Garcy Fry is on a mission to make green beauty products more accessible to Canadians. The Vancouver-based entrepreneur is the co-founder of Eco Diva Beauty, an online boutique featuring hard-to-find skincare, makeup, hair and body products from sustainable and non-toxic sources. Tata Harper, Consonant, ILIA Beauty and RGB are just a few of the cult and luxury brands in her curated array; every single thing on the site is also free of parabens, sulfates, synthetic colours and fragrances and is packaged in reusable or recyclable materials.
So what's her story—how DO you become an eco-beauty entrepreneur, anyway? And which natural beauty products should we know about? I chatted with the business owner, makeup artist and mother of two to find out!
How did you get your start in the beauty business?
Prior to Eco Diva, I was a part-time makeup artist for eight or nine years. I had gone to university for psychology and got really talented at doing makeup. Lots of people were encouraging me to make a career out of it, so I went to Blanche Macdonald. Within a month of finishing school, I was out working—but I soon found there are so many makeup artists in Vancouver that there really wasn't much work.
In high school, I had volunteered as a mentor to teenagers, so I decided to transition into that full-time, which I ultimately found a lot more fulfilling than doing makeup. I have a passion for teens and helping them navigate through such a crazy time of life. Growing up, if someone had told me, "You don't have to do what everyone else is doing," or, "This seems like the end of the world right now, but you'll realize that it isn't," I would have benefited.
Makeup is fun and I do love it, but not as a full-time job. So I was doing both. Volunteering keeps my priorities straight and lets me reflect on what's really important in life. I'd have a hole in my heart if I wasn't doing it.
How did the idea for Eco Diva come about?
My mom had always wanted to start Eco Diva, but didn't have the time.She had been promoting organic products to me my whole life, but I didn't want to listen to it when I was young.When I got pregnant, all of a suddenI was like, "Oh, she might have been on to something!" I became super-aware of what I was putting on and in my body and started researching ingredients. I did know from going to beauty school that a lot of the ingredients were icky, but 10 years ago, we didn't have the green beauty industry that we have now. We've come so far, and there are so many good options—not just hippie granola options.
When my second maternity leave was about to run out, my mom suggested that we get the company going. I started testing and researching last August or September, and then we launched in March.
What's your beauty philosophy?
I believe in taking a holistic approach to beauty. What you put on your skin is just as important as what you put in your body. Nutrition, hormones, lifestyle, self-esteem, spirit and skincare all affect our beauty equally. There is nothing more beautiful than a woman who is confident in her own skin and in her body. She knows who she is, loves herself and loves others.
Who is your beauty icon?
Gwyneth Paltrow. I adore her commitment to whole foods and a healthy lifestyle. She radiates beauty from the inside out.
Also Marilyn Monroe; she is a goddess. I admire the confidence she had in her ripe, bombshell body.
What's in your beauty bag?
Haha! What's not in my beauty bag?
Okay, what are your top five favourite products?
May Lindstrom Skin The Youth Dew. I'm starting to see wrinkles, so I love a good face oil/serum. This one is the perfect hydrator and contains Coenzyme Q10, an anti-aging must-have.
Kahina Brightening Serum. This may not completely take away post-acne marks, dark spots and melasma, but it will definitely make huge improvements—without the use of the risky ingredient hydroquinone.
May Lindstrom Skin The Problem Solver. Everyone should have a good clay mask in their beauty arsenal. Cleopatra loved them and so do I. This mask solves a wide array of skin problems and my skin is soft and glowing after every use.
Kjaer Weis Organic Lip Tints. They're made in Italy—enough said. These are pigment-packed, go on as smooth as a balm and give you a glossy finish.
Soapwalla Deodorant Cream. After years of trying to find a natural deodorant that worked, my quest is over. This keeps you smelling fresh all day long. For real.
What's your daily skincare regimen?
The secret to flawless makeup is great skin. I start out by cleansing with May Lindstrom Skin The Clean Dirt. If I'm feeling ambitious, I'll leave it on for five minutes or so while I brush my teeth. Then I rinse that off and apply Kahina Brightening Serum. After letting that soak in, I apply May Lindstrom Skin The Youth Dew. Then I begin my makeup.
Can you describe your makeup routine?
I do my eyes first. That way, if there is any spillage, it won't ruin my foundation and blush. For everyday wear, I opt for something light to brighten my eyes. I usually do a wash of something shimmery and neutral (Kjaer Weis Organic Eyeshadow Compact in Cloud Nine) or light pink (Alima Pure Luminous Shimmer Mineral Eyeshadow in Hellebore or Venus).
To create some definition, I'll blend Kjaer Weis Organic Eyeshadow Compact in Charmed into my crease. I fill in the gaps in my eyebrows and apply two or three coats of mascara. I dance between Kjaer Weis Organic Mascara in Black and ILIA Beauty Mascara in Nightfall.
Then I apply Alima Pure Satin Matte Mineral Foundation in Straw with their vegan foundation brush. In the summer, I apply it dry, and in the fall/winter I mix it with One Love Organics Skin Savior Waterless Multi Balm to make a nourishing liquid foundation.
Then comes the cheeks. I have fallen in love with cream blushes ever since Kjaer Weis Organic Cream Blush came into my life. It's so easy to apply and leaves you with a natural glow. My favourite shades are Desired Glow, a very subtle, natural tan, and Blossoming, a light pink (which I also use on my lips). I'll also use ILIA Beauty Illuminator in Polka Dots and Moonbeams on my cheekbones, browbones, inner eyes and cupid's bow.
Lips are my favourite part. My purse weighs 1,000 pounds because of my lip addiction. I love ILIA Beauty and Kjaer Weis. For everyday, I'll wear Kjaer Weis Organic Lip Tint Compact in Bliss Full or Dream State, or ILIA Beauty Tinted Lip Conditioner in Blossom Lady or Nobody's Baby. If I'm going out on the town, I use Kjaer Weis Organic Lip Tint Compact in Goddess or ILIA Beauty Lipstick Crayon in Call Me.
What about your hair routine?
I only wash my hair two times a week, tops, so my hair routine is very minimal. I usually apply two or three drops of Rahua Elixir to keep my over-processed hair moist and shiny. Depending on the style, I'll keep it in place with Yarok Feed Your Hold Style Sustaining Hair Spray.
What fragrance do you wear?
I don't usually wear perfume since the body oils and lotions I use have such beautiful natural scents. If I'm feeling particularly sexy, I will put on May Lindstrom Skin The Good Stuff Radiance Oil. It smells like cocoa and is so divine. If I'm feeling peppy, I'll put on Prtty Peaushun Skin Tight Body Lotion, which has grapefruit extract and is so refreshing.
Is there anything you use that isn't green?
I've given a lot of my kit away to other makeup artists, but there are a few things kicking around that I'll use from time to time. I have a Dior eyeliner that I put on my lower lash line. And I have a few fragrances that I'll use occasionally. But I won't put them on my skin. I spray them on my clothes.
Which beauty products can you splurge on and which can you save on?
Splurge on skincare. Your skin is the canvas for everything else, and there are so many effective natural options these days. You can save on makeup, but make sure it doesn't have any chemicals in it or the good skincare you splurged on will go to waste.
What's your beauty pet peeve?
Seeing people wear foundation that doesn't match their skin tone. The colour of their face does not match the colour of their neck. I desperately want to get them the right match!
What's your best beauty tip?
Take the time to get connected to yourself on a deeper level. Learn about who you are and get comfortable in the gorgeous skin and body that God gave you. Nurture yourself both physically and emotionally. You are worth it!
Any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Follow your passion and be true to who you are. Don't try to recreate what someone else is doing. There may be a million reasons why you shouldn't do something, but if you're passionate about it, and you really believe in yourself, then you can make it happen. You just have to listen to your gut and go with it 200 percent.
Get the products
Garcy's favourites are available at her store; some can also be found at these retailers:
Have your say
Do you agree with Garcy's natural approach to beauty?
Have you tried any of her favourite products?
What are YOUR top natural beauty product picks?