Our melanin is magnificent. It protects us from the harsh elements and absorbs light whenever the sun’s rays dance unhindered upon our skin. Although most resilient when compared to that of others, our soma needs protection and care. We’ve all had our experiences with store bought skin and hair care products that didn’t work as well as we thought they would. Although disappointing, it’s important to note that this could be due to multiple factors including skin type, harsh chemicals and level of exposure to the elements. Recently, there has been an upsurge in the number of natural skin care businesses online. People of color have taken it upon themselves to learn the art of cosmetic production; shea butter lotions, tumeric scrubs, coco body butters and the like are flooding the market much to the delight of black men and women eager to take care of their appearance and general well-being. There are however, a few well-seasoned natural skin care professionals that have had taken the time to perfect their products for years. We found one such gem in the heart of the United Kingdom.
Irene Afari, 35, of London UK, grew up in Paris France and Hackney United Kingdom. This melanin beauty with a European nationality is a registered nurse with a biotechnology degree, but when she’s not out saving the world she enjoys the Arts and learning about new cultures in her travels. While in her 20s, chemically damaged hair led her to begin her own journey of healthy hair growth. Frustration soon set in however, because regular beauty supply stores didn’t carry the products needed to save her damaged mane and staff within these stores lacked the knowledge needed to advise her on how to get her naturally healthy hair back. This avid traveler has visited Ghana regularly and the wonderful natives introduced her to natural skin and hair care ingredients. Cocoa butter and shea butter have always been used and loved by generations of Ghanaian natives. Irene was so inspired that she began creating her own home made concoctions with these same ingredients, and this led to a multiplicity of accolades from family and friends regarding the natural look and glow of her hair and skin. This all fueled her passion to incorporate a more holistic approach to beauty care and thus she created her own hair and skin care brand, Native Nous. The name was derived from both cultural and spiritual ideals.
Irene’s love for the indigenous people and flora of Ghana =”Native.” (For The natives were her inspiration.)
A new found awakening toward natural and traditional care for the body, the awareness, mind, intellect and good sense= “Nous.”
Here are some of the top picks for healthy hair and skin:
This black owned beauty brand delivers top quality skin and hair care because Irene understands the unique challenges faced by men and women of color when caring for their unique afro/curly hair and skin care needs. She experienced these challenges herself. Her line comprises the most effective natural ingredients which are unrefined or organic. All ingredients are hand picked for their beneficial and nutrient rich properties.
Find these products and more on her Website , Facebook or Instagram. Native Nous is currently listed on several black owned business directories such as ‘Black Pound Day‘, and also our very own blacked owned business listing on Black Wealth Magazine!
These awesome products ship internationally too, so have a look at the product catalog and order up!
Upon observing the list of natural ingredients it’s obvious that Irene is serious about skin and hair care. Her mission is simple. She wants to share the heritage and tradition of indigenous people’s use of nature in caring for our beauty needs through her products. Think of Native Nous as envisioning men and women of colour who have healthy skin and hair and because of it, they are confident enough to embrace all that they are.
As with all businesses whether large or small, Native Nous has had its fair share of challenges. Irene is the sole founder and this has meant that since inception, she has had to wear multiple hats in order to successfully manage the various facets of her business. Imagine being the marketing manager, secretary, founder and manufacturer all in one! This may seem a daunting task, but Irene has proven to be one tenacious business owner that doesn’t give in!
Business growth has been steady throughout the years and Irene credits this in part, to the City University London Launch Lab Business accelerator programme and her business mentor. There are no limits as she envisions her brand becoming a substantial player in the beauty and cosmetics industry. It will become a lifestyle brand, and she plans to market her products through larger retailers such as Self ridges, Boots, Superdrug and Wholefoods Markets. The Native Nous line of products will be sold in retail store chains where women can receive hair and skin care advice and product recommendations. If we recall how her business started, we understand why this aspect is of paramount importance!
At BWM we applaud this business owner for endeavoring to create charitable foundations and co-operatives in the countries where her ingredients are sourced in order to benefit the women and their families who produce the ingredients. This says a lot about her work ethic and appreciation for her own craft and people. She encourages other business owners like her self to carry out due diligence by researching their unique markets, keep an eye on the competitors and test their products. This doesn’t mean that one should procrastinate. On the contrary, begin where you are and keep moving. That first step could eventually create a multi-million dollar brand!