The concept of ‘farm fresh’ was once restricted to food and beverage, but owners of Okanagan Lavender & Herb Farm are changing that. From farm to bottle, they are producing the highest quality ingredients to put into their very own, highly nourishing and natural skin care line. Based in the mountainous and the highly fertile Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, Canada, this family is changing the way we perceive farming.
Okanagan Lavender & Herb Farm takes pride in their slow and thoughtful process of transforming herbs into exceptional botanical ingredients. They believe in the incredible power of plants and the value of doing things by hand. Their Rose Eye Balm is a testament to their hard work and their mission to create therapeutic, plant rich products that work. Many of the ingredients are harvested right on their very own farm. We spoke with the family to learn more about what makes their farm and their amazing Rose Eye Balm so special.
How does having your very own farm help you to deliver truly clean beauty products?
For Okanagan Lavender & Herb Farm, Clean Beauty begins with healthy soil and the intimate knowledge that comes from decades of growing experience. Our healthy, robust plants provide us with many of the ingredients for our products. We began restoring our farmland in 1994, adding trees, shrubs and a pond to improve biodiversity, and encourage beneficial insects which support our goals of monitoring plants through integrated pest management. Plants are cultivated by hand in a spray free environment, and we adhere to regenerative agricultural practices. Everything is hand harvested at its peak and the herbs are either dried or distilled to extract their properties. Our herb drying room was custom built with an earth-air exchange system which preserves the beneficial properties of the plants without the use of heat. We use steam distillation to extract our essential oils and hydrosols. Everything is done in small batches immediately after harvest. These are the key building blocks of our products.
We believe Clean Beauty Products should be free from synthetics, and preservatives, they should never be tested on animals. All of our products are rich in plant-based nutrients and we always honest with our customers, educating them that the healing benefits of plant-based products naturally diminish over time and should be used before their expiry date.
Your Rose Eye Balm is one of your most popular products, what is it best used for?
The Rose Eye Balm is rich in plant-based oils that are recognized for their wound healing, anti-inflammatory and moisturizing properties. It is intended for use in the delicate eye area to rejuvenate and brighten dull and dry skin. Applied at bedtime, the balm is absorbed into the skin leaving the eye area soft, supple and hydrated in the morning. It is perfect for moisturizing dull, dry, chapped and sensitive skin.
What is it about roses and other florals that makes this eye cream so powerful?
Rose Eye Balm draws its ingredients from the time-honoured healing properties of three exceptional plants: rose, lavender and calendula. The signature ingredient of this product comes from the co-distillation of Damask Rose + English Lavender which yields a sweetly floral nuanced essential oil, rich in anti-inflammatory properties. Rosehips are picked in autumn after the first frost, when they are rich in vitamins and fatty acids. They are infused in protein and vitamin rich avocado oil, and the resulting extract is bright orange with a scent reminiscent of ripe strawberries. It has long been recognized for its healing properties. Calendula blossoms, notable for their anti-inflammatory, moisturizing and healing benefits are infused in organic, fair-trade coconut oil to extract their properties.
What inspired you to create Rose Eye Balm and what makes the ingredients you use so unique?
The inspiration behind the Rose Eye Balm came from a chance encounter with a product formulation chemist who trained in the perfume houses of Grasse, France. This gentleman encouraged us to explore the ‘co-distillation’ of plants to create unique, proprietary essential oils like the technique used in the perfume houses of France. In particular, he suggested we try combining our damask roses with lavender; he was convinced we would produce something remarkable. Following his lead, we reviewed which aromatic plants we grew that blossomed simultaneously and began to explore this process. Eventually we settled on two different co-distillations we now produce. In the warm gentle heat of early summer, we harvest the petals from our Damask roses and the flowers from our English lavender and combine them into our still to extract a uniquely sweet and floral essential oil. This nuanced oil is rich in the healing properties of both lavender and roses.
As important as the ingredients we produce ourselves, is the selection of ingredients we purchase to create exceptional plant-based products. For the Rose Eye Balm, we incorporate the following ingredients:
Organic jojoba oil is a liquid wax which closely resembles natural skin sebum, making it an excellent treatment for dry and damaged skin.
Organic coconut oil is moisturizing, nourishing and anti-inflammatory.
Avocado oil is highly therapeutic; helps to soften tissue and heal dull skin.
Local beeswax forms a protective barrier over the skin, helping it retain moisture.
Infused Calendula pedals are antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory; helps to quickly repair irritated skin.
Infused reships are high in vitamin C and the essential fatty acids that promote cell regeneration and tissue healing.
Vitamin E oil repairs, moisturizes and protects the skin.
Our very own rose and lavender essential oil is regenerative, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.
Frankincense essential oil is an antiseptic, very anti-inflammatory; reviving and rejuvenating for the skin.
Immortelle oil is anti-inflammatory; soothes, cools and regenerates the skin
What research and experiences allowed you to discover the benefits of your products?
Living in a semi-arid region, looking after your skin is extremely important. Over the years, our focus has moved from producing food ingredients to the production of herbs and aromatic plants whose ingredients nurture and nourish your skin. As a specialist herb grower, I have long been enthralled by the traditional healing properties of plants and their history of use in cultures around the world. This passion fueled the sourcing of plant material from nurseries in many countries - our collection of lavender plants was imported from a UK nursery holding one of the scientific collections of lavender. It took 15 years for us to accumulate and grow out our collection of Damask roses before we had enough mature plant material to begin distilling them. The calendula we cultivate is the 'Erfurter Orangefarbige' variety. This cultivar is widely grown in Europe and is valued for producing exceptional flowers intended for use in medicinal and cosmetic preparations.
From our many customers with mature skin, we had numerous requests for a product to use around the eye area. The Rose Eye Balm was created from the plants we grow that are best suited for this delicate skin area. It is nutrient rich and only needs to be used sparingly to replenish the suppleness of skin in the eye area. Calendula is a vital part of this product. Its benefits are supported in this study. The proven benefits of plant oils can be seen here.
How should Rose Eye Balm be used?
After washing your face, apply a skin toner (we recommend our Rose Hydrosol) and then apply the Rose Eye Balm gently and sparingly around the eye area before bed. This allows the balm to be slowly absorbed during the night and the gentle aroma of rose and lavender is calming for bedtime. To apply, use the ‘finger of least resistance’ – your ring finger, and apply the balm in a circular motion, making sure not to ‘pull’ the skin. You can use a counter-clockwise direction to improve circulation and stimulate/massage the eye area. Do not apply too close to the eyes as the moisture will ‘travel’ inwards to the eyes.
This can also be used on eyebrows, to nourish and moisturize them. The wound healing properties of the ingredients also make it a soothing balm to aid in the healing of scars and softening dry skin spots.
Okanagan Lavender & Herb Farm products are thoughtfully crafted with every step carefully curated. They believe that by growing, harvesting, drying and distilling by hand, they are able to create the highest quality skin care. With their history of award winning products, they appear to be right. Their Rose Eye Balm isn’t their only amazing product. If you are looking for more nourishment, try their Rose Hydrosol.
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