Going Back to Nature | Lane Edwards of Pura Botanicals

Author: Fiona Dempsey

Pura Botanicals Founder Lane Edwards harnesses the power of nature, not only to help women around the world achieve beautiful skin, but to revolutionize the toxin-filled beauty industry one bottle at a time. The passionate beauty guru sits down with MISSBISH to talk about the importance of caring for Mother Earth, healing our skin from the inside out, and some of her personal favorites by Pura...

You’re all about natural, skin-friendly ingredients, what got you into that?
I grew up with a mother who was really into natural, holistic therapies and nutrition. So I think when you learn from a young age how beneficial it can be to take care of yourself from the inside out, it shapes who you’re going to become as an adult. My mum was also really into her beauty rituals - you know, she would take those long soaks in beautiful oils and I would sit on the edge of the bath and chat with her while she put on her mud mask and indulge in all sorts of beauty rituals. I think that was her time for herself, to feel rejuvenated as a woman. We live such busy lifestyles, all of us, especially as mothers. So to take the ten, fifteen, even five minutes we need to give to ourselves, to feel a sense of femininity, and to be in touch with our own womanhood is so important.

How did you create your brand out of this passion you have?
I travelled a lot in my early twenties, I was living in Australia at the time and I started studying aromatherapy and the native Australian bush flower essences. It opened up a whole new world to me in regards to beauty products. I was pregnant with my first baby, and I became ultra sensitive to all of my traditional beauty products because our sense of smell is so elevated during pregnancy. All I could smell were the chemicals and synthetic ingredients. I started to do a lot of research and found that beauty products are actually very toxic. I really think beauty products, as they’re something we use every day, should be pure and natural. There is this misconception, especially when it comes to skincare, that pure and natural products aren’t as effective. That’s something I really feel strongly about, because they're extremely effective and powerful. Chemicals essentially harm us, while natural ingredients enhance our natural beauty.

You’re extremely earth-friendly as well, why is this so important to you?
I grew up with a natural appreciation for preserving the earth; I love nature, I love animals, and I have three children. I want them to understand the value of preserving the earth and looking after it, and treating the earth as our own child in a sense. I think that there’s so much that’s put into the world, especially in regards to beauty products, and we want to make sure that what we’re creating is carbon neutral and isn’t going to add to the pollution that already exists. From our packaging to the ink we use, to how we operate here at Pura, doing things by hand, we really try and leave as small a carbon footprint as possible. At the end of the day, it comes from an innate deep respect and love for the earth and all its creatures.

You would have been happy to see the new law passing in the US banning micro-beads in face-wash, what do you think should be the next natural step for big brands?
I think big brands have a long way to go. I think a lot of people are paying for very cheap chemicals that are really of no value to you or the earth. I think women have to advocate it - if we all demand clean beauty and choose to buy products that we know are good for the earth, it will at least help the demand for clean beauty. We can’t support the big companies. If we do, they’ll just continue as they do.

All of your products are hand-made, can you describe the process?
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always been passionate about the power of creation. There’s something liberating and deeply meditative about using your hands to create something from scratch. It feels good, and I think people who do it create products that elevate the world’s appreciation for beauty. With Pura, we don’t need big machines to make our beauty products - we use such a great variety of ingredients that we’re able to mix by hand. We source our ingredients from all over the world, we work with as many Canadian farmers as possible, and so much of it is done by hand from making it, to bottling it, to putting a label on it and shipping it off... I just feel like it’s such an authentic way to do something.

How do you make the products? Is it different each time?
It completely depends on the product; we have 23 products right now and growing. It also depends on whether it’s a cream or oil. We use different butters and oils that are either liquid or solid; for example, coconut oil is actually solid. We also use all sorts of powders - watermelon extract is a powder, silk peptides is a powder - that’s why we have our professional kitchen aid back there that whips everything up for us.

What would be your favorite skincare product?
For skincare, our most unique product is the watermelon mud mask. Usually a mask is a clay-based product so it dries, it cracks, its very clarifying, but it can also be very drying and with our climate during the winter months, we all seem to suffer from this dry skin. Essentially you put it on and it’s creamy and it feels a little bit different from a face cream, but you sleep in it and when you wake up, your skin is plump and dewy and hydrated. It’s really high in essential fatty acids, vitamin c and natural silk peptides and all sorts of oils that are wonderful for your skin. But, I’m so passionate about all of our products, I love the Neroli Eye Ritual, I love the Desire Mist, the Night Cocoon with turmeric and pomegranate oil is to-die-for, we have different essential oil blends like Marshmallow Guru which is just fun for bed, bath and body.

What would be some skincare faux pas people make?
I think taking off your make up every night before bed is really important. Our skin heals the most while we sleep, so we need to give it the opportunity to be clean and to breathe. Not only that, but when you don’t remove your make up, you're obviously not hydrating and hydration is so important, not only externally but internally. When I look at someone’s skin, we also talk about things like; are Are you drinking enough water? Are you getting your omega fish oils? All those things matter. Topically you can only do so much for your skin. Skincare is powerful, but how we’re living day to day is also really powerful as well, skincare is going to enhance and look after you, but at the same time what we’re putting in our body is also really important.

What is the hardest thing about making all-natural skincare?

It’s helping women understand that you don’t need chemicals to slow down the aging process, you don’t need to spend $120 on something just to get the results your looking for. Natural ingredients are powerful and I think that the hardest thing is just changing a little bit of the perspective of  beauty. Also, I really try not to use the word anti-aging because as women, as human beings, we are going to age, and I think skincare should be more about looking after yourself and enhancing your natural beauty and helping to restore the skin. I would rather have a really beautiful face oil than a face full of fillers. As women, we need to embrace ourselves and our natural beauty, and skincare as a ritualistic process that can really help us feel wonderful about who we are.

“Skincare is powerful, but how we’re living day to day is also really powerful as well, skincare is going to enhance and look after you but at the same time what we’re putting in our body is also really important."

Running a business is hard work. How do you relax?
It is hard work! I think social media is interesting, it's really changed how business is done, especially for women because women are using it far more than men and it's amazing because our reach is so international. We’re all forging these relationships on social media, but at the same time, appearances are different. People don’t always see the dedication and commitment behind the brand, they just see sort of the magic that’s on social media. It takes a lot of discipline and hard work and a huge amount of self-assurance that what you have created is worthwhile. You have to drive it forward every single day and you need to understand the strengths that you lack, and you need to surround yourself with people who can support you. It just takes an immense amount of courage to run a business. You have to make sure that your vision and your brand is a really clear story and an identity for other people to connect with. I don’t think it’s about big box brands anymore, I think people want to know who the founder is and they want to know the story, they want to know the people who are creating their skincare and making it. I think women especially are so conscious, more conscious than they’ve ever been, and to create something that matters and is actually making a difference, I think that really comes through in every bottle that walks out of here. I also think that as a woman, you sometimes feel bad about being a perfectionist. I did so growing up. I would think ‘not everything always has to be perfect’, but I think when you have your own business, nothing can be mediocre. If your going to do it you have to do it well, and if you don’t have the skills in certain areas, you really have to surround yourself with people who are going to support you and help you.

What would you want to see for Pura’s future?
I would love to see Pura and other companies like Pura, that have so much value in using really amazing natural ingredients, in every woman’s bathroom and beauty cabinet. I want to create a legacy here where I can help women elevate their sense of wellness, health and self-esteem, through using products that are truly nourishing. I love companies that are multi-generational, and I hope to think that I’m building the foundation for Pura, that it’s going to be around for a long time. As for different avenues in Pura, we’re working on creating a founders' assembly for other women in business here in Edmonton, to support women who are getting things off the ground that they feel really passionate about. I feel an enormous amount of support in our community, and I think women really need to help each other. We need each other, and I think that is the spirit behind Pura. I hope that I’m looking after women in my own way, I’m looking after their health so they can be grandmothers, I’m just so passionate about that.

MISSBISH believes in a balanced life, how do you maintain balance?
I feel like with three kids, I have to be really conscious of how quickly balance can be out of balance, and with having a business, all sorts of events and opportunities arise on my weeknights and on my weekends. You have to create boundaries and learn to say no. I have to choose how I spend my free time very wisely because it can be out of balance very quickly, so my number one priority is being a mother, but at the same time running a business that is hopefully very successful. I’ve taught yoga for a very long time, and I feel like that helps me with my balance - to mediate, get into a flow sequence, even if it’s for five minutes and there’s a child crawling underneath me and on top of me, just to understand that those five minutes are going to make a difference in my day. I love to get outdoors, I feel like a connection with nature keeps me in balance.

What are three-hidden gems in Edmonton?
I love 124th street! I love supporting local businesses. I’ve shopped on 124th since I was a little girl and it was a place where my mother would take us to, it's really special.

I love the markets in Edmonton; I wish I could get to them more often for fresh fruits and vegetables, locally made treats and preserves. The 124th street market is amazing, also the Strathcona Market. I love taking my kids there, it’s a much richer shopping experience versus taking them to Safeway. It’s a family outing which I think is really fun, where you get to interact with people who are actually growing their food. I think that’s really cool.

I love the parks in Edmonton; I think they’re awesome, like Hawrelak Park and the River Valley. The River Valley is like this majestic little getaway, and I think it’s so much fun to be active with your family.

What does MISSBISH mean to you?
I think success is determined by truly knowing who you are as a woman; if you know who you are as a woman, you will be successful. To have trust in yourself that what you're doing matters, is going to lead to great things.

Photos by: Brianne Jang

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