The Benefits of Natural, Sustainable Beauty: An Interview with Local Entrepreneur Rina Clarke

Rina Clarke is a Laurier Alumna behind the Buck Na.ked Soap Company, a local business dedicated to natural skin care products and world wildlife sustainability efforts. I took some time to talk to her about her business, as well as a few of her natural beauty tips and tricks.

What did you major in at Laurier?

I majored in History and Canadian Studies.

Do you think your time at Laurier helped you with your business?

Yes, I think the overall experience helped. My Laurier experience helped me learn how to engage people. The company really focuses on personal relationships, and I feel that through academics as well as extracurriculars, like being part of Greek life, helped with that. Also, having a degree is extremely beneficial.

How did you come up with the idea to start a soap company?

When he was three months old, my son Elias started having bad reactions to regular baby products. The doctor recommended a steroid cream, however those make the skin even thinner which can be irreversible. I thought I could make my own soap and see if that would help, and it did.

How do you sell your soap?

We build a local client base, visiting St. Jacobs Market as often as possible. We are in the process of making our own website, however right now we are a part of 3 online stores. We are also in 4 retail stores and are hoping to expand.

What are the benefits of using natural skincare products?

Skin is thin and absorbs everything you put onto it, which then enters the bloodstream. If you are using traditional soaps with lots of chemicals, they are all entering your body. There are certain theories that parabens increase the risk of cancer as well as other diseases. Natural products don’t have any of those problems and are better for sensitive skin. Obviously you still need to make sure you aren’t allergic to any of the ingredients.

Is there a difference between the natural soap you should be using on your face as opposed to one for your body?

The skin on your face is thinner and more sensitive than the skin on the rest of your body. We have a Charcoal and Anise Soap that is great for oily skin. It unclogs pores and can therefore help reduce acne. We also have soaps that are more moisturizing for drier skin.

Tell me about your shampoo bars.

We have two: one is very moisturizing and the other, made from Rhassoul Clay, is for more oily hair.

How do you feel about the new ‘Shampoo Free’ movement?

I have mixed feelings about the no poo movement. I think it’s good if you are just doing it naturally, but certain things that are gaining popularity aren’t good for your hair, like using baking soda, which can cause breakage.

What is your best seller?

The Lavender and Rosemary Soap by far! Many of my customers are women and they love the scent. It’s very floral. The second best seller is the Himalayan Salt Soap.

Do you have any natural beauty tips?

I think avocado facemasks are really great, especially in the winter. All you need to do is mash up an avocado, then you can add some essential oils if you want. It’s very moisturizing, nourishing, and easy to make. Exfoliating is also very important; it removes dead skin cells and increases blood circulation. Blood circulation can help lots of things including healing. You shouldn’t exfoliate everyday as it strips the oils that you need, and oil is like a protective layer for your body.

What are some important aspects of your company?

We are more than just soap; we have a whole range of natural skincare products and we are constantly expanding. Also we are very committed to sustainability. We are working towards becoming Leaping Bunny certified by PETA which means that we are entirely animal friendly in our production and end result. We also use RSPO palm oil, which is sustainable and doesn’t destroy orangutans’ habitats. 1% of our profits are donated to the WWF to support sustainability efforts.

To take a look at all of Buck Na.ked Soap Company’s products, you can check them out at Storenvy, Ecohabitude, Etsy, or Truth Beauty Company  in uptown Waterloo next to the Princess Theatre.