I started making skincare to treat my own very dry skin.
I grew up on a farm in rural Manitoba, and the winters were harsh on my skin.
Dry, cracked, bleeding hands.
Red, itchy and irritated skin.
Flaking skin around my nose, mouth and forehead, that couldn’t be covered up with makeup.
Cracked dry lips that always hurt.
Embarrassing, frustrating and painful.
I didn’t experience relief from dry skin until I started making my own skincare.
Nothing felt heavy enough. I needed a barrier. Things absorbed too quickly, or not quickly enough, or just left a big greasy mess. Creams and lotions seemed to make my skin even more dehydrated and irritated. And I was always itchy.
I wanted immediate relief and nothing I tried seemed to help.
I made my first skincare recipe on February 25, 2013, after a trip home to Manitoba for Christmas left my skin feeling overly dry.
I made a rich body butter with raw shea butter, cocoa butter, virgin coconut oil and hemp seed oil, adapted from a recipe I found on the internet. I added various essential oils, including lavender and patchouli.
It was rich, creamy and soothing.
A bit greasy, but good for my first try.
I kept practising.
My first blends were intended for my husband David - he had chronic pain in his shoulders due to multiple surgeries, and needed something safe for pain relief.
David was a part of the early medical cannabis program (MMAR) in Canada and he had a personal production license to grow cannabis plants. I was lucky to have access to cannabis to practice my skincare formulas.
At the time, I was a gut researcher, five years into my PhD in Experimental Medicine at the University of British Columbia, and living in Metro Vancouver.
Making skincare products was a natural fit for me, as I got to apply my skill set and background in food and recipe development, health and nutrition, and inflammatory bowel disease research.
The skin is kind of like the gut turned inside out.
Similar to our gut lining - our skin is living tissue that needs essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients to strengthen and repair the epithelial barrier and protect us against environmental damage.
When we have these key nutrients, our skin can be smooth, supple, moisturized and healthy.
2013-2015: Functional Blends Organic Skincare
In 2013, I started a blog called Functional Blends Organic Skincare.
As I learnt about new plant ingredients I would do a literature review and write about my findings on my WordPress site.
I wrote blogs about carrier oils (sunflower, perilla, hemp, etc.), essential oils (sweet orange, lavender, vetiver, etc.) and other natural ingredients (beeswax, vinegar, etc.) used to make skincare.
I started making and selling personalized products for people in my network - balms, butters and oils for dry skin, eczema, psoriasis, acne, baby products, sun protection, and pain blends for osteoarthritis.
A few months in, my husband David, who has a MSc in Business, joined forces with me to help with packaging, labels, copywriting, and strategy.
We incorporated our business as Functional Blends Organic Skincare on October 23, 2014.
“Our Functional Blends are made using organic and wild-harvested plant oils, natural waxes, honey, herbs, flowers, roots and pure essential oils.
Our ingredients are chosen for their powerful skin care benefits and long history of safe and effective use. We use plants that are naturally rich in essential fatty acids, vitamins, antioxidants, prebiotic fibres and terpenoids.
These active nutrients have scientifically been shown to help:
- Reduce inflammation, redness and irritation
- Balance bacteria- encourage beneficial bacteria with prebiotic fibres
- Strengthen and repair skin barrier
Our skin care products do not contain any synthetic or artificial colours or fragrances, fillers, petroleum or mineral oil.
We do not test our products on animals.”
A few months after registering our company, we started playing around with the name Ryz Rémi - a blend of our last names.
We made the painful, but smart decision to rebrand everything.
Start from scratch.
New website, new copy, new packaging, new labels, new focus.
It was time to get serious.
2015 - 2017: Ryz Rémi Organic Skincare
In 2015, we launched our new website on Shopify and started trading as Ryz Rémi Organic Skincare Vancouver.
Ryz Rémi was a sustainable luxury brand, focused on anti-aging skincare.
We launched with 3 products:
- Day Balm Concentrate
- Honey Calming Mask
- Nutrient-Rich Elixir
Our Ryz Rémi brand and products were well received.
However, I decided to pause operations of Ryz Rémi in 2017 to take on a role as Chief Science Officer with Zenabis Global - a licensed producer of medical and recreational cannabis.
My goal was to eventually bring Ryz Rémi into the legal cannabis space to make and sell cannabis topicals.
2017-2020: CSO at Zenabis Global
Zenabis was a tremendous opportunity - I got to be a part of one of the largest legal cannabis scale ups in Canadian history, as we went from a small private company of 50 people to a large public company of 700+, with over 100,000 kg of licensed cannabis cultivation space with 4 licensed facilities across Canada, as well as international partnerships.
Zenabis was a dream job for me, and I am thankful for the experience and proud of the work my team accomplished.
Over 2 years, I built and led a team of 16 scientists, and oversaw analytics, extraction and product development in coast-to-coast facilities in Delta, BC and Atholville, NB.
My team brought 20 new products to market, including oil droppers, sprays, softgels and vapes.
I met some amazing people and I had the privilege of seemingly unlimited budgets, international travel, respect from my peers and support from my team.
But it was too much, too fast.
As the industry landscape shifted from excitement and fast growth, to mass layoffs and cutbacks, my dream job became something else.
As I watched several of my colleagues burn out, it didn’t occur that the same thing was happening to me.
It seemed as if literal life was being sucked out of people. It’s a total look - pale, ashen skin. Hair that stands on end. You notice it first in the eyes. Empty, sunken eyes, that dart back and forth, never really paying attention, but overly focused on everything. Checked out. The next signs are the health issues - headaches, gut aches, a constant cough that never seems to go away. Anxiety and depression over a never ending list of impossible things to do.
I left Zenabis in January 2020, and spent the rest of the year recovering from health issues, including migraines and debilitating dizzy spells.
As I started to heal, my passion started to return when I thought about my own business, and what I would do differently.
2020 - Relaunch Ryz Rémi?
My plan was to rebrand Ryz Rémi and focus on pain relief.
To be honest, the term “anti-aging” always made me feel uncomfortable.
As a woman who just turned 40, I am sensitive as to how “anti-aging” is used to scare women and make us hate ourselves, compete with each other, and spend money on products that may not actually do anything.
Don’t get me wrong- our products worked, they improved the health and appearance of skin. But the marketing of “anti-aging products” felt disingenuous to me. As the face of the business, it was also making me hyper aware of my looks, and made me feel insecure about getting older.
I believe aging is beautiful, and should be celebrated as such.
I do not want to perpetuate the myth that my self worth is tied to my looks.
As such, I was planning to rebrand Ryz Rémi to focus on pain relief and dry skin care.
I knew my formulas were effective, but something didn't feel right....
When I thought about the future of my business, the name 'Ryz Rémi' felt almost too personal... like I couldn't imagine selling it or giving up control.
Furthermore, my husband David was pursuing his career in cannabis, and didn't have time to re-build a skincare company with me.
And I wasn't quite ready to re-enter the cannabis space.
It was time for a change.
2021 - Dry Skin Love Skincare
In January 2021 we moved to Calgary, Alberta.
As I was exposed to the harsh prairie weather - my skin started hurting again, and I started thinking about dry skin treatments.
Dry skin is a seemingly simple condition that has a wide spectrum of symptoms - from mild dryness and flaking to severe itching, redness and pain.
I needed to learn more.
Over the next year, I decided to update my skills and I took advanced skincare formulation and business courses.
I started developing new skincare formulas aimed specifically at treating very dry skin.
I focused on ingredients to strengthen the skin barrier, calm redness, itching and irritation.
I obsessed about making skincare that was rich, nourishing and beautiful.
The name 'Dry Skin Love' came to me in a dream state.
I was taking a nap and thinking about how 'dry skin care' isn't good enough.
In order to heal, one needs something more...you need love.
Your dry skin needs love.
Dry Skin Love
I woke up, walked downstairs and bought the domain dryskinlove.com on September 9, 2021.
Dry Skin Love Inc was incorporated in Alberta, Canada on October 4, 2021.
My journey and experience has helped me develop a unique formulation style.
Why I Started Dry Skin Love
I started Dry Skin Love to create a luxury skincare experience for dry skin.
There are many beneficial products available for treating dry skin, but most have a lifeless, scentless, sterilized feel.
I wanted something that was effective, and also felt like a treat to use.
I wanted to create something that I looked forward to using. Something I craved.
I also wanted to create something that celebrated plants in all of their glory.
Natural, unrefined, minimally processed, organic and wild plants.
Big aromas, vibrant colors, rich textures and effective results.
High quality plant extracts will affect you unlike other ingredients. There is a difference compared to refined extracts, where the aroma, color, texture and nutrients have been stripped to make the plant easier to work with.
I hope you get to experience whole plants taking care of you.
Natasha 💗Dr. Natasha Ryz
Founder and CEO
Dry Skin Love Inc