first steps – and missteps –  into the wide world of beauty.

Three months worth of skincare fits in this tiny palm-sized bottle of the water-activated cleanser

Products mentioned in this episode: Bite Beauty Agave + Intensive Vegan Lip Mask; Bite Beauty Changemaker Supercharged Micellar Foundation; aN-hydra The Powder of Youth No. 1; Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant; Amore Pacific Treatment Enzyme Peel Cleansing Powder; Tatcha The Rice Polish Foaming Enzyme Powder; My Clarins Re-Move Radiance Exfoliating Powder (launches March 1st)

Every product is independently selected by Breaking Beauty Podcast hosts and/or guests. Products you purchase through our links may earn us a commission.

Thanks to this week’s show partner – support us by supporting them! 

Sephora Did you know stress affects your skin? It can cause dryness, signs of aging, and redness. The good news? Sephora’s got solutions! Quench dryness with top skincare picks from Drunk Elephant, Tatcha, and Barbara Sturm. Target signs of aging with Fresh and Dr. Dennis Gross. Calm redness with Laneige. Get the skin-saving lineup, only at Sephora – online and in-store now.

*Disclaimer: Unless otherwise stated, all products reviewed are gratis media samples submitted for editorial consideration.*

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Carlene and Jill with Julianne Robicheau of Eco + Amour and “Waste Wizard” Stephanie Hicks

With all the news about climate change, what woman doesn’t want to reduce her eco footprint, no matter how shimmery it may be? The most logical place to start might just be in the bathroom, given that 120 billion units of packaging are produced in the global cosmetics industry annually. We’re chatting it all out in this episode, alongside Julianne Robicheau, co-owner of Eco + Amour, a sustainable living boutique specializing in self-care and beauty products. We’ve also got Jill’s good friend Stephanie Hicks in the house, who’s sharing tips based on her year of living zero waste (even her upcoming wedding will be completely up cycled!).

Eco + Amour Zero Waste Re-Fill Store in Toronto

Jill and Carlene share their favourite makeup brands leading the charge in recycling, re-filling and zero waste packaging. They also hat tip the big beauty brands committing to zero waste manufacturing and next level recycling programs in the year to come, like TerraCycle and its new re-fill delivery pilot project, Loop. It’s all part of winning over a growing generation who bases their beauty buying on their values as much as product performance.

Aether Beauty’s New Summer Solstice Palette, On Sale April 22 (Earth Day)

Find out our top zero waste beauty tips for substituting out all-too convenient face wipes from your routine, what to do with all of your old nail polish, how to dispose of hair, what to do with mascara wands… and we review Aether Beauty’s new zero waste eyeshadow palettes, developed by a former exec in Sephora’s sustainability program. All this, and you don’t even have to worry about any brow beating. We believe baby steps are all steps in the right direction!

Carlene’s New Fave: Lilah B. Divine Duo Lip & Cheek Colours

Products mentioned in this episode: Face Halo; Makeup Eraser; Croon Fibers; Kaia Naturals Juicy Bamboo Facial Cleansing Wipes; Consonant Skincare Come Clean 100% Natural Cleansing Cloths; Lush Naked Skincare; Aether Beauty Gemstone Palettes; Lilah B. Divine Duo Lip & Cheek in B. Stunning; Christophe Robin Hydrating Shampoo Bar With Aloe Vera; Crush and Brush Toothpaste Tablets; Bite Toothpaste Bits; Tampax Menstrual Cup; Diva Cup; Kjaer Weis Lip Tints; RMS Uncover Up Concealer; Meow Meow Tweet Deodorant Stick; Meow Meow Tweet Juniper Carrot Seed Facial Oil; Lines of Elan Fortify Balance Natural + Organic Renew Shampoo and Review Conditioner; Graydon Matcha Mint Shampoo and Hair Smoothie; Daily Concepts Your Konjac Sponge Tumeric; Gondola Natural Bamboo Toothbrushes; Wands for Wildlife; Matter of Trust

Every product is independently selected by Breaking Beauty Podcast hosts and/or guests. Products you purchase through our links may earn us a commission.

Get ready for our most unfiltered founder yet! Rose-Marie Swift took the beauty world by the balls, screamed in its face, and caused a frenzy with one of the first “green” makeup lines back in 2009. Her website,, set out to educate the masses about toxic ingredients in makeup and skincare, putting her career as a celebrity makeup artist on the line. Is it any wonder given the Vancouver-born celebrity makeup artist started out as a punk singer??

Her iconic best-seller, Living Luminzer, was born out of her experience giving the original Victoria’s Secret angels—Miranda Kerr and Gisele Bundchen—their heavenly glow. Standing the test of time among the gazillions of highlighting products that have launched since, Living Luminizer is what Meghan Markle chose to get her radiance on for her royal wedding! We walk you through the best-seller’s first two shade extensions.

Listen in as Rose-Marie recalls her raucous roots (and we’re not just talking about the list of rockstars she’s slept with, though you’ll find that in this episode too.) The makeup artist also reveals why her brand of coconut oil-based makeup products manage to perform when so many other organic cosmetics falter. Plus, find out which dream product she’s determined to create next, her personal skincare-free nighttime routine and the genetic talent you need to hear about to believe.

Products mentioned in this episode: RMS Beauty Living Luminizer; RMS Beauty “Un”-Cover-up; RMS Beauty “Un”-Powder;

Every product is independently selected by Breaking Beauty Podcast hosts and/or guests. Products you purchase through our links may earn us a commission.

It’s been raining for days but when I meet Lauren Bilon, founder of Plume Science, the clouds have finally lifted, and lift is what this beauty founder is all about. In 2014, the Alberta-based Bilon launched the first, 100% natural eyelash and eyebrow enhancing serum on the market, a healthy alternative to prescription glaucoma treatments commonly used off-label to thicken sparse hairs. “I literally just started making my own little prototypes in my kitchen,” she tells me, describing her DIY space as Breaking Bad-esque. After childbirth, Bilon’s fluctuating hormones caused her eyelashes to fall out en mass. The new mom turned to Latisse, and found herself suffering from discoloured eyelids and blurred vision, commonly reported adverse reactions to the drug.

Taking matters into her own hands, Bilon began tinkering with her own recipes until the fateful day she met Canadian chemist Irene Schnell, and that’s when her dream formula came to be. “I started having my own little under-the-table home job and I still hadn’t told my husband, because I didn’t want him to know how much money I was spending on botanicals and my little pipettes and scales and beakers,” she recalls with a laugh. Fast-forward to a refinanced mortgage, countless attempts at fulfilling regulatory cosmetic standards, one mishap including said hubby nearly mistaking the serum stocked in her fridge for a smoothie, and Plume finally became a legit hit (the user testimonies, backed by a 100% happiness guarantee, don’t lie.)

“Speaking with people who have used the product and can’t say enough good things about it, those are the moments that really hit home,” she says. Funny thing though, Bilon doubted the efficacy of natural products until the day she created her own. Today, she regularly consults Think Dirty, the Canadian product comparison app that’s often found in the hands of green beauty shoppers to ensure that products labelled ‘natural” truly are. “I scanned a shampoo that I used on my kids and I thought it was actually quite clean, but it was awful – it was the worst rating, a 10. For me, that was a huge eye opener,” she says. (For the record, Plume’s growth serum and the soon-to-be released eyebrow pomade boast a squeaky-clean rating of 0.)

As we wrap up our conversation and Bilon prepares for the upcoming in-store appearance she’s in Toronto for at The Detox Market, I ask her what advice she would give to others considering a beauty start-up of their own. “There are definitely roadblocks along the way, but if you keep plugging away and if you’re passionate, you can make anything a success,” she tells me. With several green beauty awards already in hand, it’s obvious that Bilon is no accidental entrepreneur, she’s a natural.—Emily Wraith.

Look out for Plume Nourish & Define Brow Pomade, available in 5 shades, at The Detox Market Summer 2017.

There are lots of words you expect to read on a “green” beauty product label like: natural, ethically-sourced, paraben-free, etc. But “custom,” “anti-aging” and “clinically-tested” usually aren’t among them. That’s what makes Dr. Roebuck’s, a family brand cooked up in Sydney, Australia so special.

Dr. Roebuck wanted a salve to soothe the eczema that afflicted his identical twin infants, Zoe and Kim. It was compounded by a local pharmacist and kept in the fridge for the whole family to use.

Fast forward nearly four decades later, and those very same daughters are upgrading the range from simple, skin-soothing, hand-crafted salves to potent anti-aging serums, eye creams and custom treatments slick enough for the ultra chic counters of Holt Renfrew.

Sitting down with Kim and Zoe who finish each other’s sentences (not surprisingly!), the first question is obviously what it’s like to work one’s sister. “We keep each other going – it’s a lot work right? So much respect to those ladies who did it on their own – like Bobbi Brown and Jo Malone and women like that. Kim is Marketing Director and I am the Creative Director so we don’t step on each others toes. But we do have to go to dinner and say – ok, no work talk!”

In honour of Earth Month, the twins launched a luxe pop-up shop at Holt Renfrew in Toronto where you can custom-blend your serum tailored to your skin type (it’s expected later this year in Vancouver – stay tuned). Fill out a digital survey and on the spot you get a customized serum, hand-crafted by one of their skin therapists. “You’ll also get recipes that can help heal any skin ailments like inflammation or redness,” says Kim, drawing from their own hyper healthy upbringing–like only being able to eat carob instead of chocolate.

Staying true to their real simple roots, the brand’s R&D has an equally homegrown feel. “All the formulations are created five minutes from my house,” says Zoe, who notes there’s a minimum of nine active ingredients in each serum. “We know the supply chain, where it’s being refined and what’s in it. For instance, Rosehip oil can be bought synthetically and cheaply but not in this case – our father’s name is on the box so we would never do that.”