The time of year has come when the amount of sunlight we get decreases significantly and, as a result, 30 to 40 per cent of Canadians do not have sufficient vitamin D levels! Pacific Northwest brand Aralea Beauty aims to help mitigate that issue, with its vitamin D-fortified lip balm. We chatted with founder Christina Louey about Sun Kiss Balm, and how it can help as we head into late fall and winter. —Noa Nichol
Please tell us a bit about yourself to start.
Before launching a wellness beauty brand, I worked in alternative investments out of Hong Kong. It was a jet-set life with gruelling work hours and little work-life balance. It took a global financial crisis and the subsequent layoff for me to jump off that speed train! Fast-forward to moving to Vancouver with three young kids in tow, I fell in love with the health-focused, balanced lifestyle here in the Pacific Northwest and immersed myself in learning more about nutrition and wellness. As a first-time brand founder, I finally feel true alignment with what I do—from a sense of purpose in offering value to our customers, to the creativity in my work and the connections I nurture with other entrepreneurs. As a mother of three, it takes constant practice to balance all of life’s demands. With ARALEA BEAUTY, I feel less trading time away from my kids as with a traditional job, but instead exemplifying to them what it takes to chart your own course. Oftentimes, the “girl boss” image may seem glamorous on social media with a latte and laptop. The reality for me is dynamic, always changing and often a juggling act, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!
When and why did you launch ARALEA BEAUTY? What niche were/are you aiming to fill?
The inspiration for nutritive beauty stems from the clean beauty movement that became mainstream during the last decade. The idea of removing “toxins” from our skincare and beauty products was captivating. I became motivated to go beyond simply eliminating harmful ingredients from our products to including beneficial ingredients and essential vitamins into the formulations. So I began my journey of discovery by enrolling in a beauty industry bootcamp, concocting formulations in my kitchen, finding formulators and small batch manufacturers and finally creating a multi-purpose lip care line that includes vitamin D, integrating nutritive benefits into an everyday product. The first iteration of ARALEA BEAUTY launched in February 2020 and relaunched in 2022 following the global pandemic when mask mandates slowly lifted and consumers returned to wearing lip care again. As the first nutritive beauty lip care line, ARALEA BEAUTY is blurring the lines between health supplements and personal care products. Our SUN KISS balm and tint can serve as both a wellness AND a beauty product. We design wellness beauty for the modern lifestyle because we believe our outer radiance begins with inner wellness.
What products do you currently offer, and what makes them unique?
We currently offer our line of SUN KISS TINTS in three buildable shades: coral, ruby and dahlia. Our hero product, SUN KISS BALM, is non-tinted and available in a sleek magnetic and compostable tube. Each tube of our lip care is formulated with two months’ daily recommended amount of organic, vegan vitamin D3. We chose vitamin D in particular for its importance in calcium absorption and essential to overall health. It is a fat-soluble vitamin that blends well with the oils of our lip products. In particular, our vitamin D3 is algae-derived, the most efficacious form of the vitamin that is also halal and vegan. Our core ingredients include six high-quality botanicals and oils. There’s intention behind each ingredient to help moisturize our lips so that they feel soft and supple without any heavy, waxy residue. Our lip balm glides on smoothly and is ultra-hydrating.
How can your SUN KISS BALM help us get through the grey days that we know are coming (or benefit us, physically/mentally, through the Canadian winter months)?
The design and thought behind our lip tube was a key part of our product development. Our sleek magnetic lip tube features four sun phases—sunrise, mid-day, sunset and night symbols. The design allows you to track your vitamin D boosts throughout the day, but also to cultivate a wellness beauty routine that is experiential. Each time you nourish your lips, you can take a deep breath to find stillness and reset. The peppermint essential oil feels absolutely refreshing as well. When I apply my lip balm, especially during those dark winter months, I like to close my eyes and visualize the sun that is ever present above the clouds and rain. When sunlight is scarce, it is comforting to know I can get the essential “sunshine” vitamin from my lip care. But note that our lip care is not just for the winter season. Due to our modern lifestyle, age, skin tone, and SPF use, our ability to maintain sufficient levels of vitamin D can be limited. Our SUN KISS lip care can be used year-round.
Beyond the product, what else makes your company/brand special?
Our brand is laser-focused. I believe there is elegance in simplicity. By being deliberate to start with one product line, I believe our brand can excel in doing one thing very well—which is making the best nutritive lip care possible. Sustainability is always at the heart of our decision-making. From our low-waste packaging to local manufacturers and production, we have made conscious and sustainable decisions when possible. We currently offer our SUN KISS BALM in a compostable lip tube that is made from a biodegradable, bamboo-composite material. We are exploring a partnership with TerraCycle to properly dispose of our magnetic tubes. Our digital footprint is mindful and rooted in community. Our digital marketer, Caylie Warkentin, has helped ground ARALEA BEAUTY to our brand ethos. As a woman-led brand, we strongly believe in supporting women creatives with blog features and monthly newsletters. Our commitment to the local community keeps us deeply connected with our work and surroundings.
Any other tips/tricks to alleviate SAD when the weather outside is frightful?
I experienced SAD (seasonal affective disorder) firsthand after moving from the tropical climate of Hong Kong to Vancouver. During my first winters here, I didn’t connect the dots to why I would feel down and tired until my naturopath told me about the connection between the lack of sunlight and low levels of vitamin D, and how my body had not acclimated to the winters here. I am not a medical doctor, so these tips are simply activities I have found to offer great personal comfort during the winter season:
- Going outside for walks even when it’s raining. I think physical movement is key to maintaining good health and mood, no matter what season.
- Making food and sharing it with family and friends. Especially when I crave carbs in the winter (interestingly, another symptom of SAD), I balance those cravings with recipes and ingredients that are nutrient-rich and high in vitamin D, like mushrooms and wild-caught salmon.
- Cozying up with a book and turning on the fireplace. Even the simple warmth and brightness of a candle can have a positive effect during those dark winter mornings and nights.
Win! 1 of 3 Aralea Full Sets!
Congrats Manon M. of St-Jacques, NB, Pnina L. of Thornhill, ON, and Lisa B. of Ottawa, ON, who will each receive a full set of four Aralea Beauty balms! Please note: if you are the winner, you will receive a DM (direct message) in Instagram directly from @vitadaily.ca. Please be wary of fake accounts, which often use similar handles with an extra or missing letter, number or symbol. We will never ask for a payment or for your credit card number, and we will never ask you to click through a link. If you are unsure whether you have been contacted, via Instagram, by us or a fake account, email us before responding.