As a little spin-off from my Beauty Shopping in the Netherlands series, I’d like to share with you my visit to a lovely store in Amsterdam a couple of weeks ago. My interest was first piqued when I read about the opening of this “eco-luxury” beauty store and salon on the internet and so, when time permitted, my husband and I went off to pay it a visit.
Note: This visit was made on my own initiative and at my own cost.
I introduce to you C. Cosmetics and Care, a store with a purpose and a very elegant and inviting interior, I might add. Once inside on the ground floor, you’d see on the left a vertical stretch of green leafy wall (literally!) spanning both the ground floor and the basement level. On the right is a huge white wall dotted with display caverns. Further in, there is a long wall covered with an imposing wall hanging, but it's not just any wall hanging, mind you. It's a Claudy Jongstra felted wool wall piece that is hand-made and has been coloured with botanical dyes. Impressive!
Below that are the minimalistic and stylish wooden display platforms for its products. On the left, facing the product displays are two treatment rooms. On the basement level, there are two more treatment rooms, one of which is for massages.
I was fortunate enough to have met the owner of the store, a young lady named Caroline van Eeuwijk. She was kind enough to have an impromptu conversation with me about her month-old store and give me permission to take some pictures of the interior (always handy to have my little camera in my bag!).
Caroline is a lawyer by training but after practising law for a few years, she felt that law was perhaps not her calling after all. She also explained that when she was seventeen, she had suffered an allergy and since then, she has been very health-conscious and has been educating herself about good nutrition and taking good care of her skin and body.
She took a break after she left her job as a lawyer in the middle of last year and after careful deliberation, she decided to take a different career path, one combining her interest in health and personal care, and running a business involving beauty. In the seven months leading up to the opening of C. Cosmetics and Care in early February this year, she was kept busy with research, product sourcing and, of course, finding the right location for her store and salon. She also roped in Olga Zesjkova to be her full-time beauty specialist for the facial treatment services offered at C. There are also two other part-time staff, one of whom is a masseur, and the other for pedicure treatments. Olga and one of the part-time staff were present during our visit and I must say they were both very friendly too. In fact, Olga spent some time with us providing explanation on some of their products.
The tagline of C. Cosmetics and Care is simple: Nothing but natural ingredients. All the products sold and used at C. are made from natural ingredients (with a small exception of the fluid makeup products of freshMinerals) and as much as possible, from organic sources. And so it follows that you won’t find mineral oils in the ingredients of these products and many carry certifications from ECOCERT (a control and certification body for organic products) and the UK-based Soil Association (which monitors the organic farming sector). Taking the ethos even further, Caroline has also consciously chosen brands that are environmentally friendly where packaging is concerned: bio-degradable, recyclable and/or re-usable.
The brands currently available at C. Cosmetics and Care are:
• SheerinO’kho – a French brand of environment responsive skincare
• Dr. Alkaitis Therapeutic Skin Food – “If you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin.” says creator and research scientist Dr Saul Alkaitis.
• Sophyto Organic Skin Care – a professional grade certified organic skincare range
• Doll Face Natural Beauty Cocktails – “Tested on starlets, not on animals”, cruelty-free and biodegradable skincare range
• Happy Future – natural baby care range made with no traces of nuts or nut derivatives
• Naturelle d’Argan – a French organic skincare range with argan oil
• Dr. Baumann Cosmetic – a German skincare range using skin-identical lipids and ingredients, liposomes and vitamins
• Pure Altitude by Fermes de Marie – an exclusive French organic skincare line made from extracts of mountain plants
• Andrea Garland – all-natural balms housed in vintage compacts
• freshMinerals make-up
• Valeur Absolue parfums – perfumes based on essential oils and harnessing the powers of precious stones
• Alqvimia oils – premium quality essential oils from Spain for aromatherapy massages
• SpaRitual nail polishes – explained previously here
The nail polish that I featured recently from SpaRitual, I Feel The Earth Move, was purchased from C. Cosmetics and Care.
Over a cup of tea (organic, of course!), Caroline explained briefly the services offered at the salon. It ranges from a basic facial using Dr Baumann products to a luxurious extensive one using the Dr Alkaitis products (Dr Alkaitis Skin Food Facial) or Pure Altitude products. Other services include waxing, manicures, pedicures and massages. Charges range from €5 for nail polishing to €105 for the Dr Alkaitis Skin Food Facial. Every treatment, be it for facial or for special treatments like permanent hair removal and intensive peeling, begins with a 15-minute consultation to establish the skin type, its health and its problems.
Caroline informed me that C.’s mission is to give good advice, good service and personal attention to every customer. Whilst wishing to advocate good, healthy skincare regime without depending on mineral oils and preservatives like parabens, amongst others, which can be damaging for the body, Caroline doesn’t believe in bluntly smothering customers with this philosophy though. The key is in educating. Mineral oils may seem to leave the skin feeling soft and help with elasticity but in reality, all they do is leave the skin suffocated and in a cycle of dependency. That’s why Caroline advocates using products made with natural ingredients and with a high concentration of active ingredients which not only have no damaging effects on the skin but can also aid cell regeneration.
I was given two business cards by Caroline but no, they weren’t any ordinary business cards.
The one on the left is a plantable card, in this case, it contains seeds for daisies. Just put the card in soil, add water and watch it grow! The one on the right is an edible card! You’re encouraged to eat it after reading.
C. Cosmetics and Care is located at 30a Herenstraat, 1015 CB Amsterdam. More information on its services and the brands offered can be found on the C. Cosmetics and Care website. Plans are afoot to have an online shop too.
I asked Caroline if C. stood for her name. She replied that it’s just a coincidence that her name starts with a ‘C’. More importantly, it stands for all things good and lovely in life that begin with ‘C’. That could be clean, clear, conscious and (she jokingly adds) also indulgences like chocolates, champagne and cocktails.
I’m thinking: cosy, chic and classy. How’s that for a few more C’s?
All images used belong to Witoxicity.