How Skinfix Is Taking The Skincare World By Storm From Halifax


HALIFAX — In 1870, Thomas Dixon, a pharmacist in Yorkshire, England, created a skin balm that aimed to treat a variety of skin issues his patients were dealing with.

He formulated the balm with high concentrations of natural active ingredients he knew would help to tackle skin redness, itching, inflammation, cracking and dryness. His formula needed to actually work, he thought. Otherwise, his customers would take their business elsewhere.

Over 150 years later, Dixon’s philosophy still runs deep in Skinfix, a Halifax-headquartered company that’s taking the beauty and skincare world by storm in the United States and Canada through beauty retail giant Sephora.

Dixon’s balm was discovered in 2012 by Amy Gordinier, who was looking for new opportunities in Nova Scotia, where she had moved to start a family. Previously, she’d worked for L’Oréal, and held leadership positions at Jo Malone and Estee Lauder. Through networking with the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), she met Thomas Dixon’s great, great-granddaughter, Karen Warren, who was still making the balm out of her kitchen in rural Nova Scotia.

“There was a lot of history and story there and the family had continued to make this balm. This woman, Karen Warren, had worked for the government and at some point, she said, ‘You know, I want to try and make this into a brand,'” says Gordinier.

Warren even got a name trademarked: Skinfix.

“Which was genius,” said Gordinier. “Coming from beauty, the fact that she was able to get that mark is pretty incredible. It’s hard to get a really good mark like that.”

At the time, Warren was manufacturing and packaging the balm for Shoppers Drugmart, where it was marketed as a diaper cream, a rash paste and a product to treat eczema. At face value it wasn’t a glamourous-sounding product, but having worked in the industry for major brands, Gordinier noticed something special about the Skinfix balm.

“It’s waterless … so it was just loaded with ingredients. There was no water to fill it all up. It was just high-levels of medicinal actives, things that are Health Canada and FDA approved,” she says.

“Coming from beauty, you can usually sprinkle an ingredient in and make a marketing claim. One ingredient that builds your marketing story around, but you could never formulate like this. I was super excited.”

Gordinier mortgaged her house, borrowed some money and purchased Skinfix at the end of 2012. By early 2014, Skinfix was being carried under fresh new branding at Shoppers Drugmart. In 2015, the brand then expanded to Target in the United States, where the retail giant helped them expand its product line.