Categories
mens grooming skin and beauty

Exfoliation and Men’s Skincare Regime

Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells on the top layer of your skin. This allows for newer cells to be on the surface so that your skin looks brighter and smoother, as well as improving the elasticity of your skin. Exfoliating also opens your pores so that your moisturizer can penetrate your skin. There are two different ways to exfoliate, chemical exfoliation and physical exfoliation. Make sure you have cleansed your face first, before you exfoliate with either process.

skin cross section
layers of the skin, showing top layer of dead skin that is removed with exfoliation

Physical exfoliation is either when you physically use a washcloth, facial brush, or your hands to gently apply an abrasive scrub onto your damp face. Working in small circular motions and avoiding your eyes, massage the product onto your face for a couple of minutes and then rinse it off well. This process is effective for normal, dry and combination skin.
Chemical exfoliation is when you are using a chemical scrub such as a citric acid, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, malic acid or a fruit enzyme to loosen the dead cells. This time it is applied onto a cotton pad and wiped gently over your face, again avoiding your eyes, to remove dead skin cells. This process is effective for oily skin that may be prone to acne and blackheads.
For sensitive skin, avoid using an exfoliant when skin has blemishes or is dealing with sensitivities such as eczema and is red and inflamed. Wait until your skin has healed and remember to be extra gentle with your sensitive skin.
province apothecary exfoliate
Exfoliate with a abrasive or chemical scrub

After exfoliating, moisturize your skin with either a serum or moisturizer so that it can reach deeper layers of your skin.
How often you exfoliate depends on your skin type. Normal and dry skin should usually be exfoliated once a week. Oilier skin is thicker and often needs a twice a week exfoliation. Often weather conditions may also dictate how often your face needs this process. Hot weather will usually produce more oil on oilier skin and then you may need to exfoliate twice a week or more.
Remember, your facial skin still requires a daily routine of using a cleanser, a toner and a moisturizing oil and or serum, and when needed, a simple weekly exfoliating, to keep your face looking its best.

Categories
mens grooming skin and beauty

Walton Wood Farm Hand Balms

Walton Wood Farm – Shop Locally made Canadian products
“Consciously crafted & thoughtfully packaged gifts, sure to sow smiles.”
As I mentioned in my last blog, Walton Wood Farm is a wonderful line of women’s, men’s and pet’s personal care products. Made in Ontario means you are supporting Canadians who are part of this company and acknowledging the importance of sustainable, natural, vegan friendly and cruelty free ingredients.
The rescue balms for both women and men are made from cocoa butter, green tea and shea butter. Never greasy, but thick and super moisturizing. This product is one of our personal favourites. It really targets rough hand and works its magic.

The women’s “Beach Babe” hand rescue is where you can “Escape the dry hand doldrums with a fresh cut pineapple formula”. “Me” Time is “mojito magic” scented and “Birthday Girl” is a rejuvenating vanilla butter cream scent so that “soft hands take the cake”.

Walton Wood Farm Hand Balms
Hand Balms for the Ladies – Several great scents for everyoone!

The men’s hand rescue is just as cleverly labelled, and each has their own personal scent. “The Adventurer” uses a super-rich and hydrating bergamot green tea formula. “The Canadian” has a maple bark and wild portage trail scent which as stated on the tin that keeps “hands softer than your plaid jacket” and “The Gentleman” hand rescue has a citrus and mahogany scent so that “Well-Mannered Hands Have a Softer Touch”.
Walton Wood Farm Men's Set
Products with Matching Scents are available

These well crafted and natural hand balms are but a few in the Walton Wood Farm collection. They make wonderful gifts for others and of course are a daily must for yourself.

Categories
mens grooming skin and beauty

Walton Wood Farm

Walton Wood Farm

Walton Wood Farm Logo
It all started on a farm in Bailieboro Ontario, June 2014. Leslie had grown up on a cherry farm. Along with her husband Peter, a retired farmer, they purchased a former dairy farm as their future home. Shortly after, they began making bath salts in their country kitchen. The early beginnings of a start-up business called Walton Wood Farm. Now, they have created over 85 consciously crafted, personal care products for women, men and recently for pets. Leslie had been on Season 11 of Dragon’s Den, came away with an offer, and her company has just kept on growing into one that cares deeply for small town communities and their heritage farms.

Now, I must take you back to the first time we met Leslie. We were at the August Toronto Gift Show in 2014 and came upon this very personable person, wearing an apron who had a very humorous display of women’s bath salts that she had created and designed in her farmhouse kitchen. The packaging was great, using glass milk bottles and the labelling was hilarious. We decided it was a great find for our shop and went with it. Shortly after, Leslie travelled across to Streetsville, and met us at the store carrying a pig under her arm. Now, this was not your average pig. This was a cute, genuine ceramic pig, whom Leslie introduced as Walton, the mascot of the company and representing their vegan and animal cruelty free stance.

Walton
Walton – the Mascot

The beginnings of a great relationship between Walton Wood Farm and The Shop, their display area has increased as their line has grown to include many women’s and men’s grooming products and now a new line for your pets.

Their beauty and personal care products are also consciously clean; free of SLS, paraben, phthlate dye-free, and gluten free. They also contain essential oils and butters. As Leslie explained to us back in the beginning, product scent lines were named after her own life experiences such as Me Time, Dear Mom, Week from Hell, Rebel Girl, Beach Babe, Birthday Girl, Canadian Girl, Nurse’s Rescue, Winter’s A B*TCH and BETTER B’ver.
The Men’s line contains Aftershave Balm, Beard Balm, Beard Wash, Body Wash and shampoo, Body and Shaving soap in great scents such as The Gentleman, The Adventurer, The Wanderer, The Canadian, The Musician, Men Don’t Stink, Boys Don’t Stink, Proud Cock. All products are alcohol free as well.
I will discuss each line in more detail over the next few blogs.
Want to see more of Leslie and her history? Here are two of her videos
RBC Video

Dragons Den

Categories
mens grooming skin and beauty

Men – Be Kind to your FACE – Your Daily Facial Routine

Men – Be Kind to your FACE – Your Daily Facial Routine
Lucky you. Your skin is approximately 25% thicker than women’s facial skin. There is more circulation happening because you have more blood vessels. Generally speaking, your skin is oilier, and you are able to maintain more hydration within your skin. As well, you have a greater density of collagen. All these factors are allowing your face to age gradually. So how do you protect, maintain and achieve this healthy skin? Certainly, that depends on your genes, what you put into your body, environmental factors and of course, how you take care of your skin.
The start and end of your day should always include an invigorating morning facial routine and a relaxing evening routine. This does not mean slapping after shave on your face or being aggressive to your skin. Your face requires a gentler approach.
Your skin consists of three layers. The hypodermis is the deepest layer, containing fat and connective tissue. The next layer is the dermis which holds your hair follicles and sweat glands. The epidermis is the outermost layer of skin and and holds in moisture. This is where you may see rashes, hyper-pigmentation (those dark patches that appear from the suns damaging rays), dry and patchy areas, oily areas, enlarged pores, and inflammation such as acne.
Your skincare routine should always start with cleansing your entire face. To help you determine what kind of product to use, remember to look at whether your face is oily, dry or a combination of both. Due to your hormones, men usually have larger pores and as I mentioned that usually means oilier, shinier skin. That does not mean you want to strip your face of its natural oil. You do want to control the excess oil.

mens facial products
A variety of facial products are available from several companies

Cleaning your face removes dirt that clogs your pores and removes some of your dead skin cells. When washing use your cleanser in a circular manner. Always be gentle and wash your face for approximately two minutes. A quick wash does not do the job. Some of the best cleansers are oil based as they attract dirt and provide a thorough but gentle cleaning. Stay away from alkaline soaps as they disrupt the skins balance and strip the lipids that naturally keep your skin moisturized.
While your skin is still moist apply a toner. This is an important step as toners balance you skins PH and allows your skin moisturizer to do its job. Do not slap it on, instead rub it between your fingers and pat it on, or spray it on your face and then pat.
As stated above, following the toner your skin requires a moisturizer, providing hydration to the deeper layers of your skin. This is what allows your face to look refreshed and keeps it young. Apply the moisturizer onto your already damp face in gentle, small circular motion.
These processes: cleanse, tone, and moisturize are the three fundamental steps.
If your skin has other issues, such as inflammation or skin disorders then those may need to be targeted differently.
To protect your skin daily it is very important to block the harmful rays of the sun by using sunscreen. If you are exposed to mid-day sunlight, use a broad-spectrum SPF that shields your skin from the ultraviolet rays that damage your skin and age it prematurely.
In the next blog, I will discuss various types of products available in each of these categories, as well as adding exfoliating to your weekly routine. Included will be discussion of products for those sporting beards and moustaches.

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Jewellery

WhiteLotus Design – Jewellery from Edina Racz

The beach is not always a place, sometimes it’s a feeling. – Unknown
To look at sea glass one cannot help but feel totally relaxed, peaceful and yet energized. All the hues of blue, aqua, seafoam, periwinkle, pale blue and turquoise create the image of being at the waters edge, touching the coolness, feeling its movement, hearing its call.

Sea Glass is known as a reverse gem. Unlike traditional gems, they are actual glass bottles and jars that over many years have been discarded, broken down, smoothed by the movement of the waves and sand of the sea and found on the shore as frosted bits of glass in all shapes and colours.
As natural sea glass is now rare to find, cultured sea glass is used. Cultured sea glass is recycled glass material that has been processed by hand in order to recreate the frosted matte finish of weathered sea glass.

Edina, the creator of WhiteLotus jewellery, has designed a beautiful collection using Cultured Sea Glass. Growing up, she was surrounded by nature and was inspired by the natural elements of clouds, rivers, rocks and sand. As a graduate in Graphic Design at Georges Brown College, she continued her fascination with materials, form and structure and took courses in metalsmithing and jewellery making. From her small studio in Southern Ontario she has been busy creating her spring and summer collection. Within her cultured sea glass collection, she uses various motifs such as silver cranes, trees of life, Moroccan buds, owls and lotus flowers as well as geometric forms within the composition of her pieces. The necklaces, cuffs and earrings are inspirational.
The creation process behind her second collection is sculptural silver wire weaving with gemstones and crystals nestled within sterling silver and/or 14k gold vermeil. She calls this collection Satori, a Buddhist word meaning enlightenment. As Edina states, she feels a very earth consciousness. She is inspired by nature and withdraws from a “disposable lifestyle”. Each piece is individually handmade and “crafted keeping colour, balance, structure and beauty in mind”. She works independently and refers to herself as ‘owner, maker, designer, creator’
White Lotus was introduced into The Shop in 2018. As with most of our local artisans, we host Edina and her pieces at various times throughout the year. At these trunk shows Edina also shows her limited-edition and one-of-a-kind designs. Join our email list or watch our website for upcoming events.

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Clothing and Accessories Leather

Brave Leather

BRAVE LEATHER “Born of Canadian creativity and touched by Canadian hands”
Toronto has gone through many transformations over its history. Districts have flourished then floundered, the culture in areas has moved, shifting the character of the streets. Industries have left, leaving their structures to be re purposed, creating a different resident with the same visual streetscape. The Distillery, with its boutique retail and trendy bars stands as an example of industrial use becoming a tourist destination. Spadina Avenue and Queen Street once was the Toronto, if not the Canadian heart of the fashion industry. Women’s clothing, furs, suits – all produced in local sweat shops in an area whose buildings have now transformed into the Entertainment District.

It was in this time of transformation, 1992, that a young Scott Irvine, recently the first university graduate from his family, gave up his academic future to create leather belts and sell them from a Spadina Avenue street stand. As fashion factory after fashion company closed their doors for good in Canada, Scott’s business bucked the trend and continued to grow. Now, twenty seven years later, his Brave Leather still manufactures leather belts, bags and other goods well north of Spadina and Queen, but still within Toronto.

Women's belt selection
Distinct styles of women’s belts

Scott’s company has grown over this time. The recognition Brave Leather receives is due not only to the top-notch quality of the products, but also in the ethical practices used throughout the operation. From environmental considerations to leather sourcing to employee benefits, one of the main considerations has always been not to compromise the company’s original vision. BRAVE Leather is fine leather goods ethically designed and exclusively manufactured in Canada. With two million individual items produced and sold across fourteen countries, Scott and his team of skilled craftspeople have proven to be one of the best in creating beautiful and original leather products.
Many employees have been there for years, some going back to the beginning. Each is a skilled practitioner of their art, proudly ensuring that the quality of the products is maintained as well as demonstrating their innovative talent using vintage hand tools as well as modern techniques such as digital laser cutting machinery. BRAVE Leather was the first belt factory in North America to use this technology.
Leather weekend bag
Full grain leather weekend bag.

The leather used is sourced from the food industry. Scott is proud of the fact that the leather does not come from animals killed for their skin, but instead ensures the whole of the animal is used and material is not sent to land fill. Even the remnants from production are used for tags and pouches.
BRAVE Leather uses 100% vegetable tanning, an ancient process that is free of toxic chemicals and is ecologically friendly using natural materials derived from plants and trees. Water-based adhesives are also used in production. Though this is a substantially slower process – the environmental benefits and the beautiful patina that is created in the leather is well worth the extra time and cost.
Hair on handbags
Finishes include hair on leather

“BRAVES philosophy has always been to create beautiful original products in the best way”. No inventory is stocked at the workshop. All pieces are created when they are ordered.
The Shop has partnered with Brave Leather since 2016. You will find a selection of men’s and ladies’ belts, bags, jewellery and wallets. They fit in well with our aim of providing Canadian products of the upmost quality.

Categories
Jewellery

FROM BATTLE TO BRACELETS

The effects on the Canadian Armed Forces members who spent time in Afghanistan has been well documented.  We owe a great deal to our brave friends, daughters and sons, mothers and fathers that spent time representing Canada under such severe circumstances.  Many still struggle with their combat experiences, and many try to come full circle by embracing their experiences and using them to grow.

Kelsi Sheren is one vet who has worked to overcome these effects and is now using her skills to help others still in need.  Kelsi served on the front lines in Afghanistan in 2009 and was diagnosed with severe PTSD, returning home to Canada in 2011.  Her counselors recommended that her treatment include art therapy, a system that uses artistic outputs to help release the feelings held inside. Kelsi’s favourite outlet became jewellery making, and soon an idea was born.

Kelsi developed a line of jewellery which led to the creation of a company in 2014. This has not only helped her healing process, but also allowed her to support other veterans who continue to face incredibly difficult and painful life struggles.

Using brass reproduction bullet shell casings as a wearable symbol of strength, her jewellery creates a positive symbol.  The company BRASS & UNITY donates a portion of their proceeds to veteran assistance organizations both in Canada and around the world. The word BRASS in BRASS & UNITY is an acronym for ‘Bravery Retired Assistant Soldier Support’ and in unifying the public with the military and the veterans.

Donations in Canada support many veterans and their families through these and other organizations including Honour Home B.C.  Light on PTSD Vets Canada and Wounded Warriors Canada

Each piece comes with a Veteran Crisis Online Hotline information card as well as an info card regarding the support for struggling veterans.

“BRASS & UNITY IS MORE THAN A NAME. IT’S THE VERY DEFINITION OF WHAT WE DO – UP CYCLE BRASS IN AN EFFORT TO CREATE UNITY FOR STRUGGLING VETERANS”

Here at The Shop For All Reasons we carry their handcrafted rope and Warrior bracelets, as well as their sunglasses. Pieces are designed for both men and women. Each Warrior bracelet contains semi precious stones such as black onyx, hematite, sodalite, rhyolite, banded agate, black lava rock, amethyst and rose quartz.  Bracelets also contain a forged reproduction of a brass shell casing that has been melted to the exact specs of a previously fired casing that is laser etched with their logo.  Rope bracelets are adjustable in size, while the Warrior bracelets come in small, medium and sometimes large.

The stylish sunglasses, made for men and women as well, have an 18kt gold plated reproduction casing in each temple. They are scratch resilient and have a polycarbonate frame which makes them extremely light weight. They are made with a category 3 lens that provides extra protection from both visible and UV light, typically blocking 80% or more of the light.  The sunglasses are ‘one size fits most’.

“BRASS & UNITY – INSPIRED BY IMPOSSIBLE SITUATIONS. CREATED TO ENRICH THE LIVES OF VETERAND. WORN TO SHOW LOVE & SUPPORT”

Influencers: Ellen Degeneres, Kirstie Ennis, Julianne Hough, Channing and Jenna Tatum, Jamie Routley, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and many others

 

Categories
Jewellery

Visit to Anne-Marie Chagnon in Montreal

Anne-Marie Chagnon

Some of our suppliers and reps have been with us for the 16 years that we have owned The Shop. SRM Sales is one of our long term reps for independent artists.  We met both Sandra and her husband Ray through their previous relationship with The Shop.  They have represented many Canadian artisans throughout the years, with Anne-Marie Chagnon, being a long-term jewellery line.  Though Ray has sadly left us, Sandra continues to represent Chagnon’s studio as one of her principal lines. Chagnon has been one of our highest profile artists, who for over two decades has been creating original collections.

Chagnon’s Studio, with Judith showing us the display of classic pieces.

Anne-Marie was trained at The Fine Arts Faculty at the University of Quebec in Montreal, starting her studio in 1995. She chose to create, produce and assemble her jewellery in Montreal. Early in her career, in 2003, she was invited to create exclusive jewellery for Cirque de Soleil. This partnership lasted for a decade.  She has been known and acclaimed as an artist jeweller, designing collections that are sold in five continents though museums, galleries and boutiques.  Also acclaimed by fashion icon, Iris Apfel, who included Chagnon’s jewellery in a collection of artworks sold at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem Massachusetts.

Anne-Marie Chagnon is known as a contemporary, multidisciplinary artist creating paintings, sculptures and jewellery. Her ideas are first fashioned on paper, followed by creating wax molds of her jewellery components. Once the design is established, the jewellery is created by hand.  Using nickel-free, lead-free and cadmium-free Pewter, its raw form is melted and cast in her foundry located in her Montreal studio. A selection of Iridescent glass, baroque pearls, carved resin and resin glaze, voluptuous PVC, gold, bronze, leather, wood is used to create collections that are as fashionable as they are timeless.

 

Examples of Anne-Maries creative process, with artist boards, moulds and material samples.

The 2018 Collection “Point of Origin” reflects “The Power of the Circle”.  It is a powerful, beautiful collection that was introduced this past spring. John and I had the great pleasure to have Sandra P., the Sales Director for Anne-Marie’s Studio, introduce the fall and winter collection that was shown recently in New York and Toronto.  Fabulous colours such as ochre, carmine, emerald, tan, porto, cognac, lichen, lazuli, rose clay, ink, black marble was swirled into outstanding design.

Immersed in her jewellery, we were reminded of how Anne-Marie is an impressionistic artist. She is mindful of being herself and not bowing to trends.

Sandra P. said it best: Anne-Marie is always in a creative state. She is ever present in her surroundings, present in the world around her. She sees, feels, experiences all the details and beauties of life, making them part of her canvas. Being a part of the whole is what it means to be human.

 

Loretta with Sales Director Sandra in Anne-Marie Chagnon’s show room.

Anne-Marie’s jewellery is her signature. Her pieces are recognized as part of her creative journey, always evolving, timeless and classic.  The uniqueness of her designs makes each of her pieces instantly recognized around the world as a ‘Chagnon’.