Ask the Esthetician: Julie Clark


Julie Clark, founder and formulator of Province Apothecary, has dedicated her life to understanding the complex and fascinating plant kingdom. Her ability to explain and simplify the body's workings coupled with her deep understanding of botanics has had us enthralled for years. Today she's explaining the difference between an oil and a moisturizer, what essential oils are all about and the accessible practices she relies on for feeling her best. Read on to discover the path to your most vibrant and well skin. The esthetician is in. 

Thoughts on essential oils?

As an aromatherapist and student of herbal medicine, I have the most respect for plants. Essential oils are extracted from powerful plants and should be used sparingly with care. They have powerful effects, and the overuse of them isn’t healthy for humans, pets or the plant ( tons and tons of raw plant materials go into a small bottle of essential oils). 

At Province Apothecary I have carefully selected the essential oils we use in our skincare line and we use a small and safe amount. I love essential oils for so many reasons including calming our nervous system and reducing our stress response, reducing scars and pigmentation, nourishing and stimulating the skin. 

If you prefer to go the unscented way, we have options for you as well, and our products still hold beautiful and powerful plant medicine (and magic). 


Cream vs. oil. What's the difference and how to know which one to use? 

Oil Serums penetrate to the dermal layer of your skin, which is essentially your deeper, second layer that starts under the epidermis (visible layer). This is where all the magic happens! Our oil glands, hair follicles, collagen and elastin fibres, and sweat all form in the dermal layer. Nerve endings in the dermis help us feel things; ever experienced pesky pimples that you feel before you see? They start in the dermal layer and take a little while to become visible on the top surface of our skin. Since so much important activity is happening in this deeper layer, it’s beneficial to use skin care products that will penetrate through to this level daily. Oil serums are effective at addressing specific skin concerns, such as acne, hyperpigmentation, dryness, dehydration, anti-aging and more! If you have specific skin concerns you’d like to heal, use an oil serum morning and night for fast powerful healing. Oil serums reveal radiance and add a glow to any skin type. 

We blend our oil serums in small batches for various skin types and concerns. Our Clear Skin Advanced Face Serum controls oil production, fades scarring and reduces redness. 

Our Rejuvenating + Hydrating Face Serum moisturizes and replenishes the skin to reduce fine lines and improve overall tone of the skin. 

The secret to applying a pure oil serum is to mix it with water/floral water/floral mist or toner. After cleansing the skin you may dampen your skin, add a few drops of serum to the palm of your hand and a few drops of water (or spray floral water/toner a few times). Mix the water and oil serum together, this is called emulsifying and creates your own raw cream. Apply your raw cream to your face and neck. The water will help the oil penetrate into the dermal layer of the skin.

Moisturizers sit on the top surface of the skin, your epidermis. The epidermis contains special cells which are part of your immune system and help you stay healthy. This is the layer of our skin that protects our inner world from our outer world. Key word: protects! Your moisturizer will not only moisturize, it will also aid in protecting your skin from free radicals, environmental damage, toxins and all that other gunk you want to keep out of your pores. This will in turn seal in the previous products you’ve applied, and allow them to work more effectively, warding off external disruptions. Moisturizers are generally a water and oil mixture, often containing waxes or butters to amplify lubrication. 

If you have oily skin, you can apply a light layer of moisturizer daily, and if you have a dry/sensitive skin type can apply a generous amount morning + night, with a few drops of serum for best results. Our Nourishing + Revitalising Moisturizer is antioxidant and phytonutrient rich, with rosehip, carrot, evening primrose, apricot, citrus and vitamin E all working overtime to repair and protect your radiant skin. 


Tackling blackheads. Any advice?

Pores, we all have them. A pore is a minute opening on the skin’s surface that acts as a filter between our bodies and the world. Naturally, whether through internal or external forces, our pores are often susceptible to congestion. You’re not alone, a common question among our clients is how to manage clogged pores and blackheads. Conveniently, these concerns can be managed very similarly. Here’s a look at our go-to rituals for minimizing pore visibility and promoting healthy, glowing skin. 

Dry Brush & Facial Massage

The first technique we recommend is dry brushing. Dry brushing activates your lymphatic system, stimulates the skin, and promotes circulation, all of which detoxify the skin and are proven to help clear congestion and reduce oxidation. Dry brushing also acts as a gentle exfoliant, helping stimulate cellular turnover and reduce the appearance of blackheads. Check out our dry brush tutorial for best practices. 

Another way to achieve this is through massage. Massaging the skin softens pores, promotes blood and lymphatic circulation, and ultimately helps break up unwanted and uncomfortable congestion. If you haven’t tried our natural facelift ritual, you can download our free how-to poster here. For best results, try pairing this technique with our Rejuvenating + Hydrating Face Serumit’ll hydrate your skin without clogging pores.



An important thing to consider when trying to eliminate clogged pores and blackheads is to look at what products you’re currently using on your face. Cleansing with soap or foam-based cleansers can strip your skin of its natural oils, resulting in congestion, dryness and product build-up. We recommend switching to an oil-based cleanser like our Moisturizing Cleanser + Makeup Remover to reduce visible pores and promote cell rejuvenation. Oil-based cleansing helps balance your skin’s sebum production and reduces cellular oxidation without disrupting the natural pH of your skin. We recommended making oil-based cleansing part of your daily skin care routine.


Clay Mask

Clay is an amazing natural exfoliant. It acts as a magnet and deep cleans pores, reducing the visibility of blackheads and scarring. Its highly absorbent properties attract dirt and toxins to the skin’s surface, resulting in smaller looking pores and a brighter complexion. For best results, we recommend adding our Detoxifying + Clarifying Clay Mask to your skin care ritual once a week. 



Here at Province Apothecary, we take a holistic approach to skin care and wellness. Part of this approach means recognizing that our skin is a window into our overall wellness. Getting enough sleep, staying hydrated and incorporating moderate exercise into your daily life help stimulate cell regeneration, promote blood flow, activate your lymphatic system and reduce stress levels, all of which contribute to more vibrant and invigorated skin.  

Tips for healing rosacea?

Apply our eczema balm (a small amount) after your daily products, morning and evening. The zinc, calendula and oatmeal will soothe and reduce redness, while calming any topical inflammation that might exist. 

Skincare on a budget. Where to splurge and where to save? 

Splurge on leave-on products like serums and moisturizers and save on products you remove (like cleansers). 

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