Personal Ecology


After ten years of being a hairdresser my skin started to fall apart. Contact dermatitis, which I discovered three months after the initial red rash showed up, was due to perm solution and hair gel.  My hands cracked, bled and itched like hell.  Steroidal cream, antibiotics, latex gloves… all proved useless.  A client and naturopathic student at the time saved my career by advising that the problem must be due to something I was using daily. Through a process of elimination I discovered the culprits and the perms stopped at worldSALON in1993. Twenty plus years later, worldSALON is known as a leader in sustainable, healthy practices in the salon and small business sector.  Our worldPRODUCTS personal care line was borne of this desire to work with and promote healthier products and now the line is selling in NYC as well as throughout Canada.

As an educational exercise, and part of our Halloween 2012 festivities at worldSALON, I got dreadlock extensions.  I have always encouraged openness, experimentation and having fun with hair, so it was time to go big or go home.  I was going to be a human litmus test for toxic chemicals, since the synthetic dreads were going to be attached with nail glue and I half suspected that it was only a matter of time before my head would turn into a giant brown watermelon.  A year and a half later, and no skin irritations, some of the original dreads are still attached and the ones that have fallen out, I have been replacing with human hair and no glue.  My own dreads are 5 inches long and in another year, I could be extension free.   Strangely, hairspray, cologne, perfume or any products that are heavily scented still get my gag reflex going instantly and can cause my skin to break out.

This has led me to the idea of Personal Ecology.  I believe that the sensitivities we develop are specific and in many cases due to overexposure.   In my case, all the fragrance in salon products over the years have made me intolerant of those sets of chemicals – specifically phthalates.  Phthlates were banned in children’s products in 2011 in Canada, but are still used widely in personal care to enhance fragrance.  A few years ago, however, a fragrance free arnica cream that I used for sore IT bands from running also made me break out in hives all over my legs.  Just because products are “all natural” or “organic” doesn’t mean that they won’t have adverse effects on certain individuals.

With the worldPRODUCTS line, I have really appreciated being a small and nimble company.  Since launching the line in 2001, we have reformulated our ingredient profile 4 times, to eliminate things discovered to be toxic or unsustainable.  Most recently, we eliminated all palm oil derivatives, hydrolized wheat protein and all siloxanes.  Now we can boast the line is free from parabens, SLS, fragrance, colour, phthalates, palm oil, gluten, silicone and is biodegradable.  The synthetic ingredients that remain are effective and safe and allow our line to perform better than many brands in the marketplace. Science has created many things, derived from natural organic compounds, that have worked for decades and we all have to find the balance of natural / derived ingredients that work for us.

We should always search out healthy food and products as much as possible, but the idea of all synthetics being bad for us I think is ill informed.  We all have a Personal Ecology that is specific – due to our exposure history and DNA.  This biological tapestry is also evolving as we age and a most important feature for staying healthy is learning to tune into our bodies changing needs.   Being disciplined mentally and physically will keep us nimble and strong, but a debauched evening every now and then is also good for the soul.

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I am proud to be a Cabinet Member on Environmental Defence’s Just Beautiful Campaign. To support our work bringing healthier products into Canadian homes please visit –

What We Put On Our Bodies


I’m sure by now that many of you know about all the toxic chemicals in our environment.  Maybe you found out about this issue by being touched by illness, either personally or through someone else close to you. Or perhaps you learned about it when you had your first child and were researching about what could your baby’s health.

Once this education begins, as I have heard so many times, you are astounded to find out how pervasive and insidious these harmful chemicals are. They’re found everywhere – in vehicle exhaust, second hand smoke, food etc… making us sick. We all have a limit of how much of these chemicals our bodies can tolerate.  It is known in healthcare as “bodyburden”  and I am not going to bore/scare you with stats.  The bottom line is that the toxics you can control – the ones entering your home/place of work — you should really avoid. Think about balance. If you work in a print shop or dry-cleaner for instance, your home should be pristine; no  mattresses with flame retardants, teflon cookware or cleaningproducts with formaldehyde and you should also be buying organic, non GMO food as much as possible.  Personal care products have a big impact too.  All the chemicals in the products we slather and spray on our bodies everyday end up building up in our systems along with all the rest.

I am very proud to be on the cabinet of Environmental Defence’s Just Beautiful Campaign because this call to action is hopefully improving people’s lives.   From the BPA ban in plastic bottles to the phthalate ban children’s toys, ED has been at the forefront of the battle against toxics in Canada. In the personal care product sector, through the JustBeautifulPledge companies, worldPRODUCTS included, Canadians have a great resource to explore healthy alternatives that are free from the toxic ten chemicals – present in most mass market brands.  With worldPRODUCTS, you have a luxury line that encourages a minimal approach to personal care – gentle and effective.

Knowledge is not only power, but health, so arm yourself with the information you need to navigate our toxic world.


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worldSALON Reno March 2013

After 24 years in business in downtown Toronto, worldSALON is continuing our green focus and getting an eco-makeover.  With a focus on the three R’s, using healthy non toxic materials and supporting local businesses as much as possible, follow our video diary to watch the whole thing unfold.  Can it all be completed in 11 days?  Stay tuned:  –  DAY 1  –  DAY 2  –  DAY 3  –  DAY 4  –  DAY 5  –  DAY 6  –  DAY 7   –  DAY 8  –  DAY 9  –  DAY 10

Toronto’s worldPRODUCTS


Toronto’s worldPRODUCTS personal care line, created by celebrity stylist Brian Phillips and launched in 2001, is unique in many ways.

Phillips worked diligently with a chemist and aromatherapist to design a minimal series of products that can be used on hair and skin.  The result is a healthy, multi-use, and scent free, line that  you can personalize by adding the worldBLEND essential oil blend of your choice.  These oils are of the highest quality organic and wildcrafted plant essences which will help remove pollution and buildup while balancing and deeply purifying hair and skin.  Adjust how your worldCLEAN cleanser (hair, skin, shaving) and worldPROTECT moisturizer (skin, detangler, leave in) perform seasonally by using the more astringent, exfoliating worldBLEND 1 and 3 in the summer (peppermint and citrus based respectively) or calm, soothe and contract in the winter with the lavender, bergamot and blue tansy present in the worldBLEND 2 and 4.  Instead of increasing your body burden with the harmful chemicals in other products, your senses will be awakened and your spirits will soar.

Gentle enough for the whole family, worldPRODUCTS will reduce the clutter in your home as well as save you money with re-fillable larger sizes.  worldPRODUCTS are truly a luxurious blank canvas that you can add your special touch to!

Now available in Ottawa at and New York City at

For up to date info follow Brian Phillips on Twitter

The Bang / Fringe Debate

A raucous debate ensued recently at the salon – about the history of the “bang”.  Why the word bang?  A British client commented that the term “fringe” was much more appropriate as it is representative of the head framing feature – “like curtains for the face.”  The term “bang” in comparison, with it’s blunt, sexual connotation is clumsy and unrefined.

As a detail in costumes, fringe has been used since Mesopotamia to decorate garments like skirts and shawls.   Whether separately attached or unravelled from the body of the fabric, this adornment was appreciated for it’s movement and used to impress.  At some point in the 1800’s, the “bangtail” became known as the squaring off of a horse’s tail  and in certain circles referred to racehorses.

Moving out of the Stone Age and into the Bronze Age (3500 B.C. ish), as civilization blossoms in Sumeria and ancient Egypt, we start to see styles incorporating face framing elements, perhaps due to a new ability to smelt sharper devices to hack away hair.  By 40 B.C., the Madonna of her time – Cleopatra – brought bangs to the masses and we haven’t looked back since.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines fringe as : 1 – an ornamental border consisting of short straight or twisted threads or strips hanging from cut or raveled edges or from a separate band.  Bang is defined as : 1 – a strip of banged hair – origin – short for bangtail, the cropping off of horse’s and dog’s tails.  However you cut it, if you are looking for a bang-up job, the right fringe should frame the situation nicely.





ImageCanadian glass artist Gundi Viviani-Finch has been creating exquisite glass sculptures for over twenty years in her studio in the Norhtumberland Hills, just east of Toronto.  Through a meticulous technique of bonding small pieces of plate glass with a powerful adhesive, she builds large works of art that dance in the light, an effusive blending of nature and technology – an organic pixillation. Galleries and private collectors worldwide have commissioned these works that are at once modern and timeless.
“Castells”, Gundi’s latest collection, marry art and recycling in pieces reminiscent of North African minarets.  Castells are created with found glass objects, mostly of a utilitarian nature.  Candy bowls, vases, dessert plates and punch bowls are re purposed as glittering towers that demand attention and space while sending a powerful message of re-invention.  Says Gundi “My glass towers are a whimsical collection of pieces of diverse heritage.  Travel with them as they reach skywards.”
For more information on Gundi Glass visit