“I’m wearing two different eyeliners and three kinds of lip gloss right now,” laughs Samantha Legge on a Zoom call from her chic white-on-white Vancouver office, digging through a canvas bag bursting with makeup samples. It may sound extreme, but product-testing is all in a day’s work for the Evalina Beauty president and founder—in between prototype meetings and product development with manufacturers from all over the world, she’s analyzing ingredients and how eyeshadow is wearing through the day, sampling eyebrow gel samples and conferring about the concealer performance with the Evalina team.
Evalina Beauty is Vancouver’s newest indie cosmetics brand: small batch, high-performing, non-toxic and cruelty-free. Running the show here is a bit of a change of pace from her other role as a media industry executive, but for Legge, this new venture is the passion project she’s been searching for in her 25 years as a businesswoman. “I get now what every business leader talks about: it doesn’t feel like a job, I have a clear vision, and I can’t wait to get up every day and do this,” Legge says. That vision? “It’s all about encouraging women to be who they are, self-acceptance and to be all they can be.”
Which is why she’s created a makeup line that enhances and doesn’t hide: no covering up freckles, no ads with unrealistic contouring. Each product is tirelessly tested and designed to let the wearer’s own unique features and colouring shine through. The Dew BB cream is super lightweight and flattering; the lip gloss is long-lasting and not too sticky; a bronzing highlighter and liquid blush help cheekbones pop. “Beauty comes in all ages, colours, shapes and sizes. It’s not about looking like someone else or trying to be someone you’re not,” says Legge. “I want people to embrace their natural beauty and get empowered with makeup that feels like you—with a little extra sparkle.”
Everything that comes out of Evalina HQ is created with the “You are already beautiful” tagline in mind—a motto that Legge takes extremely seriously. “I want this brand to uplift and celebrate and support women for who we are, as we are.” In an industry that’s so often focused on covering up or pressuring women to change or alter their appearance, Evalina’s perspective is refreshing.
“Women have altered themselves forever, whatever role we’re in,” says Legge. “I want to encourage women to be their true, authentic selves, and to not alter who they are because they’re already amazing and have an intrinsic beauty.”
A percentage of all Evalina proceeds are donated to women and children’s charities. “I want to walk that talk, not just with the product itself, but with a product that’s giving back to women who might need help to reach their potential,” Legge says.
The collection is designed to keep things simple: curated with only essential products and colours. “We want to provide you with everything you need and nothing you don’t,” says Legge.
Something else beautiful about the designed-in-Canada products: Everything is paraben-free and cruelty-free with clean non-toxic ingredients. These qualities are a rarity among big brands, so for Evalina to make that commitment (without sacrificing the quality) is a huge statement. “You can feel good about buying it, but it’s still a sophisticated product,” says Legge. “It’s clean makeup yet performance has not been compromised at all.” She personally ensures that every single product is long-lasting, high-quality and, most importantly, something she would include in her own makeup bag. “I want to love everything: that’s my benchmark,” says Legge.
Legge’s stamp of approval always comes from a personal perspective: “I just love beauty. It’s a value for me. So to be in an industry that’s aligned with something I care about so deeply is really wonderful.” It’s a topic that Legge could talk about all day, but there’s work to be done: brushes to test, eyeshadow to approve.
The Evalina founder zips up her sample bag. “This is my homework,” she says, flashing a smile. “I can’t believe this is my job.”