More and more people are shunning chemically formulated on the shelf beauty products in favour of natural, holistic handcrafted formulations, and the beauty industry has witnessed a rise in brands around the world catering to this need by tapping into their own homegrown beauty rituals and bringing them to global attention. And Africa is no exception. Natural skin care ingredients such as cocoa butter and shea that have been used by African women for centuries are being recognised for their benefits, but we are only just scratching the surface. Fruit of the African soil, ingredients such as baobab, marula, and rooibos are all being used to create luxury natural skin care brands that are proudly made in Africa. And among the names to know is 54 Thrones, a luxury handcrafted beauty brand on a mission to show the Africa we know, by celebrating the continent’s rich diversity in natural resources through skin care.
A few months back I introduced LIHA , a pioneering skincare brand that is all about natural beauty formulations made with rare ingredients. I caught up with the founders Abi and Liha to find out a bit more about the brand and their new product offering.
Please introduce yourself, and tell us a bit about your backgrounds, where you are based and what has inspired your interest in natural skin care?
ABI: Liha and I met at University in London nearly 18 years ago. After university I became a professional athlete, competing in 2 Olympic Games. Liha moved back to her hometown of Cheltenham and set up an art publishing business whilst raising her daughter.
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]
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]
Keeping busy has made the time fly by, however the combined effects of a sudden cold snap and central heating on a full blast is causing me to feel extremely sluggish making it time for rejuvenation; and what better than to head to the spa for a few hours of self indulgent me time. London has no shortage of spa spots to choose from, but I’m looking to African beauty and skin care inspiration. In early September 2011 Africology, brought their brand of natural holistic treatments to the UK, with the opening of a luxury spa in partnership with Bloww, a leading hair salon located in London’s West End. Whilst working in the area I had passed the ultra modern Salon several times when seeking less congested pavements and at the time didn’t know it was hiding an oasis of calm within its depths.