Canadian Natural Brands We Love Blog – July 2020
This particular blog started off as an update to our 2019 Yoga Gear Guide, but has organically become something different – more of a love letter to Canadian brands that we at Niyama use & love, and that we think you might want to know about.
One of the amazing silver linings of this pandemic has been the spirit in which small businesses are going out of their way to support each other – sharing content on social platforms, collaborating on giveaways and contests, and just going out of their way to refer like-minded people to other Canadian brands. It’s really lovely to be part of, and we want to do more of it, all the time, not just during COVID.
As a long-time natural health and beauty aficionado, Niyama’s founder, Jillian, has personally explored a lot of products over the years. She is pretty picky about ingredients, but also wants products that are really effective and don’t compromise your rent or mortgage payments LOL. Friends and family regularly check in with her for advice on what to use and buy, and she loves buying Canadian whenever possible. So here is her current round-up of personal faves – to be updated annually at minimum but possibly more often!
And please do pop a us a note in the comments if there is a brand you think we need to try!
Founder Nicole created Supported Soul
while battling post-partum depression. With a background in fashion, she has created incredibly functional mats that are also creative and truly beautiful. Supported Soul is based in Port Moody, BC and offers 3 types of sustainably made mats: the Supreme All in One (hello gorgeous designs + machine washable!!), the Cork Mat, and the Pro Grip (which is grippy without the need for moisture).
This eco-friendly sister-duo is Toronto based, and committed to a plant-based lifestyle. They operate an online studio and eco-magazine, a café, and sell beautiful cork yoga mats – and the purchase of each mat plants a tree.
A favourite of vinyasa and hot yoga practitioners, the B MAT is known for its sustainable manufacturing and super grippy texture. Founded by Canadian entrepreneur Andrea Morris, a passionate yogi, BYOGA is based in B.C..
Full transparency: I love all these mats and the brands behind them – but I do also use a non-Canadian mat on occasion (yes I have more mats than I have bodies LOL). It’s a Manduka Pro and it is 20 years old. I don’t think I will ever wear it out. But that is the only non-Canadian mat in my little collection.
Founded in 1983 by Beth McTavish, Halfmoon is a one-stop shop for well-made yoga & meditation props – everything from blocks, blankets, straps, bolsters and cushions. Halfmoon was acquired by BYOGA in 2018, and continues to be based in B.C., Canada.
REALthings cushions makes seriously beautiful meditation cushions and b dolsters. Designed to be larger and much more comfortable, all cushions are handmade in Canada with organic fabrics and stuffing, and minimal waste. Founded by Julie Jarvis in 2012, REALthings is based in Toronto, Canada.
New in 2019 and based in Toronto, Aura Yoga Wear is the creation of Keighley Diab, a yoga teacher who hails from the UK and has lived all over the world, and has made Canada her home. This line is known for super cute sets in amazing colours that are as functional as they are attractive. The high-waisted tights actually stay put, even in downdogs and lunges, and the bra tops keep everything secure.
Aumnie is a Canadian born, health and wellness inspired lifestyle brand, made for active and mindful living. Designed in Canada, and owned and operated by two Canadians, one being fashion photographer and director Todd Anthony Tyler, Aumnie designs yoga and fitness wear that incorporates leading performance fabric technologies with on-trend styles, cuts and sustainable materials. And dreamy colours!
Canadian-made, hand-dyed, environmentally responsible and totally unique. Launched in 2010 by Vancouver artist & entrepreneur, Lexi Soukoreff as a way to explore her education and interest in colour, pattern, and function of high-quality fabrics. Wearble art.
Full disclosure: I have a lot of yoga clothing – especially tights. I do practice 4-5 times per week and teach once at minimum. And I work mostly from home so I literally live in yoga pants. (and can you ever have too many really?). And a lot of mine are Lululemon. I was an early supporter of the brand from the day they opened their first Toronto store. And I still have pairs that are 10+ years old. I have nothing but the utmost of respect for the founder, products and brand, and the way Lulu created a whole new category of athleisure. But although they began as a small Canadian brand, they are now a huge, publicly traded multi-national, and I do feel like I’ve given them a lot of my $$ over the years. So, while I still happily shop Lululemon on occasion and likely always will, I try to make most of my purchases from small Canadian companies who really appreciate and need the support.
I have extremely sensitive skin – and the Canadian climate of extreme cold in winter and super-hot in summer really does a number on it. Plus, I’m 49 (yikes, how’d that happen?) as I write this, and some of the recent hormonal changes have made my skin drier and more reactive. These are the products that keep my skin calm, hydrated and glowy. ( I know there are a lot here – I’m a bit of a skincare junky!)
Organic Canadian beauty founded by Julie Clark, Province offers a premium quality line of holistic skin care. Available online, in specialty retailers, and in their Toronto apothecary and skin clinic, Province is a treat for sensitive skin. I cannot go without their Oil Cleanser and Make-up Remover.
This is a new find for me and I’m loving everything. Based in Mississauga, Ontario and founded by Elaine Li, (formerly of Burts Bees) to treat her own hyper-sensitive skin, these products are as clean as they come and extremely effective in managing inflammation. My personal fave is the Restorative Facial Oil.
Developed by Vancouver Pharmacist and Skin expert Sharmani Pillay, all Apothekari products are formulated to be super clean and cruelty-free, but are also based on strong evidentiary science. Must try: Bespoke Vitamin C 15% Serum (made to order), and A is for Anti-Aging Serum.
Founded in 2003 in Kitchener, Ontario, Cocoon are formulators, makers and sellers of plant-based, green and clean skincare. With face and body products for every skin type, including a new men’s line, and botanical perfume, they are meticulous about ingredient selection and creating in small batches. Their Rosey Cheeks moisturizer is top-notch and their Reflector SPF is perfect.
Founded by a Vancouver mom whose baby girl was suffering with eczema, Patrice was seeking a way to help her daughter without using steroid creams. Satya was born in her kitchen and is an effective anti-inflammatory that can be used to treat eczema on faces or bodies of all ages.
Toronto based and founded by Anna, FitGlow Beauty was researched for over 10 years prior to launch. Their Lip Colour Serum is hands-down the best lip gloss I have ever used. Available in 21 shades, it hydrates, plumps and colours all in one. Worth every penny.
I’ve tried lots and I keep coming back to this one. Created by formerly smelly sisters Neige and Pippa in the Canadian Rockies. Routine is a super effective cream deodorant that pulls in all-natural ingredients that respect your lymph nodes but also keep you smelling fresh – even after a sweaty yoga class.
Personal faves: Superstar and Like a Boss.
Wellness products and services
My go-to Golden Mylk – I drink this almost every day, hot or cold and sometimes with a shot of espresso if I need a little boost. With creamy turmeric, calming Ashwagandha, medicinal turkey tail mushroom, and ginger. Founded by Master herbalist Yarrow Willard and Angela Willard in 2008, Harmonic Arts is based on Vancouver Island.
Best friends Ella & Karen started Blume in Vancouver, creating healthy, elevated superfood blends in colour-coded pouches that are easy and delicious to use. Their Matcha Coconut and Reishi Hot Cocoa are staples in my pantry.
I take all the Niyama products (of course!) but I also take more supplements, and one of the brands I really like and respect is AOR. Based in Calgary, and still privately and Canadian owned, AOR manufactures innovative formulations using only high-quality, science-based ingredients. Their UTI Cleanse is a lifesaver, if you know what I mean.
Kite was born when two friends (Michelle Tirmandi & Claudia Marion) with a passion for wellness, female entrepreneurship and tea, sparked joy with the thought of building a brand – from the heart. Sparkling botanical beverages with adaptogens – refreshing and therapeutic! Personal fave: Align Hibiscus + Tulsi
Husband and wife founders Stefanie and Wesley truly walk the talk. Formerly based in Toronto, but since relocated to live off-grid in Quebec, this zero-plastic duo have created beautiful and functional products to make eco-friendly more accessible. From reusable coffee cups made from brown rice, to sporks made of repurposed coconut shells and their best-selling urban composter, Ahimsa Eco can help you up your eco game. They also offer environmental consulting services to businesses of all sizes.
These are just a few that are in heavy rotation in my household – but there are many more and I hope to keep adding to this.
I truly hope that you will check out some of the above brands. As Canadian small businesses I know first-hand that they will appreciate your support and interest.
And don’t hesitate to list your own faves in the comments!