Why so much information here?
Yes, this page contains a lot of info! I want you to know what goes into these products to decide if they are best for you and your skin. I encourage everyone to seek out skincare that not only provides all-natural, effective healing and self-care benefits, but also aligns with their beliefs and what is important to them. Wekusko Wild is about sustainability and a respectful commitment to our boreal forest. If anything is left unanswered, please get in touch.
Do you use commercially prepared essential oils (EOs)?
No. I believe that the aroma and medicinal qualities of Wekusko Wild products should come from the local herbal materials themselves, and not be artificially 'boosted' with the use of commercial EOs. Also, my products are intended to be safe and gentle for all skin types, including very sensitive skins, and EOs are very concentrated and can be highly irritating or sensitizing for many people. Because it is difficult to know who may have physical or scent sensitivities, and also the uncertainty around quality of materials or extraction methods used, I intentionally leave these elements out of my formulations. When used inappropriately in skincare, EOs can be damaging not only to the skin but also the body if applied near the eyes, nose and mouth where they may be internally absorbed. It is also worth considering the immense amounts of plant material necessary to process for creation of EOs, making over-harvest a real concern for sustainability.
Do your products contain gluten or other allergens?
My products do not contain gluten, however please understand that these small batches are created in a home kitchen that uses dairy, seeds and nuts and gluten products. All equipment and packaging used for skincare are sanitized and kept separate from home utensils but trace amounts may be present. Please check the ingredients noted on product pages, as some do contain nut oils or butters. It is the responsibility of the individual to review the ingredients before use.
Do you use any GMOs?
The purchased ingredients in these products are carefully selected to be government-certified organic and not genetically modified. These premium products cost significantly more than low grade products, but this level of quality is a priority for Wekusko Wild.
Do you use preservatives?
Balms and ointments which contain only oils and butters do not require a preservative since bacteria and mould cannot survive without water. However, oils and butter can go rancid over time so organic vitamin E oil is added as an antioxidant and stabilizer. For lotions and creams which contain water, a preservative must be used to create a stable and safe product free of bacteria, mould and yeast. Wekusko Wild uses only naturally-derived preservatives which are laboratory-tested and conform to international ECOCERT requirements (derived from renewable resources, manufactured using environmentally friendly processes). No synthetic or chemical preservatives are used. For those with very sensitive or reactive skin, the benefits of boreal botanicals can still be enjoyed with the Grass River Facial Serum - which does not contain any preservatives.
Do you use fillers?
All ingredients in Wekusko Wild formulas are considered necessary, and nothing is intentionally added as a 'filler'. Some ingredients do not have a direct therapeutic benefit such as emulsifiers (to blend waters and oils), thickeners or stabilizers. These products are included so that beneficial ingredients can be delivered to your skin in a pleasing way - smooth, uniform, absorptive with a beautiful finish and texture. These ingredients are all naturally derived and in many cases certified organic or ECOCERT-approved. A note on water - I used to see water on my personal skincare ingredient lists and assume it was added as a filler so that more expensive ingredients could be excluded. However, water is necessary in lotions and creams as it allows water-soluble ingredients to be dissolved and incorporated as well as allowing oils and heavier ingredients to be lightened so they absorb quickly and don't leave your skin feeling heavy.
What is the difference between 'all-natural' and 'organic'?
These two terms are often used together and easily confused. 'All-natural' products are those that either come from unaltered natural sources - such as shea butter which is the fatty component of nuts off the shea tree, or are derived from natural sources - such as xanthan gum which is a natural thickener made by fermenting sugars. In order to be called 'organic', products must be approved by regulated international certification organizations who assign organic labelling to all-natural products that meet their guidelines for organic production (no pesticides, fertilizers, chemicals) and processing. Every ingredient used by Wekusko Wild is all-natural, but not all of those are approved organic. Please see product pages for information about specific ingredients.
Are your products sustainable?
Sustainability is viewed as the most important component of skincare developed by Wekusko Wild. This starts at the ingredients and works through to packaging. Boreal botanicals are only harvested at times of the year where potency can be maximized and damage is minimized. Only healthy plant populations are used for materials, and each individual plant is never stripped of what it needs to survive and produce seed for the following year. In terms of other natural ingredients used, they are sourced from reputable companies who ensure environmentally ethical production and harvesting methods with fair trade practices that ensure appropriate payment is made for these materials. Sustainability is one of the reasons that essential oils are not included, since the enormous amounts of native plant material necessary are often not something that the environment can handle and replace for future use. Packaging is also important, and Wekusko Wild sources containers that can be reused, recycled, or composted. Plastics are avoided as much as possible, but when they are needed (treatment pumps for example), only BPA-free and recyclable products are used. Products are also created in very small batches so waste is minimized. Skincare should only provide lasting benefits to your skin and not a lasting imprint on the environment and our resources.
Are your products tested?
As per Health Canada guidelines, independent or laboratory testing is not required for all-natural cosmetic-grade formulations unless they will be ingested and then considered a 'food & drug'. All Wekusko Wild products, including ingredients, have been screened against the Health Canada cosmetics database and filed with them prior to public sale and distribution. This is a Canadian requirement, and one you should watch for when purchasing any all-natural skincare products. It is, however, critical to me that I create safe and EFFECTIVE formulas. I personally use all products myself, daily, for a minimum of 2 weeks prior to release. I have combination skin, and am prone to minor rashes or hives when exposed to something my skin doesn't like. I also enlist a few friends with varying skin types including oily/acne prone, dry, normal, very sensitive or allergic and eczema prone. Your skin is unique - so if you experience irritation, discontinue use and please let me know. As with any skincare product, these natural formulas are used at your own risk, and Wekusko Wild cannot take any responsibility for reactions that may occur.
Are your products vegan and safe for all skin types?
Wekusko Wild products are vegan-friendly and contain plant-based ingredients, however, some do contain organic Canadian beeswax which is an animal product. Please check ingredients listed to determine what you are comfortable with. Yes, my formulas are intended to be safe for even the most sensitive skin. As with any new herbal skincare product, it is best to do a test on your forearm (a sensitive skin area) before use. If you ever experience a reaction to one of the products, please discontinue use immediately and contact me so I am aware. If you are new to herbal skincare, there is a small chance that some plant compounds may be reactive on your skin. If this ever occurs, it should be very mild and temporary as formulas are not concentrated to commercial levels. Ingredients are provided on this site and also product packaging labels, so please look for anything that may be a concern to you before using.
What steps do you take to make your products 'safe'?
Plant materials are gathered in the wilds of the bush so do not require washing beyond cleaning of roots or other parts to eliminate soils. I do not collect from areas where pesticides or other substances may be used or where land use practices may degrade soil quality and plant health. They are then stored appropriately. Additional ingredients are purchased from reputable distributors and are received sealed and in sanitary condition. Preparation, processing and packaging are done in my home in a designated space that is cleaned and sanitized regularly. All equipment and packaging is sterilized before filling, and containers are fitted with a tamper-evident shrink seal so you know they have not been opened since packaging. As noted in the section about preservatives, balms and ointments are stabilized to increase shelf life, and all products containing any water are preserved to eliminate the growth of bacteria, mould or yeast, with an effective and ECOCERT approved all-natural preservative. Your skin is unique - so if you experience irritation, discontinue use and please let me know. As with any skincare product, these natural formulas are used at your own risk, and Wekusko Wild cannot take any responsibility for reactions that may occur.
Tell me about your packaging?
Wekusko Wild utilizes recyclable and environmentally responsible packaging. Lip and other stick balms feature plastic-free paper tubes that are compostable and degradable. Balms and creams are packaged in metal tins or photo-protective tinted/opaque glass jars that are perfect for reuse as containers for small items or spices. Plastics are avoided to the extent possible.
Can men use these products?
YES! Wekusko Wild skincare is for anyone and everyone. Products, packaging, and labels are intended to be gender-neutral with the exception of Goose Bay Facial Serum for men.
How should I store my products and will they expire?
To maximize the shelf life of your products, store them in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight, heat and excess moisture. Balms and ointments will safely last up to 2 years (or longer) while lotions, creams and serums should be used within 1 year of opening. Try to use clean and dry fingers when taking product from jars as this reduces contamination.
Are you licensed?
While no license or permit is required in my province to gather non-wood forestry products, I am educated (Bachelor of Science degree University of Regina, Master of Science degree University of Guelph) and trained as a registered professional biologist/botanist and have been studying boreal plants most of my career. I maintain 2 jurisdictional business licenses, and as a federal government requirement all Wekusko Wild products, including ingredients, have been screened against the Health Canada cosmetics database and filed prior to public sale and distribution. I have studied formulating, and am a professional member in good standing with the Handcrafted Bath & Body Guild of Canada.