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Canadian maker Matter Company harnesses the medicinal qualities of herbs and plants so we can treat our bodies better

Denise Williams founded Matter Company back in 1996, long before most of us were talking about wellness and self-care. She knew that there was a healthier, more effective, more natural way to nourish our skin and bodies. A certified therapeutic herbalist, Williams relied on her knowledge of the medicinal qualities of plants to start making her own products—initially skin salves and first-aid ointments formulated in her own kitchen, using all-natural ingredients such as shea butter, plant and herb extracts, and scented with aromatic essential oils. And without chemicals like parabens and petrolatum. Today, Matter Company offers a range of products from bath salts to body wash, all handmade in Canada.

Matter Company incorporates a host of powerful herb extracts in its products, such as comfrey, juniper and calendula, to name just a few.

The brand takes a solutions-oriented approach to development. When a friend who was pregnant wanted products safe to use on herself and new baby, Matter Company gave birth to its Mom & Baby line.

Matter skincare formulas are cooked in small batches for 24 hours to extract the herbs’ beneficial properties at the brand’s studio in Toronto’s West End.

The Matter: Outdoors line, aimed at hardcore gardeners, rock climbers and campers, was inspired by Williams herself, an ardent lover of getting her hands dirty.

"It’s both an internal and external experience," says Williams. "The products feel luxurious on the skin, but they also do something— they’re healthy for you."