What was, and continues to be, the most important thing for you when creating a beauty brand made specifically for women of colour?
The most important thing is that the product be efficacious because that was really the reason why I started the brand, because I couldn’t find anything that was effective for me. It doesn’t matter what skin tone, what skin colour you are, whatever product you use you should be seeing some benefits from it. Because you need to be consistent when using it, you need to be persistent when using it, but you want to be able to see marked improvement over time. So, that remains to me the most important thing of any piece, of any skincare product we bring into the market, that what is written on the bottle lives up to its name.
Epara is tailored to women of colour. What are the main skin concerns you’re tackling?
There are two things that women of colour suffer from. One is hyperpigmentation and the other is dryness. We all suffer, regardless of skin colour, from different things, however the way it presents itself in different skin tones is very different… so therefore when creating solutions for hyperpigmentation, you have to create a solution that is quite hard hitting. That can treat the issue effectively. Historically, when hyperpigmentation was being treated with a darker skin tone, what used to happen was that they were being treated with very dangerous chemicals, things like mercury… so what would happen is that instead of treating the area, you have a general lightening to the skin. In an age where people are becoming more aware of themselves, and people are accepting themselves for who they are, accepting their skin colour, their hair colour, we need to move away from that. I do not want to be five shades lighter than I am because I wanted to treat one area.
And secondly, hydration. Generally, most moisturisers in the market usually are very water-based, and they tend not to have any oil at all. For someone like me, who has very dry skin, within 30 minutes my skin starts to feel tight. Without becoming greasy, we still need some oils, and that’s why we’re very intentional and deliberate in our products. We use very thin, penetrating oils but they give you the protection that you need.
We don’t like to pick favourites… but what’s the key product in your line?
Well, it feels like choosing a favourite child. It’s always very tricky and non-advisable, politically. But what I would say, is something that people tend to overlook a little bit, which is the cleansing of your skin. So, I personally really love the Cleansing Oil. I really love the way it feels on my skin, in fact, the whole process, when you put it on your hand, when you put it on your face, when you take it off afterwards, it just feels nice. So, it’s a simple one, but it remains one of my favourite products.