Vancouver entrepreneur Angie Buonassisi launches Lontreau to serve skincare for athletes

Buonassisi is also the co-founder and CEO of 8 West, a local cosmetic surgery and skin clinic

Angie Buonassisi says she has three babies: her two daughters (who are nine and 12) and 8 West, the cosmetic surgery and skin clinic she co-founded in Vancouver 15 years ago. So it’s no surprise that the entrepreneur-mom is great at multitasking. In fact, when she hopped on a call with us at BCBusiness, she was on her way to pick up one of her daughters from summer camp. 

“The life of a mother running this business is definitely busy,” says Buonassisi, “but I would say I’m doing very well.” To add to the list, Buonassisi—who has an MBA from Queen’s University—is also an avid road biker. And our call was to discuss the fourth baby that she’d introduced to the world just six months ago: Lontreau. 

Lontreau is a skincare line specifically geared towards athletes like herself (or “anybody that exercises on purpose,” as its founder puts it). Having been in the skincare and medical esthetics industry for over a decade now, Buonassisi tried many high-quality medical-grade products out there. But the stuff that she was using was so irritating that her face was “red and raw to the point of being painful when trying to swim or even touch a towel when working out,” she says.  

“My skincare was making it so that I had to make a choice between, Am I going to go on a run today or am I going to use my skincare routine?” 

Equally frustrated and inspired, Buonassisi decided the only way forward was to develop a line for people like her: the outdoors-loving, classic Pacific Northwest folks who are outside year-round, whether they’re running, swimming, hiking or biking in the summer, and skiing in the winter. 

“I really wanted to ensure that we did everything we could in terms of protecting against all of the environmental aggressors that we’re exposed to,” says Buonassisi.  

Lontreau skincare products
Lontreau skincare products

Lontreau, she adds, uses a “biomimetic approach” for its product line, which includes serums, creams, vitamin C and more.  

The biomimetic approach uses sustainably sourced plant-based extracts that encourage the skin to do what it knows how to do, [or] used to know how to do,” she says, like, for example, collagen synthesis. The products are designed to protect the skin from environmental stressors such as sun, wind and water. “We use ingredients that are not sensitizing and promote/support the health of the skin barrier.” According to Buonassisi, Lontreau’s 30-percent vitamin C product (named the “Most Valuable Player”) already has a cult following. Instead of oil, the vitamin is put in squalene (a nourishing, non-oily lipid) and delivered in an airless pump. She knew she didn’t want to go the traditional route for its bottle design: “If you’ve ever spilled your vitamin C serum, you might feel my pain, with those droppers that tip over very easily,” she says. 

Feedback has been positive enough that Lontreau is amping up to release five new products in the next six months. “I try to do the best that I can to balance all of these things,” says Buonassisi. “But I think the most important thing is knowing that we’ve launched with an excellent starter product line for which we’re getting fantastic feedback. But I’ve got enough flexibility with the people that I’m working with on the supply side that we will actually be able to change and improve things, which I think is really critical.”