Toronto-Based Beauty Brand Evio: Interview with the founder + my honest product reviews

I've been using Evio products in my makeup routine for a couple of years now and I have really fallen in love with the brand. Evio is much more than a beauty company. They stand behind their values and take action in what they believe in, plus they have an amazing founder, who I had the pleasure of interviewing last month!

Brandi Leifso founded Evio Beauty Group in late 2014 and it has been quite the journey. I encourage you to read more about Evio's beginnings here.

I met Brandi back in June 2019, shortly after releasing my first ever rap song, The Pink Effect. I had been invited to an influencer dinner party hosted at Evio HQ, where I ended up free-styling and performing my song for everyone around the table (what a fun memory!). I remember being seated beside Brandi and felt so honoured to chat and get to know her better. She is so kind, open and always easy to talk to. She really took the time to get to know me too, and asked the best kinds of questions. I've had the pleasure of running into Brandi a few more times since that first meeting, and getting involved in Evio events (in-person and virtually).

I am beyond thrilled to share this Q&A with Brandi and I in today's post. Read my July 2021 interview with Brandi below!

M: What does a day in the life as the founder of Evio Beauty look like? 

B: Every day is different and that's what I love. We are still a small, growing company and on any given day I can be wearing a lot of hats. I've tried to keep some normalcy over Covid times by still going to our Evio office in downtown Toronto every day while the team works virtually. My role at Evio is focused on financials & brand and art direction. I am super fortunate to be surrounded by an incredible team of people who are far more experienced and SUPER good at what they do so I can focus on where my strengths and passion lay which is in philanthropy (like the donations of product and funds that we provide to organizations helping underdogs thrive) and brand development and art direction. Everyday, i work to try and get the reality of our brand closer and closer to what my vision is that will support our mission of breaking stigmas for a conscious future :)

M: Evio's brand mission is all about being kind, conscious and affordable. Why are those three things important to your brand and how do you work to keep those at the centre of it all? 

B: Evio's mission is to break stigmas for a more conscious future and our three guiding principles to get us there are be Kind, Conscious and affordable.

The beauty industry hasn't always felt kind and inclusive for everyone, we want to break that stigma, hence KIND.

The beauty industry hasn't always had the most conscious business practices; animal testing, harmful & toxic ingredients, questionable marketing practices and a focus on profit before people. We believe that good practice is good business and we want to break the stigma of unconscious beauty, hence Conscious.

Change is only possible and sustainable when it's accessible. One of the biggest barriers to good-for-you products is affordability. We believe that good-for-you products should unit us not divide us, hence we will always have an affordable (under $40) good-for-you option at Evio.

M: Evio has been described as good-for-you luxury beauty. What exactly does this mean? And what kind of ingredients do you include in your products that make it good-for-you? 

B: To us, good-for-you luxury beauty means all the performance and beauty of a luxury brand with good-for-you business practices and ingredients like our hero ingredient, hemp/ Cannabis sativa seed oil, elderberries, coconut oil, shea butter and jojoba oils. All of our formulas are vegan, cruelty-free (all ingredients must also be cruelty free certified), ethically sourced and not contain any of the 2,700 ingredients on our NO LIST.

M: What Evio product is your personal favourite and why?

B: Our new Lip Serum in the color 'Did I make myself clear?' hands down my favourite! the naming of the product is really personal to me and definitely the boldest impact campaign we've ever done (mailing premiers to re-allocate funds from Domestic Violence Police Units to under funded community organizations like the shelter I lived in) and as someone who just got braces as an adult I am soooo grateful to have the most incredible lip treatment to prevent chapped lips, it's been a life saver!

M: When you develop a new product for Evio, what steps are involved in that process? Can you give any hints as to what the next launch will be? 

The development process of a new product usually takes about 6months to a year. First, we start with an idea. Often this idea has come from suggestions from our community. Then we go into formulation. Formulation can take anywhere from 4 - 10 or more ideations. Bushra is our Product development lead. She has an extensive background in cosmetics from large to indie brands and a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Toronto. Once we are happy with a formulation, we send it to a product advisory panel made up of people with diverse background who are consumers, industry experts and content creators. We receive feedback and then do another pass at the formula if needed. Then, the formula is ready to go and we get into packaging and marketing :)

M: What is your favourite part of being the founder of Evio? 

B: Getting to meet new people, to create meaningful impact in our community and to get to work with and learn from incredible people everyday. Being in new challenging situations forces me to grow as a person. Evio has played such a big part of who I am and who I am becoming as a person, It has literally changed my life and now I get to see how it impacts others, that's everything.

M: Evio Skin is currently not available, but will it be coming back in the future? 

B: Yes! EvioSkin is coming back with a new look, the old favs, and new formulas you are going to love! EvioSkin was previously a collaboration collection with Aurora Cannabis, one of the worlds largest cannabis companies. Our new Evio Skin Collection will continue to focus on our hero ingredient, hemp but will be a solo collection allowing for more creative freedoms. You can look forward to products like; Hydro-boost Jelly Cleanser, Exfoliant and the past favourites like our rejuvenating Serum (in a bigger bottle) and our Revitalizing mask.

As mentioned above, I've been using Evio products for a while now. Here are my thoughts on my favourite top-used Evio products:

This primer does a great job at smoothing my skin and helping my makeup stay matte and in place all day long. I have very naturally oily skin and I love how it keeps my skin matte and controls oil. All I need is a small pea-sized amount for my full face.

I love to use this product right after my SPF moisturizer. I then continue by applying my foundation to the skin. It's a great pair with my Maybelline FitMe!

It's silicone-free and packed with a blend of oils and extracts to soothe the skin, minimize the appearance of pores, while reducing redness. You can save 15% by using my code MIKAYLA15 at checkout

Val is a loved shade by all! I think it's super complimentary on all skin types and extremely flattering. It's like a very light hint of brown-purple, but is mostly a dark nude lipgloss shade. The gloss itself is not tacky. It goes on smooth and flawless! What I also love about Evio's glosses is how long they last.

The formulas are packed with moisturizing ingredients to keep lips soft without the stickiness. Features a doe foot applicator for soft, precise application. You can save 15% by using my code MIKAYLA15 at checkout

Lise is an adorable red-pink shade that (of course) I love. It's a really beautiful shade to add some bright colour to your lips, but not too bright. The gloss literally lasts all day! I like to take it along with me when I'm in the office because mask-wearing has been a thing lately.

Features a doe foot applicator for soft, precise application. 

Top swatch: Lise
Bottom swatch: Val 

You can save 15% by using my code MIKAYLA15 at checkout. Enjoy!

Their skincare line was also amazing! I always loved the cleansing wipes and the serum. Stay in the know for when EvioSkin relaunches by signing up for their emails at the bottom of their site here.

Thanks for reading today!

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