A Montreal entrepreneur proves skincare can be high-quality and sustainable

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With an overwhelming amount of information on the best skincare regimens and an immeasurable number of brands to choose from at the drugstore, it can be difficult to answer the age-old question: which companies really care about my skin?

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In Montreal, we are fortunate to say that Zorah Biocosmétiques, a premium skincare brand founded by Melissa Harvey, is revolutionizing the cosmetics industry by putting values ​​before profit.

The Zorah product line, which ranges from high-performance anti-aging creams to natural foaming cleansing milks, prides itself on three fundamental principles: using only organic ingredients, sourcing locally and from fair trade cooperatives, and operate sustainably with environmentally friendly, recyclable materials.

“Zorah is proof that it is possible to combine superior quality and respect for the environment,” said Melissa Harvey, founder and president of Zorah Biocosmétiques. “Not only are most of our ingredients organically grown, but we also take an ecological approach to our production and distribution chain from start to finish.”

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Melissa Harvey, founder of Zorah Biocosmetics.  PHOTO PROVIDED.
Melissa Harvey, founder of Zorah Biocosmetics. PHOTO PROVIDED.

While working in Morocco as a youth intern for Oxfam, Harvey met women from the Berber community, also known as Amazigh, an indigenous community in North Africa who grew argan oil. and exported it. Upon her return to Quebec, she decided to pursue a business partnership with the women-run cooperative and began selling pure argan oil at Jean Talon Market.

At the time, the myriad benefits of argan oil for hair and skin were little known in the Canadian market. A biochemist approached her with the idea of ​​turning her side business of selling pure argan oil into a cosmetics start-up.

“Argan oil is a heavy molecule that does not penetrate the dermis or the epidermis, so it must be homogenized well so that it can sink in”, explains Harvey. “It’s really good for the hair, the nails, for the scars […] you can even make massage oil from argan oil, and you can use it as a makeup remover. It’s very trendy. »

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The biochemist offered two options: Do it cheaply and quickly: Use petroleum materials in your products, she said, and your company would be up and running with a product line within weeks.

The other option would be more difficult and take longer. If Harvey went the sustainable route and didn’t use petroleum-derived plastics in its products — no petroleum-derived plastics, no animal testing — it would take two to five years to get going. But this option would allow Harvey to put her values ​​first, invest her time in researching sustainable packaging and eco-friendly manufacturing, and get going when she’s ready. Harvey chose the second option and never backed down.

“I said I didn’t want to use plastic because I had always been in an organic and sustainable business,” Harvey said. “These are my values. I said that we were going to create something that does not yet exist. We will develop high-end certified organic niche products.

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Zorah's anti-aging products.  PHOTO PROVIDED.
Zorah’s anti-aging products. PHOTO PROVIDED.

After five years, the first line of Zorah Biocosmetics has arrived on the Montreal market. Initial bestsellers were 100% pure argan oil and other serums, but the catalog has since expanded to include powerful sunscreens, tinted concealers, lip rejuvenators, retinols and a wide range of products that target wrinkles and other visible effects of aging.

In addition to using only ethically sourced ingredients, Zorah products are cruelty-free and sold in FSC-certified packaging and shipped in boxes made from 70% recycled fiber.

Today, Zorah’s acclaim has grown dramatically, with her Redensifying Firming Mask winning Best Facial Mask at the CertClean 7th Clean Beauty Awards.

Harvey says it’s not the green orientation that attracts customers, but rather the high-end quality and superior performance of each product.

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“Customers aren’t necessarily looking for organic-only products — they want a high-performing eye cream to get rid of eye wrinkles,” Harvey explained. “They buy from Zorah, then we tell them, by the way, that everything is natural, organic and made right here in Montreal. »

And thanks to Zorah, Harvey can give back to the community here in Montreal and abroad. After more than 20 years of collaboration, the number of women employed by the cooperative has increased from 75 to more than 2,500. Zorah also pays for the schooling of many of these Amaghazi women.

“I think education is the key to success in any country in the world,” Harvey said.

Back in Montreal, Zorah has just launched Zoé, a new triple-action plumping lip treatment with argan and castor oils, with hints of vanilla and mint, presented in a sleek tube and retailing for $25. Zorah’s catalog offers a variety of long-lasting yet exceptional skin care products that you can feel good about treating yourself and giving as gifts.

And for Black Friday, Zorah is having a big sale for those who want to try the high-quality argan oil products they offer.

For more information, visit zorah.ca.

This story was created by content workscommercial content division of Postmedia, on behalf of Zorah Biocosmétiques.

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