Art.27 is a beauty and wellness boutique focused on organics, natural ingredients, and ethically sourced labour and production. These aren't just buzz terms for owner Camelia Nicoara. In fact, so philosophically-driven is this former accessory designer that she named her new West Queen West shop after Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
"Everyone has the right freely to participate in cultural life of the community," it reads, both in the Declaration and on Art.27's wall, "to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits."
And that pretty much sums up Camelia's mantra. I meet her by the door of her sparkling white boutique and can't help but examine her face as we exchange introductions. This is a beauty shop, after all, and I'd be foolish not to take a scrutinizing look at the woman touting the benefits of her store's lotions and potions. I'd be more foolish, however, to take a gander at her age, but for whatever it was, her skin did look pretty great. She wore a clean face--no makeup, from what I could tell--and her skin was hydrated and glowing, a pretty good endorsement for what you'll find in Art.27.
The shops tiered shelves offer soaps, scrubs, bath and body lotions, all of which are organic and chemical-free. "I've always been a junky for products," Camelia says as she introduces me to some of her favourites, "but no one was offering anything like these."
All of the products at Art.27 are imported, most coming from France or nearby regions. One such company is Citizen Bio, which makes organic soaps without phenoxyethanol, phtalates, or other harmful chemicals in ironically noxious forms such as skulls, as well as innocuous roses and curled up kitties ($9-$54).
Camelia introduces me to Patyka products next; another organic French line with an anti-aging face serum ($79) she says is really popular in Paris. "The great thing about these products," she says, opening up a box of Patyka body wash ($49), "is the packing is so clean." She unfolds the purple box, then closes it right back up. "See? There's no glue. And the paper is recycled." The wash itself has a crisp, natural minty scent.
One of Camelia's choice products is her Calinesse lotion from Switzerland ($89), though she's quick to point out that since it's made with donkey's milk, it's not an ideal choice for vegans. "Of course, I have lots of other things I could recommend," she says.
And with several tiers of closely positioned little bottles, I know Camelia is not kidding. Her organics don't stop at beauty products, though, and also include a line of certified organic clothing from France. The clothing at the moment is limited to about four or five hanging items, though the owner says more will come in the next few weeks.
Also worth noting is that lines for men include products from 6630 and Tade, both from France. For babies there is lotion, cream, and body milk from Calinesse (a brand from Switzerland) all for $32. It all ties into Art.27's manta of clean, fair, natural beauty.
Photos by Jesse Milns