Testing our hair care line on “Skindeep”

MontEcho_20130220_12_lowWe have just launched our new line of hair care. As we do not test on animals, we sent to products to our entire team at Mont Echo and their immediate families (parents, children, spouses, cousins, etc.) to try. Everyone was delighted with the results!

  • Men really like the shampoo and serum (occasionally), especially for dry and itchy scalps.
  • Mothers loved the shampoo and conditioner for children. While not tear-free formulas, both are gentle and work wonders on tangles.
  • All the women loved both the shampoo and conditioner, and many noted in particular the detangling and smoothing effects of the conditioner.
  • Serum use depended on the type of hair and hair health. For dry and brittle hair or hair damaged by chemicals or colours, users reported that it really nourishes and revitalizes. If you have fine hair, we find that you should leave in for less time and be sure to rinse well. Those with dry and course hair found that they did not need to rinse at all. After two or three treatments, the difference in hair smoothness and appearance was remarkable.

Testing for Safety

Skin Deep is a website that allows you to test cosmetics and their ingredients to know the potential dangers of use. I decided to do the test with our shampoo, our conditioner and our serum – and of course they all rated excellent! This is a great site to research your current and prospective care products’ ingredients. This is not a test for natural but rather a test of reported potential harmfulness. Natural ingredients can, of course, be dangerous and it is well worth considering this when shopping for products for you and your family.

The site: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep

This site rates on two factors: toxicity of ingredients (rated from 0 to 10, with 10 being toxic) and existing knowledge and research on each ingredient (color-coded)

Data: None

Data: Limited

Data: Fair

Data: Good

Data: Robust

All but 3 of our ingredients have a score of 0, which is the best and least dangerous. One received a score of 2 and two others received a score of 1. All scores are incredibly low on the scale and indicate no danger. All were green, with reliable data for confirmed their non-toxicity. This is an amazing achievement!

The only ingredient that is not rated on the site is “sodium lauryl glucose carboxylate”, which is a mild cleansing and foaming agent derived from coconut and corn. I wanted to be sure our customers get complete information, so here is an objective rating of the ingredient from another consumer guide called, “the Good Guide”:

Sodium lauryl glucose carboxylate raises no health concerns because:
  • It is not on any of GoodGuide’s lists of toxic chemicals which cause suspected or recognized health effects
  • It has not been detected in human tissue or urine
  • It is not a high production volume chemical that lacks safety data

So go ahead and indulge yourself with Mont Echo’s hair care and get healthier hair without risking your scalp!

Tips for Using the Facial Mask!

Do you know how to use Mont Echo’s Sea Buckthorn Facial Mask?

The mask is part of the protocol of clinical study that yielded spectacular results last year. Composed of s100% natural ingredients, the mask acts as both an effective scrub and a skin-smoothing mask. Used regularly, it naturally brightens the complexion and gently removes spots. Its vitamins nourish and provide unparalleled antioxidant protection. It soothes and softens irritated skin, and moisturizes and soothes sensitive skin.

To use as an exfoliating scrub, combine the mask in equal portions with cleansing cream and apply to the face for ten minutes. The mixture absorbs oil and begins to dry and crumble. Roll the mixture off your skin with your fingers. Dead skin cells are removed from the surface of the skin and your bright new skin is revealed! This scrub can be used 2 times a week followed by a tonic spray mist.

To use as a mask, mix the powder 1:1 with Age-Defence Cream, 1 spritz of Toning Mist and a add few drops of Age-Defence Serum for dry or mature skin. Apply to the face in a thick layer and leave for 20 minutes. Roll off and rinse with warm water. Follow with application of mist, serum and moisturizer as needed. For a a truly refreshing experience, refrigerate your Mist prior to final application

Satisfaction Guaranteed!

 

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CHFA Quebec a Major Success for Mont Echo!

The CHFA (Canadian Health Food Association) tradeshow, held at Place Bonaventure February 1st and 2nd  of 2013, was a resounding success. The expo was only open to professionals in the health food and health products industries.

We presented our line of Age-Defence beauty products and our new line of hair care. We heard so many positive comments and so much enthusiasm from our visitors, it was very exciting!

We expected fewer attendants than the same show which was held in Toronto in September 2012, but were thrilled to find that there were actually far more visitors at our booth.

Different pharmacy chains have visited as well as the larger natural food chains and stores and, much to our surprise, a chain of supermarkets. There is a real demand for beauty products made ​​in Quebec with a proven efficacy AND 100% natural ingredients. Mont Echo, being “100% Naturally Effective,” is exactly what consumers want today!
Congratulations to the entire team of Mont Echo.

Traceability in skin care products

Canadian Sea Buckthorn

Traceability has long been an important topic in the food industry. In today’s global economy, your fruit likely originated in South America and your sausage may have been made with pork sourced from multiple countries. With such a lot of distance between the farm and your table, people are becoming increasingly concerned about what they are putting in their body… Where was it grown? What was it exposed to while growing and while being transported? How far was it transported? Who has handled it and how?

Consumers have also begun to advocate for greater traceability in the ingredients of products they put on their bodies. The skin absorbs large quantities of whatever it comes into contact with – nutrients, minerals, vitamins… and poisons. It is so important to treat the outside of your body with the same care with which you treat the inside.

How do you ensure that the products you are using are free of harmful chemicals and truly 100% natural? Trace the origin of the ingredients. If you can trace the ingredient to the source, you can be sure that it is natural or naturally derived. That way you can be certain it hasn’t absorbed harmful environmental pollutants, like heavy metals, during the growing process – and you can be certain that the ingredient IS what it claims to be. Countries in Europe have recently created new legislation to deal with traceability and to protect consumers after several frauds were uncovered. It was discovered in France, for example, that there was quite a lot more “Sea Buckthorn oil” being sold than could possibly have been produced worldwide. We found that a bit scary. What kind of oil, exactly, was being sold? What other countries may have been affected? The moral of the story: trace your ingredient to the source so you aren’t taken advantage of by companies looking to capitalize on a hot trend.

Here are five tips for choosing natural, traceable skincare products for yourself and your family:

  1. Take the time to read labels and minimize your exposure to harmful chemicals. Look for locally-grown, sustainably-grown and cleanly-grown ingredients.
  2. Consider both the environment of the ingredient source and the transport required to bring the ingredient to the final processor. Many organically grown teas in Asia, for example, are sprayed with pesticides on the dock before being loaded onto ships for transport to North America. Many ingredients in heavily polluted parts of the world absorb heavy metals and other toxins no matter how carefully they are grown.
  3. Ask for proof. Is the company willing to share information about the source of its ingredients? There are many ingredients – particularly spices and exotic oils – that can only be sourced non-locally. And many exact ingredient locations are closely guarded secrets. But that does not mean the ingredient can’t be grown and handled according to the highest standards, and it doesn’t mean the company cannot share with you general information about the source.
  4. When you have a choice, support your local growers. Local ingredients have a small environmental footprint, travel shorter distances, and are generally handled by fewer processors. Organic is great, but local is better.
  5. Remember that natural does not mean hypoallergenic or non-irritating. Always patch-test new products on your skin – non-synthetic ingredients are not engineered by man to be hypoallergenic!

If you have questions about our products or how to use them, take advantage of our in-house esthetician, who will be available every Wednesday to answer all your questions. 1-888-640-2014

Committed to Canadian-grown Sea Buckthorn: Why Do We Care?

Sea Buckthorn has suddenly become the darling of natural ingredients. Town & Country magazine featured the fruit in an article entitled “Sea Buckthorn – The Groves of Eternal Youth.” Whole Living listed Sea Buckthorn as one of the Hottest Ingredients of the year. Dr. Oz touted Sea Buckthorn’s weight loss and skin care properties on his show multiple times. Marie Claire, Oxygen, Shape, and Lucky have trumpeted its virtues.

The only thing that disappoints us about all this great buzz is that folks seem to feel that they need to travel the globe to bring home great Sea Buckthorn. Of course, China and the Himalayas are exotic and lovely – but did you know that there is a whole community of local growers who are cultivating this “miracle berry” right in your backyard?

Beyond Skin Deep

We’re biased of course. Our motto is “Beyond Skin Deep,” meaning that we believe that true beauty comes from knowing that you are making the best choices for your body, your environment and your community. That means we believe strongly in supporting local farmers and in minimizing our environmental footprint by sourcing our ingredients from places that don’t require excessive shipping and processing steps. So we thought we would take a moment here to explain exactly why we were so determined to found Mont Echo Naturels as a 100% Canadian-grown Sea Buckthorn company when everyone else said it was impossible.

The Farmers

Sea Buckthorn farming is a family business for the founders of Mont Echo Naturels

We began as Sea Buckthorn growers ourselves and we were endlessly frustrated by companies – even Canadian companies! – that continually chose to bring in foreign Sea Buckthorn when there were farmers across Canada desperate to sell fruit. In many cases, farmers were forced to let their fruit die on the plant because it just wasn’t possible to compete with the bargain-basement prices of the mass growers overseas. This is an incredible waste of precious fruit! In fact, when we first started going to international Sea Buckthorn conferences, our plans to create products using Canadian-grown Sea Buckthorn were laughed out of the room as “impossible.” And yet here we are, just a few years later, purchasing massive volumes of fruit from our own farmers and producing some of the finest products on the market with it. All we had to do was start small, support the industry, and put our commitment to local farmers ahead of concern for profit.

The Environment

A plant is only as good as the environment its grown in. Our company is named after the mountain next to which our Sea Buckthorn dreams were born. Our orchards sit at the base of lovely Mont Echo in southern Quebec, on property which backs up to thousands of acres of pristine Nature Conservancy land. Our fruit doesn’t fall off the trees when gently shaken, as fruit at high altitudes does. Our fruit clings strongly to the branches – even through winter if not picked. Like the land around it, our fruit is beautiful and bountiful and robust. And as our fruit requirements grew beyond what our farms could produce, we traveled across Quebec, the Maritimes and the Prairies to seek out similar sources of fruit. Why do we care so much? Because a plant cultivated organically in the rich lands of beautiful, natural Canada breathes clean air, drinks clean water and grows in clean soil. And it turns all these pure elements into clean, pure oils. And that’s the kind of oil we want in our products.

Knowing Your Source AND your Process

One of the other reasons we love to focus on Canadian fruit is that it gives us the opportunity to be innovators. Unlike other companies, we do all of our ingredient extraction ourselves, right here in Quebec. Sea Buckthorn oils are very difficult to extract and even small changes in temperature during the processing can have a large impact on the quality of nutrients in the oil. Because we know and control the source AND the process, we have the chance to make sure every drop of oil, floral water and powder we produce is as good and as pure as it can be. And we can experiment endlessly to produce new natural ingredients that utilize every part of the plant.

Spring is approaching here in southern Quebec and we’re looking forward to it after a long, icy winter. Our family farms are gearing up for another growing season and the company is also going to grow this year – new equipment, new products and new sales outlets are in the works to compliment our newly redesigned website! Come grow with us and take advantage of all the benefit that only Canadian-grown Sea Buckthorn can offer.

Personal Experiences with Mont Echo Skincare II

People of all ages and skin types have written to us to tell us about their experiences with Mont Echo Sea Buckthorn Skincare. A few weeks ago, we shared the story of a 30-something with problematic skin, and this week we’d like to share two more personal skincare stories. And if you’ve tried our products, we’d love to hear from you too! Just send us an email at argousier@mont-echo.com

Sex: Male

Age: 67

Skin type: Normal

Concerns: Grover’s Disease (transient acantholytic dermatosis)

I’ve never had any issues with my skin until the past year, when I suddenly started getting an itchy rash of red spots on my torso—mostly on my back. I had never experienced anything like it before, and I went to the dermatologist right away to have it checked out. He examined the rash, took a biopsy, and soon I had my diagnosis: Grover’s Disease, or transient acantholytic dermatosis. He told me it’s a condition most often found in older men, and is characterized by sudden outbreaks of itchy red spots. The cause is unknown. He prescribed me some topical cortisone creams to help control the outbreaks and relieve the itching.

Unfortunately, the cortisone creams didn’t do much. They’d help for a week or so, and then the rash would reappear just as bad or even worse than before. It was especially bad in the hot, sweaty summer months.

The Mont Echo Soothing Mist was recommended to me by a friend. I was told it was very soothing and anti-inflammatory, great for skin conditions, sunburn, and bug bites. I gave it a try and the results were almost immediate. I use the spray liberally morning and night on my face, body, and especially my back. It helps relieve the itching and clear the outbreak. I’ve found that it’s really the only thing that works on my Grover’s Disease. Thanks for your great products.

Sex: Female

Age: 58

Skin type: Dry, oily T-zone

Concerns: Wrinkles, redness, blotchiness, uneven skin tone

I love all the products.  My doctor actually noticed a big improvement with my skin tone after I started using them.  I use the cleanser, the soothing mist, the facial serum, and the moisturizer twice daily, morning and night.  And then the mask/ scrub once a week.  Also I rub the oil on my nails and the results are amazing to me.  It seems to make my nails stronger and also makes them grow faster.  I’ve actually never been able to grow my nails before.

DISCLAIMER The information offered by Mont Echo Naturels is not intended to replace, in any way, the medical advice that can be provided by a physician or other medical professional. Please consult your physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.

Mont Echo Naturels Wins Gala Excellence Award!

Mont Echo Naturels has been awarded the Gala Excellence Brome-Missisquoi Award 2011 in the category of Manufacturing (1 – 10 employees) by the Chamber of Commerce of Cowansville and the Region. The award was accepted by Mont Echo Naturels co-founder and CEO Brad Johnson and Mont Echo office and boutique manager Cindy Cleary at the awards banquet at the Chateau Bromont on November 12, 2011.

The Gala Excellence Brome-Missisquoi is a biennial competition recognizing excellence in local business. The competition is comprised of 15 prize categories representing various regional industries and businesses. Nominees in each category were announced in October, and the winners were selected by a grand jury in November.

“We are honored and thrilled to have been recognized by our local business community,” states Johnson. “We pride ourselves on being a community-conscious and locally-oriented company, so winning this award really means a lot to us.”

For more information about Mont Echo Naturels, please visit out website at www.mont-echo.com.

For more information about the Gala Excellence and a full list of the nominees, please visit: http://www.chambre-cowansville.com/gala-excellence/nominees-2011/

A Taste of the Harvest Festival!

It’s the last weekend of the Mont Echo Sea Buckthorn Harvest Festival – don’t miss your opportunity to taste the delicious special Sea Buckthorn menu items offered by the restaurants of Knowlton, available through August 28th!

Le Relais’ table d’hôte has received rave reviews – we especially enjoyed the Brome Lake Duck with Sea Buckthorn glaze, Mussels with Tequila & Sea Buckthorn, and the Pork Tenderloin with Ice Cider & Sea Buckthorn sauce. Star Café has brought back last year’s popular Sea Buckthorn & Goat Cheese bruschetta, while L’Écho des Saveurs has a refreshing Sea Buckthorn smoothie for the last days of summer. The Sea Buckthorn & Chocolate fudge at La Vie Sucrée is a unique sweet treat for chocolate lovers. Diners at Knowlton Marina can taste Sea Buckthorn vinaigrette on their salads dock-side and CafÉ Floral is offering a constantly changing selection of savoury and sweet Sea Buckthorn-inspired dishes all day – including Sea Buckthorn, Pumpkin and Sweet Potato soup – yum!

Le Relais
286 ch Knowlton, Knowlton
Lunch, Dinner; Sea Buckthorn Lunch menu items, Full table d’hôte featuring Sea Buckthorn

Star CafÉ
291a rue Knowlton, Knowlton
Lunch; Goat cheese and sea buckthorn bruschetta

CafÉ Floral
Lakeside, Knowlton
Breakfast, Lunch, Snack ; Muffin, soup, salad, fish, poultry and much more

L’Écho des Saveurs
5 Mont Écho, Lac Brôme
Snack, Lunch; Sea Buckthorn smoothies and lunch menu items

La Vie Sucrée
30 Lakeside, Knowlton
Snack; Chocolate Sea Buckthorn fudge

Knowlton Marina
78 Benoit, Knowlton
Lunch, Dinner; Sea Buckthorn salad dressing

Harvest Festival, Week 1 Highlights!

The 2nd Mont Echo Sea Buckthorn Harvest Festival is well underway and the response has been amazing so far! People have been arriving from all over, excited to try the products, meet the trees and learn something new.

Tours are as usual at the heart of the Festival. Running 4 days a week (Tuesdays, Thursday, Saturdays, Sundays and for large groups by appointment), the tours have been full and lively! Visitors are brought from the Boutique in Knowlton out to a small, private production orchard in picturesque Sutton to learn more about the history, cultivation and uses of Sea Buckthorn. This year we’ve hosted families, potential growers, curious tourists – and even a bride with her wedding party! For a small fee, visitors can even fill a bag with berries and experience a true harvest moment. For all those who are contemplating a tour, please call us at 450.243.5777 to reserve a place and be sure to arrive at the Boutique at 12:45 on the day of your tour. You’ll be given a map and information before departing the parking lot with your guide.

Skin care education is an integral part of everything we do here at Mont Echo, and our in-house esthetician Véronique Picard has been fabulous on her consultation and spa treatment days at the Boutique (Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays). The mini-facial has gotten rave reviews and her consults are always personalized and effective. Véronique is on the floor to speak with customers between 11 and 3 (and later, depending on spa appointments) on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays and available for mini-facials at the Boutique by appointment (450-243-5777).

Last, but certainly not least, the restaurants participating in the Festival continue to deliver delicious, inspired Sea Buckthorn dishes to patrons. Just this week, my family and I enjoyed Chocolate Sea Buckthorn Fudge at La Vie Sucree; Sea Buckthorn, Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Soup and Tortellini with Sea Buckthorn & Ginger at Café Floral; and an array of Sea Buckthorn-inspired specials at Le Relais including Mussels with Tequila & Sea Buckthorn, Salmon with Sea Buckthorn & Goat Cheese, Duck with Sea Buckthorn & Carmelized Onions and Cheesecake with Sea Buckthorn Coulis. Everything was absolutely delicious! We are looking forward to visiting Star Café, Brie & Cie, the Knowlton Marina and L’Echo des Saveurs next!!

Harvest Festival continues at Mont Echo through August 28th; visit www.festivalmontecho.com for more information.

Harvest Festival 2011: Mont Echo is getting ready!

The 2011 Sea Buckthorn Harvest Festival is almost upon us! The berries on the trees are turning from green to bright orange, the spa room is under construction, we are stocking up on products and local restaurants are experimenting with flavours. We are looking forward to hosting everyone for the Festival from AUgust 13-28 this year in Lac-Brome (Knowlton) and Sutton, Quebec. To get everyone excited, we’re reposting some photos from last year’s event, which was a huge success. Remember to visit www.festivalmontecho.com for details to to sign up for tours and facials ASAP as space is limited!

HARVEST FESTIVAL PHOTO GALLERY