Purple Urchin | Brand Feature

View of Purple Urchin's Boutique style store

I don't know about you, but alongside wanting a dream closet for my clothing, I also want a room dedicated solely to my cosmetic and skincare products. Walking into Purple Urchin's store is like finding the perfectly arranged boutique-style room I always wanted. Every product is placed on shelves, dressers and tables to create a beautiful visual experience that tempts you to pick up the products, sample them and experience their expertly crafted scents. And much like I would want this dream room to be, Purple Urchin provides a lot of product selection. It's simple to walk in and walk out with everything you need (and more!).

Purple Urchin Eco Wax Soy Candles on display in store with shallow depth of field

You may have noticed Purple Urchin before on my blog, as they fit my product philosophy exactly. The checklist: environmentally and health conscious? Vegan and vegetarian products that are never tested on animals? High quality ingredients? Yes, yes and yes. All their packaging is biodegradable, and they never use microbeads, sulfates, endangered ingredients, or anything else that harms or poses risk to the environment. My favourite thing though? All their products are made from scratch! I love this about the brand, and how Purple Urchin went from concoctions made in a basement, to farmer's markets, to their own storefront with a production space.

Purple Urchin's section for men's handmade skincare products

A close up of Purple Urchin's section for men's handmade products

Update: I wanted to provide some more information on Purple Urchin! On each product, they clearly label it to indicate whether it’s 100% natural, 99% natural or 95% natural. When you go to try out one of their products, check what level of natural it is and decide if you are comfortable with the non-natural ingredients. For example, typically when you see a product from PU that says it’s 95% natural this is because the product contains fragrance oils, which are not 100% naturally derived (some scents need to be synthetic for them smell a certain way). If you are concerned about fragrance oils (they can be an irritant to your skin, especially if you find you’re sensitive!) then skip it and go for their 100% natural options. I love that Purple Urchin clearly labels everything so you can understand what is in your products and you can make an informed choice. 

A table in Purple Urchin's store with hand creams, face creams and other handmade skincare products

Purple Urchin's handmade product called Zit Stick

Purple Urchin Grime Fighter handmade skincare lined on a shelf in Purple Urchin's store

I had always purchased Purple Urchin products from other vendors (Terra 20 and WholeFoods Market to name a couple) so when I got the opportunity to swing by their store and see their full product range and feel the vibe that is all their own, I jumped at the chance. I slung my camera bag over my shoulder and headed on down to Ottawa's Chinatown.

If you've ever been, then you will agree we can all appreciate the decor and vibe of the store. Not only is the staff friendly, sincere, and full of knowledge on their products, but they had great taste in music. If you drop by the store don't be surprised if the staff is belting out lines to whatever Spotify playlist is on.

The store is filled with a variety of unique and pretty furniture to host the multitude of products: a table with teal-painted legs, an ivory dressing table and a white dresser with purple accent doors. Oh and did I mention the entire shelving unit wall filled with soapy goodness? #goals

Hundreds of handmade skincare products on a shelf in Purple Urchin's store

Purple's Urchin's guest soaps on a shelf in their store in Ottawa

I should also mention that anyone can find a product that suits them: men, don't feel left out of the skincare game! There is a section just for the guys (example: Lumberjack Stache Styler), there is also a section just for the little ones in your life (example: Baby Butt Balm) and if "little ones" made you think of your furry friends, then don't fret, Purple Urchin has got them covered too (example: Shampooch)! This brings me to let you know more good news: Purple Urchin's store is pet friendly, so bring the cuties on in for some loving!

Purple Urchin's soap on a shelf in their in Ottawa on Somerset

Purple Urchin liquid soap products lined up on a shelf in their store in Ottawa on Somerset

I got a tour of the production space, and loved seeing their kitchen with shelves lined with the many essential oils, fragrance oils and the many ingredients you see in their products: oatmeal, spices ... in many ways it resembled what a normal kitchen would have kicking around! 

I learned that Purple Urchin makes their soap the "old-fashioned" way, with lye and natural fats like olive oil, rice bran oil and coconut oil. Why is this ideal? This type of soap lacks detergent cleansers that can be harsh on the skin. Instead the oils nourish our skin and are less drying. When these ingredients are mixed together, they create a chemical reaction called "saponification". Once this happens it's time for the fun part ... adding in the ingredients like essential oils and fragrance oils for the smell and clays and spices for the colour. 

Purple Urchin's Soap Butts, a way to utilize misshapen pieces of soap

Something that really surprised me is that the soap needs to sit for a month to allow all the excess water to evaporate! I didn't know it could take so long to get a product ready! It was cool to see all the racks lined with soap waiting to be ready to be sold and used to create clean humans. 
I've listed below what I was tempted by from Purple Urchin's variety of products. I look forward to what they come up with next! 

A view of Purple Urchin's store in Ottawa on Somerset Drive

Here is what I bought that day:
Keep an eye out for my reviews once I give these a good run!

Here's Purple Urchin products I've bought in the past:

Check out my other review on Purple Urchin!


  1. Unfortunately their Dead Sea Mud Mask contains a known carcinogen. Was using for a while now but not since i have found this out...and alot of the products contain synthetics such as Fragrance Oils which are known irritants and are not natural.

    1. Hi! Thank you for your comment :) Which ingredient in the dead sea mud mask were you concerned about? I’d love to research it to learn more about it.

      Also, you’re right, PU has some products that contain fragrance oils which as you said can irritate your skin. But, the great thing is PU marks all their products that contain these as 95% natural, not 100%. Since you are concerned, I’d go for the 100% natural ones. (I’m glad you brought this up, check my blog post I included an update with this info!)

      Which brands have you found that work for you? :)

  2. Its the ingredient starting with D...cant remember exact name. Its used to preserve the mud...formaldehyde. I still use a few of their natural soaps though.

  3. Hello! I researched this out further and the ingredient you're thinking of must be DMDM Hydantoin. I wanted to learn more about this ingredient so I reached out to Purple Urchin. They have been excellent to be in contact with, and had no problem answering my questions. I have a statement from them below to help explain this ingredient so we can better understand it:

    "Our Dead Sea Mud mask is a 99.9% natural product as it contains an ingredient known as DMDM Hydantoin. This preservative is necessary to prevent the growth of bacteria in this natural mud. Purple Urchin does not add this ingredient in ourselves. It is added by the distributors to ensure the wet mud does not expire before it arrives at our doorstep. The final mask contains less than 0.009% of the ingredient, is FDA approved in quantities this low, and we have no reason to believe it is harmful to the health of our customers." Read more about this in my blog post on this product: http://bit.ly/1U3UbLx

    I also asked them about fragrance oils and they were happy to explain:

    “Purple Urchin’s body care line is split between products that are scented with essential oils and ones scented with fragrance oils. While the majority of our products are 100% natural, the items scented with fragrance oils are around 95% natural. At Purple Urchin, we believe in the scent-factor, and there are certain scents that can’t be created naturally. The trouble is, many people love those scents! The customers who purchase our fragrance oil products purchase them for their scent, and do not appear to be bothered by the small percentage of synthetic ingredient. And as we always say, 95% natural is still a lot better than your average drug-store brand. We believe in transparency and customer choice, which is why the fragrance oil and essential oil products are always clearly marked on their packaging and ingredients.”

  4. Thank you for such a detailed blog post and also for addressed the question above ^^^^

    I appreciate all your research!

  5. Thank you, Emily! I will always try to answer any questions to the best of my ability :)


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