If you are follower of African fashion, style and beauty, then you are probably familiar with the images of Paris-based photographer Mario Epanya. The Mario Epanya who divided online opinion with his super-stylish series of fictional Vogue Africa covers, a concept that was turned down by Condé Nast giving rise to the debate of whether or not Africa needed Vogue. Fast forward seven years and the Cameroonian-born photographer is once again setting the digital world alight this time with his debut book BEAUTIFUL: Portraits of Black Beauty. And what a treat it is.
We have gone through a cold snap of late, the icy winter winds contrasted with the drying effects of central heating leaving skin feeling skin a bit distressed. Whether you are in a cold or hot climate, it is important to protect your skin as each season comes with its own set of challenges that can be harmful to exposed skin if you go not care for it properly. And with more of us shunning chemical laden products in favour of natural skin care ones it can be tricky to find natural products that are what they say they are. So had to share when I came across LIHA, a natural beauty brand made in Cheltenham and Hackney. The brand focuses on producing small batches of natural skin care products, inspired by the age old West African skin care tradition of making beautifying oils, soaps and lotions from the local nuts, tree bark and plants that grew in abundance; a skill that was traditionally learned by all young women.
[Main credit: LIHA Skin Care collection]
London hair stylist and Afro hair specialist Charlotte Mensah recently debuted her first range of premium haircare products. The Charlotte Mensah Manketti Haircare collection features three products a Shampoo, Conditioner and an Oil that all feature Manketti Oil, a super hair ingredient that helps gives weightless moisture, shine, softness and definition to curly hair types.
Serial entrepreneur Magatte Wade, the founder of Adina World Beat Beverages, has created a new brand of luxury skin care called Tiossan. The first of its kind from Senegal, where Magatte hails from, Tiossan products are made using ancient recipes and natural African botanicals that help to keep skin vibrant and healthy, and combat ageing.
The soothing, nourishing, regenerating and healing properties of West Africa’s indigenous plant life forms the basis of a range of 100% natural African skin care products formulated by Senegalese based business, Chouette Mama. The business was founded in 2007 by Phil and Geraldine Pernin, a French couple with an interest in botany, that led them to relocate to Popenguine, a small village on the Senegalese coast with idea of setting up a laboratory creating a natural African skin care brand based around plants that have been used locally for generations.
I fell for South African skin care Miöja’s packaging as soon as I saw it; the colours, so intense and gorgeously vibrant makes you take notice. However, the colours as I later found out not only serve to create standout packaging but have a deeper significance in distinguishing and highlighting the specific benefits of each range. Based in Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa Miöja was started by Tasha Saha, a practicing Holistic Healer and as a chronic sufferer from eczema sought to create her own natural and holistic skincare range using the plants from her garden, simple ingredients that are not just known for their healing and restorative benefits on the outwards but inside the body too.
[Image credits: Skincare range – Miöja]