If you told our teenage selves that one day we would be using exclusively organic beauty products like NIU BODY, we would have laughed while slathering on another layer of Clean & Clear followed by a spritz of CK1. But here we are rifling through cabinets packed with all-natural products and loving that we never have to worry about harsh chemicals popping up in our bottles.
So of course we were thrilled about the March 2017 launch of NIU BODY, a small-batch, local skincare line with a penchant for coconut oil. We caught up with the brand’s founders to get all the details.
Well TO Do: Please introduce yourselves to the Well TO Do readers.
Connie Lo & Laura Burget: Hey, babes! Nice to e-meet you all! It’s Connie and Laura here, two young women based in Toronto, Ontario with a passion for natural and cruelty-free skincare.
WTD: What prompted you to start NIU BODY? What were you doing before launching NIU BODY?
C&L: Being avid skin care enthusiasts and makeup users (we love a classic red lip!), we were frustrated with the saturation of harsh synthetic makeup removers in the market. In our quest to find the best natural solution, we turned to coconut oil, a beauty favourite. However, having to scoop out solid coconut oil from large jars cluttering up our bathroom vanities just wasn’t working for us.
To design a gentle, luxurious, and convenient cleansing solution, we founded NIU BODY, “niu” meaning “coconut” in Hawaiian. From there, we expanded to include not only coconut oil, but also Earth’s other wonderful natural ingredients in our products. Since launching our makeup wipes, we now also carry cleansing oils, serums, toning mists, and lip scrubs.
Before launching NIU BODY, Laura studied chemical engineering at the University of Toronto, and Connie studied commerce at Queen’s University.
WTD: We have notice you guys love coconut oil, even naming your company after its equivalent in Hawaiian, “NIU.” Tell us a bit about the benefits of coconut oil and why you choose to focus so much on it.
C&L: We’ve been big fans of coconut oil for years, having slathered it on our bodies, putting it in our smoothies, and using it in our hair as a leave-in conditioner. We realized our friends weren’t aware of the many benefits of coconut oil, and there also weren’t many convenient coconut oil-based makeup removing options in the market, which is why we decided to focus on coconut oil in our first product. It’s now also a key ingredient in our sugar lip polishes and facial cleansing oils!
Coconut oil is such a multi-purpose ingredient. It can be used in body scrubs and body butter to combat stretch marks. You can also add it in your bath for a detox, or put it in your hair for a scalp serum. To read more about these and other benefits, check out our blog post.
WTD: What advice would you give to someone who is just getting into natural skincare?
C&L: First of all, congratulations for making the first step into the world of natural skincare! It can be overwhelming at first, but oh-so-gratifying! Here are a few pieces of advice that can help you navigate the green beauty space:
- Educate yourself – some skincare companies hide behind the term “natural” by only highlighting some key ingredients that are natural. Be sure to check the full ingredient list, which can sometimes hide some sneaky synthetics and chemicals!
- Be patient – if you’re new to the natural skincare space, your skin may take some time adjusting to your new regime. Your skin may also go through a purging period to get rid of excess chemicals in your system. Be consistent in your routine and your skin will thank you!
WTD: You are very careful to not include any phthalates, parabens, sulfates or added preservatives in your products. Tell us about the process of designing your products without any of these fillers, sourcing ingredients sustainably and manufacturing sustainability.
C&L: Our mindset behind our formulations has always been to keep our ingredients highly concentrated and let the power of the plants really come through. Therefore, we never use fillers and focus on ensuring that each ingredient has a purposed in the formulation. Our formulating starts off with LOTS of researching; we read as much as we can about each ingredient that we are considering and then narrow things down. As we don’t believe in a one size fits all approach to skin care, we will ensure that the products we select are tailored with each skin type/concern. Then it’s on to testing, testing and more testing (on babes and never bunnies, of course!). We will usually go through multiple product formulations before we release new products. We manufacture locally in small batches so controlling our manufacturing and ensuring high quality and safe products is something that we have direct control over.
WTD: We love that you have facial cleansing oils! How would you recommend people use an oil-based cleanser?
C&L: Oil-based cleansers are amazing at removing makeup and dirt from your skin! We recommend either using your hands, a Q-Tip, or a cotton wipe. Massage in circular directions (and bask in the delicious mini aromatherapy sesh), then rinse off with warm water and pat dry. Follow with a toner and serum and your skin will thank you!
WTD: Are you formulating any new products? What is next for NIU BODY?
C&L: We actually went through 4 new product line launches over this summer and our final launch of the summer just dropped this weekend! Our new line of clay masks make a perfect addition to your weekly skin care ritual. Formulated with French clays, kaolin clay, essential oils and botanical extracts, our masks draw out the oil and dirt in your pores without over-drying your skin.
WTD: What excites you about the Toronto green beauty and wellness scene?
C&L: What excites us most is that there is still so much room for growth and awareness in Toronto about the natural beauty and wellness area! Compared to cities like Los Angeles and New York, Toronto is still a baby in terms of the size of the natural space. We can’t wait to see how this changes in the next few years!