Alex and I met on set a few years ago. With a shared love of beauty, here we are launching our own projects years later! When it comes to natural ingredients and wellness, I consider Alex an expert! With a growing clientele, her brand has been gaining popularity rapidly since its launch... Because radiant skin speaks for itself! Being a model, sitting in the makeup chair is part of her job, but by studying herbalism, Alex has acquired additional knowledge to transform a dull, unbalanced, and irritated complexion into healthy, glowing skin. Here, she shares a glimpse into how she started her brand, the reason why natural is so important and how she takes care of her skin.
Tell us a little about yourself: I was a model for 7 years, it really gave me the time to grow into the person that I am. I got to see and discover so many different cultures, first hand, from South Korea, to Paris, to Germany. I journaled the entire time and the one thing that I would write about consistently was my feeling that I had to find a mission and a passion that I would thrive and wake up for every morning. I knew it would be related to well-being but wasn’t exactly sure where my fit was just yet. I met so many inspiring people, women most importantly and it really made me realize that, at the end of the day, we are all the same. We all have our issues, our insecurities, our traits that make us confident but most importantly this strength and desire to better ourselves. I felt connected to everyone I really met, spoke to, the models I lived with and felt this “beauty standard” or ideal beauty that I had grown up with in my mind was all made up. This exclusivity of beauty, where it felt like the models, artists kept their best-kept secrets that we all wanted them to share from the way they ate to their beauty routine was just an illusion. The most successful models I met with were simply the ones that took care of themselves, of their bodies and their minds. As simple as that. I really felt the need to share this with women and friends that at the end of the day there is no secret to it: even the models that were considered the most beautiful by the beauty standards the fashion industry imposed at the time (it’s changed a lot since we see a lot more variety in beauty nowadays) could not maintain their beauty unless they took care of their bodies, of their skin and found what they did well and try to do it as great as they could. In parallel I always had a passion for learning & for holistic health which I must have taken from my father. From a very young age, he macerated his own oils, made his own natural treatments and took us herb shopping to all his favourite secret herbalists hidden throughout the city. When we were sick there was no Tylenol in our household. He would give us some myrh and water and had a herbal, natural, remedy for pretty much everything. I guess all together I developed a passion for herbalism, and learning how plants, nature can pretty much cure it all if you give it a chance to and if you learn how to use them effectively.
How did it all start? From travelling over the years I was always paying close attention to the way women took care of their skin. In Germany, they really would take the natural route which is where I learned a tremendous amount on the importance of what goes onto your body & into your body. At the same time, I loved that Parisian women did not fuss and kept their beauty routine simple where less is more, but also admired the 11-step Korean beauty routine (believe it or not they used Gua Sha on me prior to shoots before it was even a thing in Western countries!). When I moved back to Montreal I just didn’t find any products that had the value, transparency German products had, the simplicity the Parisian beauty routine had, and the effectiveness, results that the Korean Beauty routine gives. This is where near the end of my studies in herbalism I decided to put the best of each of these routines together to create what I didn’t find available to us as consumers: real natural, organic ingredients that aren’t diluted and a simple few steps regimen that gives results. Most natural brands out there contain a substantial amount of “filler ingredients” which are not necessarily even bad for our health or skin, but don’t do much. The value of botanicals comes from the right dilution and combination of ingredients and I don’t believe they require more to give results. With less dilution and the right botanical combination, natural, organic skincare can perform as well if not better than any “franken-made”, lab created ingredients. Our products contain zero filler products and consist of certified organic ingredients of the highest standards (Ecocert & the USDA). I really took my time in developing products with my team to make sure to deliver essentials that work based on how our skin works, not based on the way a newly developed ingredient can change the skin and harm our bodies, age our skin on the long run.
What do you love most about beauty? I love its diversity. I love that in the era we live today there is no longer that exclusivity feeling of beauty where we’d look up to one beauty type and try to figure out what their secrets were. Everything is shared on social media now, and I find that incredible. I find it amazing that every young girl can connect and find one beauty type to look up to who might even have the same skin concerns she does. Even in terms of knowledge, the information shared on natural ingredients and skincare products is just out there and women can take the time to find the answers to all of their questions. That gives confidence in the choices we make, it gives us lasting solutions and it gives us power. All these things to me come together as self-esteem, individuality, wellness and that is really what the modern-day beauty is to me.
Where did you get your inspiration from? Where do you get your main source of inspiration for creating new products? From my studies of herbs, of history, from travelling and discovering different cultures, from my mother, from women I’ve met and the conversations I’ve had, most of all from nature. I think we’re slowly returning to nature to find the answers we’ve been longing for, and it holds most of the inspiration I get for Amour Propre.
What is the most important beauty advice everybody should know?
That the right nutrient-dense, organic, botanical oil combinations are your best friend. The skin naturally produces oils and if they are removed from harsh cleansers our body will feel the protective wall of our inner body and environment is crumbling and will boost more oils which can cause skin issues from oily skin, acne breakouts and so on. The skin needs the right oils to remain balanced, youthful, moisturized and hold in the water in our bodies. It’s a common misconception that oils will clog your pores and will make you burn in the sun, to stay away from them. It is correct if any oil is applied on the face, but our Muse Oil for example, absorbs so quickly it gives the exact same effect that a moisturizer does (which always contains oils by the way!) but also feeds the skin with the oils, essential nutrients and minerals it needs to regenerate, keep you hydrated, stay youthful & to stay vibrant.
Walk me through your morning and evening routines. What are you using right now? I wake up, I usually use the C-Cleansing balm. It nourishes the skin with vitamin C which is necessary for bright skin, reduces darker pigmentation but also slightly chemically exfoliates dead skin. It makes my skin feel fresh & awake for the day. I then use the Base du Jour in the morning which contains the slightest amount of peppermint essential oil (which has the aromatherapy benefits of boosting energy and waking up the mind) and is made up of mainly squalane. It absorbs extremely quickly, gives me the glow a face primer would but also protects it from the toxicity our skin’s exposed to in the city during the day. I then apply a sunscreen and go on with my day. When I get back, I’ll c-cleanse again with our jelly sponge it will draw out impurities and makeup while keeping my oils in balance. I’ll also use a toner to restore PH balance. Before bed, I’ll use two drops of the Muse Oil to feed my skin with its most essential nutrients/minerals which include vitamin A, the natural retinol. It helps for acne-scarring, cell regeneration and keeping the skin youthful. I also like to use a miscellar water every now and then between the C-Cleansing balm and my toner.
The most important lesson you learned during the process of launching your own business/brand? Making it through every step of the way by myself (aside from our amazing photoshoot team from Folio, Gabrielle Robert, Emy Filteau, and our beautiful muses!) I have learned more in this journey than I have in my lifetime. It was a bumpy road, I had never done graphic design but I learned it when I had to do the labels and the boxes, same for managing operations and connecting with the beauties who purchase the products. I guess one of the most important lessons I’ve learned is the following: if you have a dream, a vision and you really believe in it, put in the work, don’t share your vision and accept that not everyone will have the ability to see what you're striving for as possible. It’s up to you to put in the work and just keep at it, learn everything you can, every step of the way because even when you’ll delegate one day you’ll know what & how long it takes to do what. I’ve also learned the importance of being surrounded by women who are also dedicated to their work and inspire me to better myself, better Amour Propre and just keep putting it my all. Last but not least, to trust the right people, and not to hold on to the little things and keep the eye on the big picture.
Why is switching to natural beauty important? Organic natural beauty is just a necessity for wellbeing and beauty. It really is! As important as having a healthy, balanced lifestyle, nutrition, and sleep cycle, what we put onto our bodies has to be filtered out by the same organs that filter out the foods we consume, or the toxicity in our environment. As much as we focus on maintaining the skin’s beauty, youthful appearance, there really is no way around it. We should be applying nature’s tools on our skin to nourish it, preserve it, protect it. Organic botanicals that are easy for our bodies to assimilate, recognize and know what to do with them. Pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, petroleum are also in natural ingredients that are inorganic and put a serious stress on our bodies which will show first through our skin and the way it ages. It’s crucial for well-being.
Beauty bag essentials: A mini bottle of micellar water, a water spray vaporizer for hot days, lip balm with a little tint, and clear brow gel. All my skincare stays home but travels with me everywhere I go. If I switch to anything other, my skin feels tighter and drier believe it or not!
My beauty philosophy is: Every beauty has its place, find yours, nurture & embrace!
What can we look forward to seeing from Amour Propre? Our hope is to continue to create highly effective, result-oriented skincare essentials in which every ingredient has a purpose, no fluff, no fuss! I can’t unveil much more for now, but very excited for what’s to come!