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Why Kanary (ca-nar-y)

The short version.

While working as a hairstylist in my own salon, I developed Multiple Chemical Sensitivity.  During one of many visits, my doctor said I was a “canary in the coal mine” whose body was reacting to toxins in the environment.

As I worked to heal myself, I discovered hidden toxins in so-called “natural” products; it set me on my mission to create Kanary Naturals—organic, non-toxic, preservative-free body care for everyone.   


To read more about my journey.

I began my career as a hairstylist in California, then became a successful salon owner in North Carolina. Four years ago, I moved to Washington and opened MK, another little salon, where I was working for myself and living out my dream with my husband and two children.

In Washington, I started using a newer product in the salon and within six months of using it my life changed dramatically. In August of 2015, I began experiencing a burning sensation in my nose.  By October, the burning had taken over my eyes, nose and throat. I was becoming hoarse and I needed to wear a respiratory mask at work just to get through my day. By November, I could no longer go to work.

In a desperate search for help, I finally found an environmental doctor who explained to me that my body was reacting to toxins in the environment.  This included fragrances, household cleaners, hair products, soaps, smoke, exhaust, detergents, etc. After six months of treatment, she looked me in the eye, explained to me that I developed Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, and said that it would most likely be a lifelong illness.  I was devastated.

A couple years prior, I received devastating life news: my mother was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's at the age of 55 and my four-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Epilepsy.

Because of my sensitivity to the environment, I could barely assist my mother, and I was struggling to help my own child.  I was terrified.

As a lifetime entrepreneur, a woman who cared about skincare and a mother who believed in being a role model to her daughters, I knew that I had to overcome this illness.  Thankfully, I was surrounded by friends and family who believed in me and supported me. I was inspired.

Because I needed to restore my health and regain the strength to care for my family, I began experimenting with organic materials and formulated my first product: deodorant. I gave it to my husband and he was actually surprised about its effectiveness.  He came home from a daylong cross country ski trip and said to me, “I think you are on to something.”

During this discovery process, I was still receiving treatment from a naturopathic doctor who told me, “Melisa, you are just a canary in coal mine.  Your body is reacting to toxins in the environment.” Her words stayed with me, and I just knew my business had to be Kanary Naturals.

Kanary Naturals was discovered through necessity, but created with sincerity.  It’s so important to me that my friends and my family--especially my two daughters--husband and I use products that are non-toxic.  In fact, everyone deserves products that are truly non-toxic, organic and preservative-free.


—Melisa, Founder