VERDURA naturalternatives is a company that appeals to our sense of health and ethics. Inspired to design effective, safe and non toxic skin care made with pure botanicals after dealing with a rare type of skin cancer, Brigitte Urbani, along with her husband Claudio, creates products from their studio in Ontario, Canada that don’t compromise the health and safety of their consumers, animals or the planet.
VERDURA is a company that cares deeply about its impact on the world and is are passionate about creating effective skin care that respects the health of all whilst performing well. We tried products from their face and body range and really enjoyed them. Made from easily recognisable ingredients, the emphasis at VEREDURA is on pure and natural. Their products go far beyond aesthetic results; essential oils are blended and matched to create an effect of peace, calm and rejuvenation to create a holistic experience that treats body and mind. In terms of packaging, there is a simplicity and elegance about these products which conveys a clean and pure energy.
From their facial skin care range, we tried their Morning Dew Facial Soap, Fruit Complex Facial Mask, Berry Facial Serum, and found all worked well on normal skin. Long lasting and great performing, these simple products took our skin care regime down to just a few minutes morning and night and left us with beautiful, youthful looking skin in just a few days.
Despite the name, we used the Morning Dew Soap morning and night. Formulated with avocado, aloe vera, french clay and cocoa butter for maximum hydration, cleansing and moisturisation, this soap lathers into a light cleansing foam rich in essential nutrients for healthy and supple skin. This is a miracle bar that provides the squeaky clean feeling of a normal soap bar without leaving skin with the tightness most soaps do. Rather, skin is left soft and smooth, ready for moisturisation without being uncomfortably dry.
We moisturised twice a day with the Berry Facial Serum, a unique blend of antioxidant rich berry oils that promote cell regeneration, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and age spots, boost collagen production, reverse skin damage and tighten skin. Quickly absorbed by damp skin, this hydrating oil with a beautiful floral fragrance reduces fine lines and wrinkles and gives skin plumpness and evens tone.
Twice a week, at night, we used the Fruit Complex Facial Mask, formulated with strawberry, papaya, pineapple, apple and guava, rich in alpha hydroxy acids that gently exfoliate dead skin cells. Designed to revitalise skin, eliminate excess oils and reduce blemishes, this light powder with fine grains – that smells like a superfood smoothie blend – manages to deeply cleanse the skin in a gentle way that leaves it soft, refreshed and glowing.
From their body skin care range we tried their Deep Blue Sea Soak Crystals, Aquamarine Salt Glow Body Polish, Aquamarine Exfoliating Soap Bar and Namasté Bath & Body Oil. Generous sized and long lasting, these deep cleaning and moisturising products work well for all skin types and left us with rejuvenated, silky smooth skin that felt nourished beyond the surface.
The Deep Blue Sea Soak crystals formulated with dead sea salt, seaweed, essential oils of patchouli, peppermint and indigo root are designed to remineralise the body, remove muscle tensions and smooth the skin. With an amazing fresh and invigorating fragrance that clears the mind, these nourishing and replenishing salts left us deeply relaxed in body and mind every time we used them. Our favourite product of all, these beautiful looking salt crystals soak into the water to create a bath oil that leaves skin nourished, hydrated and glowing, removing the need for after bath moisturisation.
We showered with the Aquamarine Salt Glow Body Polish made with dead sea salt, shea butter and essential oils of tea tree, eucalyptus and rosemary. We loved this polish. As every product from VERDURA does, it performs gently yet effectively to exfoliate, moisturise and stimulate skin. With a vibrant and dynamic herbal and minty fragrance that energised us in the morning and cleansed us at night, this light polish leaves skin scrubbed clean as well as hydrated. The soap bar performs just as well, lathering into a shower lotion with fine grains for exfoliation and is essentially a lighter, compact, travel version of the polish, easier to move around with and great for hand and foot care.
After every bath and shower, we used the Namasté Bath & Body Oil, a unique high end, non greasy blend of exotic dry oils, including moringa, tamanu, coriander and lavender, rich in powerful antioxidants that soothe and repair damaged skin. This miracle oil soaks into skin immediately leaving it supple and well hydrated and its floral and herbal fragrance – sage during application and citrus once applied – is soothing to body and soul. We were constantly complimented on our scent when using this.
What inspired you to create VERDURA naturalternatives?
VERDURA was created in 2012 with the intention of helping local people who wanted a healthier lifestyle and needed safe beauty products, but one thing lead to another and here we are years later selling in different countries and connecting with people around the world.
There was a definite and obvious need for a change. Claudio and I didn’t want to chance using commercial brands that were formulated with so many doubtful ingredients after my cancer scare in 2004. Then, there weren’t many all natural products available on the market yet. I started formulating a few basic products with raw, eatable and remarkable ingredients with which I fell in love. I was spending 12 to 14 hours a day researching their benefits, I was so fascinated by all the history and power found in all plants. At that point I was going through so many health issues, I had no intention in starting a skincare line, I was simply trying to survive and I turned to plants and nature for help.
Each product is formulated by us to achieve specific results with the highest quality ingredients from around the world.
Claudio and I are both artists and I also have over 25 years experience as an aesthetician. Creating products became my new passion, we were creating music before and now we are creating skin and body care products which could sound like they are worlds apart but really there not. There both about creating something that didn’t exist and that makes people feel better.
When it was time to name our skincare line we knew it had to describe plants or greenery. Claudio, being from Italian origin, suggested “VERDURA”, I instantly fell in love with its meaning and sound. ‘Vedura’ in Italian has multi meanings: greens, greenery or vegetables. We added ‘naturalternatives’ to help people quickly understand the nature of our products.
We are so in love with our brand and our industry. It’s filled with wonderful dreamers who just want to be happy and make everybody feel good about themselves. Our brand is growing organically and we hope to be able to reach out to more and more people over time.
Why do we need to be conscious of the products we use on our skin?
For many years it seems like people have forgotten to think of the body as one machine that keeps you alive, every part of our body has a specific role to play, If one part is not working well it affects all the other parts. I think it’s foolish to think the skin doesn’t play a part in our overall health.
We carefully select the finest ingredients for their purity, sustainability, medicinal properties and skin benefits.
The skin absorbs everything. I can never know for sure what gave me that cancer but one thing I know is that I was using a lot of synthetic products before and I certainly don’t want to take anymore chances.
What ingredients do you always avoid and why?
I avoid synthetic colorants, fragrances, parabens, animal derived ingredients and ingredients tested on animals. High end, plant based ingredients is all I insist on using in my products. In my opinion that is where all the necessary benefits are.
Which ingredients do you use most often and why?
When I formulate products I basically think of it as food. Our products might not taste great but to me they are like food, only for your skin. I use plant based ingredients like exotic oils and butters, minerals, pure essential oils, organic or wild crafted. I focus on packing in as much skin nutrition as possible in every formulation.
Plants are my passion, I would not be interested in formulating products with synthetic ingredients. There is so much research that has been done on plants, humans from different cultures have been using plants and documenting their benefits for thousands of years. I am a big believer in the power of plants.
We live in such a polluted world that using organic as much as possible just makes good sense. The goal is to reduce the overall amount of toxins we are exposed to everyday. The studies on the toxicity of certain ingredients is rarely taking into account the cumulative effect.
Using one toxic ingredient once in a lifetime would probably not cause any damage but use that same toxic ingredient three to four time a day, everyday for decades and that’s when the bad things happen. Unfortunately no one is monitoring the effects over such long period. Better to be safe than sorry.
Our products are made up of only organic and/ or wild crafted ingredients. We make it a top priority to use only the best quality. There are many growers who are working hard at obtaining organic certification but the battle is often lengthy and very expensive. We’d rather support the small growers who provide an organic ingredient they can’t afford to certify but has a superior quality over a certified ingredient with an inferior quality. Certification doesn’t always ensure quality and what makes them certified organic is often a misconception in the industry.
Our formulas are without fillers, synthetic chemicals, artificial colorants or perfumes.
The very few ingredients listed without the word ‘organic’ does not imply that they are not organic. We have chosen to select quality over the organic stamp. Certification is simply a piece of paper but does not make the quality growers non organic. Everyone has purchased from an independent farmer who offers quality and properly grown veggies and fruit without the organic certification label. The reason you support this farmer is because of his good methods and values. We’ve all been there; not everything is black or white.
We pride ourselves for formulating products made from the very best anyone can find. We are committed to offering safe and effective skin care. We stand behind our products 100% because our contribution to this planet is to steer things in the right direction through love, passion and compassion.
VERDURA is a vegan skincare brand, not because it’s trendy but because we truly believe in the power of plants and we are strong believers in animal welfare. We strongly believe that the most nutrition and best benefits for a healthy skin come from plants. We are proud that no animals are harmed in the making of our products. Claudio and I have been vegans for a decade and we wouldn’t want a skincare line that contributes to the abuse done to animals. Our dream is to be able to help animals on a greater scale and in a more direct way in the future.
Why do You Think That conventional companies continue to use toxic ingredients?
It’s a great question and I can’t know for sure what their reasons are but my guess is that synthetic ingredients are much less expensive, more stable, i.e. plant based ingredients don’t guarantee consistency in color, scent and texture. There’s also the fact that natural ingredients don’t preserve as long, which makes the production, distribution, storage and warehousing way more complicated, often even impossible. I think these might be some of the reasons commercial brands don’t go natural.
How can people have confidence that alternative products will work as well?
Conventional skincare contains in general a very low percentage of active ingredients, which means a huge percentage of what makes the product is either synthetic colorants, fragrances, preservatives or fillers. Our products are non toxic made up of 98 to 100 % active ingredients. Fillers do nothing for the skin, they are an inexpensive way to fill the container and give the products a desired texture or feel. I think everyone should at least give a chance to natural products, although not all natural products are created equal they will always be, in my opinion, a better choice.
Are your ingredients sustainably grown?
We only purchase ingredients grown in a sustainable way because we really care about having the smallest footprint possible.
We live in a crucial era, the environment is fragile and we need to do our best to protect it.
For example, we refuse to support the palm oil industry, we are aware there are sustainable farms but we would rather stay away from supporting palm oil to diminish the demand and avoid confusion.
Are your ingredients and production process fairtrade?
We stick with suppliers we trust that provide us with high quality ingredients, certified organic and fair-trade, and we also source locally. We hand make all our products so we have complete control over how our products are made.
Is your packaging recycled or recyclable?
We are very proud that our products are packaged in glass, we also like to encourage our customers to repurpose our beautiful containers, they make wonderful spice jars and plant seed starters. Our Lotus comes with a wonderful bottle for cut flowers. Our biggest jars are practical for packing a lunch or to keep crudités fresh in the refrigerator. These are just a few ideas we recommend.
What is your advice to people unsure of whether natural and botanical products will work?
Our best advice is to pay attention to the ingredient list and not only the front label. You are most likely to obtain best results when the percentage of active ingredients is high like all of our product line. VERDURA naturalternatives is hope for beauty without compromise. We believe it is the future of the beauty industry. The pleasure of taking care of yourself, bringing luxury to your life without the guilt of harming yourself, anyone or anything else.
A dream for a healthier, more grounded compassionate life. It’s a passion for creating gorgeous, safe and effective products that make you feel beautiful just the way you are.