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It’s Monday. Let’s Do a Giveaway, Shall We? Enjoy a Visit to Ottawa’s Terra20!

So, yesterday, I started to tell you about my visit to the Ottawa store Terra20. My goal was to go in to the store and learn a bit more about commonly used chemicals in cosmetics, try out some of Terra20’s safer cosmetic brands, and then share it all with you.

At the Terra20 store, like most other large department stores, you are welcome to come in and receive a complimentary makeover. I’ve done this before at other makeup counters … Clinque, Mac, Estee Lauder. And now I would try out a line of cosmetics called Daniel Thompson Beauty. This product line is only available in select spas and retail stores, and Terra20 is one of them.

Daniel Thompson products

Daniel Thompson is a Canadian who hails from Toronto. On his website, it is noted that his collection is refined without using the following potential irritants: talc, oils, coal tar dyes, waxes or synthetic fragrances. He’s developed a high-end product on par with the likes of others in the industry, but he’s made a choice to be careful and transparent with his ingredient choices.

To start with, Krystal, who works in the cosmetics section of Terra20, applied a powder foundation. I was a tad skeptical because I’d heard that a cream foundation is better on skin of my vintage because powder accented wrinkles. But apparently, it is loose powder that accents the wrinkles rather than this type of powder, which is mineral-based. In the end, I was pleased with the look of the foundation powder. Plus, it is so much easier to apply that a liquid foundation!

makeover at Terra20
Next, she spent a bit of time trying to lighten the dark circles around my eyes … ha! Good luck with that! I’ve given up on trying to cover those up ages ago. She used what looked like a combination of a marker and a brush that applied a white liquid. Apparently the product is created using mika, which reflects the light. It is a pretty simple application process really — just dab the brush around the inner eyes. It did help, but only a little. Genetics is hard to fight!

Now, one interesting thing about these mineral-based products is that they are really versatile — you can use the same product as eyeshadow, blush, and even lip colour. Below is a shot of the colour palette that Krystal chose for me. I am naturally attracted to coppers and autumn colours, so this was all good with me.

One thing I’m kind of picky about it lipstick and lip gloss. I find I’m often turned off by the scent and taste of many lip glosses. I think this might have something to do with my gums being really sensitive, but regardless, I’ve tossed many an expensive lip gloss to the bin because I just couldn’t wear it. Happily, I didn’t notice any scent or taste with these glosses and the texture felt quite natural.

Daniel Thompson Beauty at Terra20

In the end, I think that my “after” shot does indeed look better than my “before” shot, but that wasn’t actually my goal. My goal was to find safer cosmetics that performed as well as my standard fare. I kept my makeup on until the end of the day and before washing my face that night, I took a good look. Everything had held up perfectly except for perhaps the creases in the eye shadow that had appeared. My face wasn’t shiny, the mascara was intact, and all looked as good as this ol’ face was gonna get!

Here is the mandatory awkward, close-up “after” shot of my face:

My conclusion? Yes! Safer cosmetics perform just as well, if not better, than their high-end equivalents at the department stores. I’m sold on switching over. But it won’t be an immediate switch … high-end makeup is expensive and I’ll be doing a transition over time.

To help me a long with my transition, Terra20 gave me a $50 gift certificate. But don’t worry, I got your back! They have also generously provided a $100 gift certificate for a giveaway!

One reader will win this $100 gift certificate by random draw next Monday. In order to win, please:

  • Be available to pick up your certificate from Terra20 within two weeks of winning.
  • Read this blog post and then leave a comment below telling me if you found any of the information surprising

Good luck!

P.S. The lucky winner from last Monday’s giveaway of a Blurb Book is Louise G! Congrats Louise! I’ll be in touch via email.

Edited to add: Guess what? Terra20 is thrilled with all of your interest in safer cosmetics and has offered another $50 gift certificate so that one more reader can have a chance to make the transition over to eco-products! So that means that I will randomly draw for a $100 gift certificate AND a $50 gift certificate! But, don’t forget to follow the instructions above, okay? 


  1. No surprises there for me, but I’ve been helping spread the word about Environmental Defence’s campaigns about toxins in make-up. I don’t wear any make-up myself, but I do love Terra20. :) 

  2. Oh Wow Julie, I’m so glad that you got to check out Terra20 – I hear it’s amazing…haven’t been yet myself but hoping to go very very soon!! It looks sooo cool. I didn’t know they had make up too!!! So many reasons to go and try now – that is so awesome! I would love to be able to get my every day products in an eco-friendly way and to try out some new ones too!!! Maybe they will be way better than what I’m using now. Thanks for the blog – for showing us all the store! Good luck to all the entrants and thanks to you soo much for having such a great contest! What are YOU spending your GC on!?!?! :) (p.s. I also follow you on twitter @Mandoo322) and FB (Amanda Huxley)

    • I’m following you on Twitter too! I’m really glad you enjoyed reading about this cosmetics quest. I spent my $50 already! (I bought Gillian Deacon’s book, a Shampoo and a Conditioner, and 2 pencils for my daughter!)

  3. I don’t normally wear makeup, so it is nice that Terra 20 has someone there who can help navigate the products. Most “health food” stores don’t have that. 

  4. You look so, so pretty!  I have really enjoyed seeing a lot of amazing products at Terra20 that I had previously only drooled over online.  I am a minimalist and use only moisturizer and lip balm, but I am CONFIDENT I can spend the $100 prize with ease!  That is a lot of safe, top quality products for my skin and lips!

  5. Love the look:-)!

    I was JUST talking about this place with my daughters!Wendy
    I had just read the article about lipstick.

    We are planning an outing to check Terra20 out. I’m sure we could blow that 100.00
    In a flash!
    Thanks for the opportunity!

  6. What a great review of some new eco cosmetics. Can’t wait to get into Terra20 to check them out for myself.

  7. A wonderful and informative post. It is quite scary to think of what we are putting on our faces. Going to drop by the store and look at some of the alternatives!

  8. It is shocking to me that a person will have been exposed to approximately 127 different chemicals by the time they walk out the door! Yikes – that is so scary, and something that most people never think about.

  9. Annie Boucher says:

    We must have just missed each other Saturday because I was in there looking at Daniel Thompson’s makeup as well! Krystal was very helpful to me, and I also received the 2 minute makeover. 

    Like you, switching over will have to be gradual and $100 would sure help me get started. 

  10. Gleason Deb says:

    Thanks for the info, I love Terra 20. Pretty surprised to read that some cosmetics have coal tar in them. Yikes.

  11. Thanks for the review!  I had been meaning to go there and when I do I’ll go check out the cosmetics because I’m always on the look out for safer cosmetics!

  12. The info in the blog isn’t surprising but it is scary! We’ve been making the transition to more natural products in our house!

  13. I didn’t know terra20 was carrying Daniel Thompson products – that is awesome. Friends in Toronto have been raving about them. Having read your post I definitely want to make the switch to more natural cosmetics. I am more than a little shocked to learn I’ve been putting coal tar on my face for years – yuck!

  14. Surprised how well the mika worked! Hmmm…Christmas…

  15. I’m not really surprised by the article either, but always shocked. I’ve not been wearing make up for almost a year now (except for extra special occasions) because I want to find the good stuff – looks like Daniel Thompson could be it!

  16. I was a little surprised to hear about tumors and parabens   ….  and I smeared it all over my body this morning.  Yuck.  I’m looking forward to checking out the store.

  17. Charlie Poon says:

    I’m not super surprised because i have looked into eco friendly products but Daniel Thompson’s line sounds like a must try! It should be interesting to see if they’re as effective as some of my other makeup products.


  18. I’m surprised that terra20 carries make-up! I guess it’s time to check out the store!

  19. I have been moving to natural cosmetics for a while now too. I too find that mineral-based foundation gives me better coverage. Terra20 is in a really handy location for me, it would be so handy to spend that $100 in a lunch hour. 

  20. Sounds like a new store to explore!

  21. Daniel Thompson says:

    I am so glad everyone is enjoying our creations – me and my team work very hard to make the best possible products we can.  I will be at Terra20 in person this week from 5:30 – 7:30 pm answering all your questions about cosmetics and formulations!

  22. Daniel Thompson says:

    Sorry 5:30 – 7:30 pm on Thursday night

  23. Not surprised.  An very excited to have a store like Terra20 so close to me.  Now I don’t have to go so far to get what I’m looking for!

  24. The amount of chemicals we are exposed to is nuts! The wife deserves to win this, she hasnt put on any makeup in 13 years! I think she would use it if she had it.

    • 13 years? Well, if I’d lived without makeup for 13 years, I certainly wouldn’t go back to using it! Good for her! (But she can surely enjoy all of the body and hair care products with this gift certificate!) 

  25. Hi Julie, I was in line with Gillian right before you!  Saturday was my second trip to Terra20 and I am in LOVE with that store.  I have been transitioning to greener products, including beauty products for about a year now.  I always meant well but then I would still use my well loved products from Clinique and the drug store.  But since I picked up Gillian’s book, I can’t put it down!  And instead of still using the remaining products I have, I threw them out!  When you read how many chemicals and ingredients are in those products you are putting all over your body, you don’t really want to use them anymore.  This is the first time I’ve seen your blog but I will definitely be back – thanks! :)

  26. Sounds like an incredible store that I would love to visit. I love the idea of using mica to get rid of undereye circles (never heard of that before)! Your after shot looks great, BTW.

  27. Love the new Terra 20 store too! Have only been in once but didn’t take long to drop 200$. I also am trying to be cautious about the products I use and have found some super ones at Terra 20. I bought a divine bubble bath called Izzi- the aroma fills my house after a bath in it!

  28. Pamela Tourigny says:

    So nice to read all of the positive comments about our store!  Thank you everyone.

  29. I had no idea that parabens were in products and also found in breast cancer tumours.

  30. Darn Julie! you are making me THINK again.  the last time you talked about this issue, you outlined all the bad ingredients in the moisturizer i slather on my face/neck every morning.  frankly… i was annoyed.  now i have to find something else to use?  but, seriously, now i am starting to realize change has to be made.

    reading that article i am not shocked, to be honest.  i think i have just had my head in the sand on this topic.  i have made big changes in the cleaning products we use, but not on the stuff i apply to my body! there is something wrong with that.

    thank you for making me, reluctantly, think about this important issue. 

  31. hi Daniel, this is fantastic!  so happy that you’re in Ottawa via terra20.  have the folks at ethicalDeal heard of you yet???  i’ve just suggested that they carry your products! thank you for all you do.  

    more power!

  32. I have very sensitive skin and break out easily. I’m amazed at the 127 chemicals! I try to be careful but I’m probably still exposed to quite a few as some products I use are propular brands. I need to visit Terra20 to see how I can change some of cosmetics to reduce my exposure

  33. This was really helpful!  I’ve started paying more attention to what’s going on my skin and in my body (for my children too).  I’ve heard that we should be avoiding parabens (which are in EVERYTHING!) but was completely shocked to learn about the study in which 19/20 breast cancer tumours contained parabens!  Time to clean out my cupboards!   

  34. I wish I had known about this store a few weeks ago as I was in Ottawa for a couple of weeks. Good thing I will be back in a few months.LOVE Ottawa. it is a fabulous city.
    I read that blog post and wow 127 chemicals and I am just about to leave my house…. sure makes you think. I have been trying to change our life style and live a cleaner/more natural life since our son had stomach cancer 4 years ago. Thank you for a great reminder for the “read the label”. I need to change my makeup and if I won this gift card, this would be a nice start.

  35. Aww, how cute are you all done up! 😉  I keep hearing about Terra20 – must go check them out! I don’t wear much makeup either, but I am starting to worry about the cumulative effects she mentions in shampoos and toothpaste and who knows what else. Great giveaway!

  36. Cindymaraj says:

    I am always skeptical of natural products, makeup in particular thinking it can’t be as good – but the end result looked great. Thanks for blogging.

  37. Great post as always Julie!  I can’t wait to run out of my current foundation so I can go check out the cosmetics at Terra20.  Plus, their kid’s section with games/puzzles is great!

  38. Jacquie Baillie says:

    I read the article, and was most surprised to read about the parabens in tumors.  I have been in Terra20 quite a few times, but have yet to check out the make-up section.  I now know where I will be spending my time on my next visit.  


  39. Cath in Ottawa says:

    Her stats re parabens are definitely the biggest shock for me. I’d love to check the store out. Thanks for the give-away!

  40. I’ve been meaning to drop in since it opened.  I’d like to find some unscented hair products – I’m guessing they might have some?  

    • We do have a couple of unscented hair products. You are more than welcome to call the store or contact us at and we can take a look at what we have and give you some info before you come in. 

      • I don’t wear makeup, but I am on a never-ending quest to find something without parabens that I can use (allergic to pretty much everything; wasted so much money on moisturizers that give me hives).

        Unscented for me is very necessary. I hadn’t realized you carry shampoo so I’ll have to come and check out what you’ve got!

        The info in that article isn’t surprising to me, just depressing!

  41. It’s great to have an eco store in Ottawa that has so much products!  We don’t think about the fact that everthing you put on your skin goes into your body. Great article:)

  42. Zumbatrish says:

    This is interesting stuff. The word has been out for many years about this stuff but somehow it’s not rising above all the PR for the big name companies. I’m very intrigued by the powder foundation concept and it’s ease of use. Would love to get a chance to try them! How do they compare price-wise to the other brands? In line with Lancome, for example? Or higher? Lower? (she said hopefully!). I’m curious, and not necessarily deterred by a higher price. 

    • Hi ZumbaTrish! The stuff used in my makeover was high-end (and high-price). I’m not familiar with Lancome’s prices, but they’d be on par with Dior. For example, I believe the powder foundation was $62, an eye shadow was about $32, and the magic under-eye stick/brush was $58. I definitely plan on making the switch over to this foundation but would perhaps using a less-expensive eye shadow. There were a number of other brands of cosmetics at Terra20 too and I’m curious to go back and check out their prices and product lines as well.

      • Pamela Tourigny says:

        There are some more moderately priced lines as well. Pure Anada (from Winnipeg) is one of them- their mineral eye shadows are $9 each.  Plus, the owner will be at terra20 on Dec. 8!  

  43. I’m surprised that you can use the same product in so many ways. Also great to know that Terra does make-up demos. I’m just starting to wear make-up so I’m learning about the options out there. I love that it is canadian too!

  44. Have been making changes in our house in terms of cleaners and laundry products, but didn’t think that the items I use for myself and 2 little ones were so laden with products we should limit contact with.  Will be making a change for sure!

  45. I am so glad you shared this with us. I have been learning out parabins, talc and other additives in products we use daily, and though I have seen products you can buy online, or one or two lines form a chain, it is nice to know that we have a store dedicated to this.  I can’t wait to go in “test out” their makeup and see what they have for my daugther for the winter season – dry skin, chapped lips – I hate putting anything on her face and especially lips, when I am not sure that it is 100% safe for her.  So excited!  Thank you Julie – and Terra20!

  46. Pam @writewrds says:

    It’s not just surprising, it’s scary. Nineteen out of
    20 breast cancer tumours contain parabens? Scary. We’re exposed to 127 chemicals
    before even walking out the door? Really scary. When I started to read the blog, I was putting strawberry lip balm on my lips… EEK!… and have since wiped it off. (I am sure this particular stuff is not good for me.) 
    Thanks for the eye-opening info. 

  47. Wow lots of great info! I am happy to see that the coverage and variety of products are available with balance. Skin is one of the most important defenses and many people don’t care for it like they should!!

  48. Elizabeth Elliott says:

    Met Daniel Thompson in person at Terra 20 just on Friday this week. He applied a liquid foundation, Almond, and I loved how it looked on my skin. Prior to the foundation he cleansed my skin and applied a moisturizer but with the moisturizing foundation on top I found it a bit much. Yes, I am going to try this line little by little starting with the foundation when Terra 20 has their discount in September. This is a rather pricey foundation but the foundation would last 7 months as I only needed to use a small amount. If that is true then this probably is the best choice for me.

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