Loyalist College Partners with Indigenous-owned Business Cheekbone Beauty to Develop Sustainable Beauty Products

Belleville, Ontario, June 21, 2022 – As Canada celebrates National Indigenous Peoples Day, this is an important opportunity to recognize Indigenous leadership in sustainability and environmental stewardship.

At Indigenous-owned cosmetic company Cheekbone Beauty, sustainability and Indigenous wisdom go hand-in-hand.

“Sustainability is an innately Indigenous concept,” said Jenn Harper, Founder and CEO at Cheekbone Beauty. 

“It defines the relationship between my ancestors, my Indigenous family and the environment. Cheekbone combines innovative, sustainable practices with an emphasis on Indigenous representation, because we know it’s so important that Indigenous youth see people who look like them, and who come from the same places that they do, in every industry.”

In pursuit of low-waste, environmentally-conscious products, Cheekbone enlisted the support of Loyalist College researchers to create a process for extracting and upcycling natural ingredients for their newest product line.

“It’s essential that we continue to invest in building a circular economy, which repositions waste as a resource and not simply a cost of industry,” said Dr. Ann Marie Vaughan, Loyalist College President and CEO.

“We’re excited to partner with Cheekbone Beauty, a company that uplifts Indigenous voices and thinks big about sustainable business practices, to create advanced solutions for bringing environmentally- and socially-conscious products to market.”

Funded through the Mitacs Indigenous Pathway Program Award, the project will upcycle the residue from processing a unique grape varietal grown at Niagara’s Henry of Pelham Family Estate.

“We’re proud to partner with our neighbours at Cheekbone Beauty. Henry of Pelham is certified by Sustainable Winemaking Ontario and part of that program is to partner with likeminded businesses in the community,” said Paul Speck, President, Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery.

Grape pomace, a significant but largely unused by-product of wine and juice production, is a coveted ingredient in cosmetics due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Lead researcher Barb Allen, along with Mitacs research interns and Loyalist College graduates, Daniel Guevara and Rodolfo Guerrero, will seek to repurpose the pomace to create functional cosmetic ingredients with multiple performance benefits for consumers.

“Sustainability is a journey. It’s very nuanced in that there is no single approach that’s right,” said Jenn. “It takes a lot of work and research to create the best product. Working with innovative partners to find creative solutions, including more people in the process, only makes our products better.”

Learn more about Cheekbone Beauty.

Learn more about working with Loyalist College’s Applied Research and Innovation Office.

About Loyalist College 

Loyalist College is located on the territory of the Huron-Wendat, the Anishnaabeg, and the Haudenosaunee people. We acknowledge our shared obligation to respect, honour, and sustain these lands and the natural resources contained within. Ranked one of Canada’s top 50 research colleges, Loyalist College empowers students, faculty, staff, and partners through experiential, industry cluster-based education, training and applied research programs. As Ontario’s Destination College, the College provides job-ready graduates for, and knowledge transfer to, industry and the community. Located on more than 200 acres in the beautiful Bay of Quinte region, the College is perfectly positioned between Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. Loyalist College offers more than 70 full-time diploma, certificate and apprenticeship programs in biosciences, building sciences, business, community service, health and wellness, media studies, public safety, and skilled trades. Continuing education options are available through LoyalistFocus.com, including hundreds of online, distance and in-class courses, and through the College’s 100+ university transfer agreements. Loyalist College is a key driver of social and economic health in eastern Ontario. It contributes 3.8 percent of the Gross Regional Product, representing $396.3 million annually to the regional economy – based on an October 2021 report by Emsi. For more information on Loyalist College’s Belleville, Bancroft and Toronto campuses and Port Hope satellite location, visit loyalistcollege.com

– 30 –

Braden Root-McCaig 
Director of Marketing and Communications