All Articles Tagged "skincare"
She was named by Forbes recently as one of the 20 Youngest Power Women In Africa 2012. And no wonder. Eunice Nuekie Cofie has a lot going on. She’s a cosmetic chemist, entrepreneur, innovator and scholar. Some have called Cofie, president and chief cosmetic chemist of Ethnic Dermatology Pharmaceutical Company, the modern-day Madame C.J. Walker because of her breakthroughs in the beauty industry. Her company specializes in research and development of dermatological products for ethnic men and women.
Cofie, who is a graduate of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) with a degree in chemistry/molecular biology, is of Ghanaian heritage. The former Miss Black Florida USA has spent her summers working in a village community in Ghana implementing the Save a Million Lives HIV/AIDS Education and Prevention Program.
There’s more. Cofie is also the president of Enspiring Concepts, LLC, a life-empowerment firm which seeks to inspire others to follow their destiny, and she is the founder and executive producer of Moving Closer to My Dreams: A Young Women’s Empowerment Conference, an annual event designed to empower young professional women.
We grabbed a few minutes with Cofie to ask her about her career, community efforts, and her upcoming skincare line.
Madame Noire: What prompted you to start the company?
Eunice Nuekie Cofie: Growing up, I was made to feel like I was not beautiful because of my dark skin color and tightly coiled hair. I remember crying endlessly as I was being called names like “black,” “African booty scratcher,” or “nappy head.” The bullying did not just stop at words but it became physical. Girls would take turns pulling on my hair. The constant teasing and bullying damaged my self-esteem. My saving grace was my father’s encouragement for me to pursue an understanding of science. In the first grade, my father entered me into my first school science fair. I won first place in the school science fair. From that moment, I began to gain confidence in myself.
MN: There aren’t many women in science fields.
EC: Science had become my oasis and my strength. One day while in my organic chemistry lab class, my eyes were opened to the world of cosmetic science. My professor, who also owned his own cosmetic company, wanted my classmates and me to understand how to practically apply organic chemistry to our everyday lives. So he made a decision to have us create lotions and hair relaxers instead of conducting the regular lab experiments. It was during my research with him that I realized that the cosmetic industry lacked effective treatment products that took into account the unique structure and function of ethnic skin and hair. This was just the impetus that I needed to develop my company Nuekie, Inc. Nuekie means “first daughter in the family” and “hardworking one” in the Adangbe language.
MN: What kind of skincare products does your company create?
EC: My company provides quality dermatological products for ethnic people [i.e. African/African-American, Hispanic, Asian, Middle Eastern, Native American, Pacific Islander]. My mission through Nuekie is to help men and women of color discover they are perfect in beauty.
MN: Where can people buy Nuekie products?
EC: We plan to launch the full-skin care line in March 2013. But since we have got a so much response about our company, we decided to release our first product, Moisture Therapy Crème. People can buy the crème at our online shop. Also, people can sign up at the website to learn more about the upcoming launch, skin care tips and other exciting news about Nuekie.
MN: How did you initially fund the company?
EC: My company is fully bootstrapped by myself. I used my savings, personal income, and credit to fund my company. I recently won the ACCESS Florida Business Plan Competition which helped my company further its efforts in pursuing its mission to help men and women of color discover they perfect in beauty.
One of my obstacles was the lack of funding. I had to realize that there may never be enough money for me to pursue my dream and that I have to start from somewhere. Once you get started then resources for you to accomplish your goals start to flow to you. The key thing is getting started!
Joan Morgan has already made her mark as an award-winning journalist, now she’s about to carve out a niche in the beauty world.
A noted hip-hop journalist, Morgan, who was born in Jamaica and raised in the South Bronx, started out as a freelance writer for The Village Voice. Since then, she has written for Vibe, Spin, Ms., More, Interview, Working Mother, GIANT, and Essence magazine, where she was executive editor. In addition to this, Morgan coined the term “hip-hop feminism” in 1999 when she made her literary debut with When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost.
Now, she has turned her efforts to Emily Jayne, a natural body care line of products. It includes natural body butters and fragrances, all inspired by the Caribbean.
Madame Noire: Trying to solve your son’s mild eczema with homemade treatments helped spur the launch of Emily Jayne.
Joan Morgan: I’m very, very happy spending way too much money on products but he needed something that worked. The more I played with scents, the more I started to prefer my products. Frankly, they just worked better.
MN: You came up with the company name by combining the name of your Jamaican grandmother, Emily, and your Jamaican great-grandmother, Jayne. What was it about these two women that inspired you?
JM: I’m come from a family that believes strongly in “lines.” My mom’s line, the Lawson line, includes particularly strong women. They’re mountain women at their core; they have a harmony with the earth, a way with herbs and the kind of fortitude that starts you on a mountainside with no electricity and running water (Emily’s house and the house, I was born in, as a matter of fact) and lands you sitting in a graduation watching your granddaughter graduate from one of the top universities in the United States (me, Wesleyan). Throughout it all is a tradition of formidable strength, humility and beauty. We were raised with this as our legacy. I knew my grandmother Emily.
Jayne, my great-grandmother died before I was born. But like most the Lawsons who came before me, they were part of my family’s daily conversation during my childhood. Still are to this day. So they always had a presence, always had a place.
MN: How did you fund the startup?
JM: I took about $500 in personal savings and made a commitment to only grow the business as quickly as that initial investment plus any profit would allow me. That was a really important lesson I learned from a previous business venture that didn’t go nearly as well as Emily Jayne. Fabulous ideas are wonderful but you have to be able to afford them. When I couldn’t afford an initial ‘great idea,’ I just had to get really creative and come up with another alternative.
I also received a really generous initial order from a sister/friend who really believed in what I was doing and so she bought like a year’s supply at one time and had me charge her the price of what it would cost to incorporate and trademark the company. That kind of support has been amazing and invaluable.
JM: Really, no obstacles yet. Knock on wood. My biggest issue is time management because I’m also in the middle of a doctoral program at NYU. But I’m incredibly mindful of that. For the first two months I deliberately kept under the radar of my more fabulous and extremely well-connected circle of friends because I wanted to make sure I could handle production demands. I also waited to put Emily Jayne out on my public Facebook pages and Twitter. I knew my network was valuable so I wanted to utilize it wisely.
MN: What makes Emily Jayne different?
JM: Well the inspiration for the company is different. It’s based strongly on my desire to create quality natural products, but a lot of people have that desire. You can read about the inspirations on the first page of the website, but this entire venture is a tribute to my cultural identity and ancestry as a Caribbean-American woman. So the scents are really unique in that respect.
And also, I see this as an extension of my cultural and political work as a feminist writer and thinker. I wanted to create a product that helped black and brown people feel good about skin that is often problematized but inherently really aesthetically beautiful. I love the way our skin looks when its moisturized and glistening. The way the light catches it is just beautiful. And I wanted women in particular to have a product that encouraged them to touch themselves. I’m a big believer in pleasure, particularly women’s pleasure. This is product that’s deeply rooted in those particular values.
MN: What are your plans for the company?
JM: Future plans for this year are to continue developing the customer base. I want to know my customers so I try to make myself as available and aware of their preferences and tastes as possible. Besides, I love talking product. I’ve been really blessed so far, as publicity and press go. Emily Jayne sold it’s first jar on June 26th. [I]n a few weeks I’ll be making the celeb rounds but honestly, building customer relationships is my top priority. Do I want global domination — Whole Foods, Barney’s — down the road? Yes. But what I want now are happy, loyal customers that keep returning.
I’m also very happy to be working with other black women who have synchronistic brands, [like] Nina Burke’s company CCBlaq Candles which makes these divine soy based candles. And Jodie Patterson’s company, Georgia. We’ve done events together and have a lot of plans for cross-promotions. It’s mad cool to be able to work together and support each other this way.
MN: How do you juggle everything?
JM: I’m not working as a journalist, but I am a full-time PhD student, a cultural critic, public intellectual with a pretty heavy lecture schedule and a mom. But I’m also the daughter of a woman who immigrated to the U.S with $50 in her pocket from Jamaica and often worked more than one job until she got herself through nursing school. I don’t ask “How?” I just do it.
Sometimes the best products to enhance your natural beauty are those created using items you already have on your shelves at home. While store-bought options are an easy go-to, they can sometimes have harsh or unwanted chemicals in them. More natural substances—often ones that you already keep in your kitchen–are usually very good for you and can help with various issues you may be having. Let these multi-purpose items serve you in ways you hadn’t even thought of!
If you’re still holding on to the myth that black doesn’t crack, it’s time to let it go! Not only does it crack, but it can wrinkle prematurely and be susceptible to unwarranted dark spots. Let’s not forget SKIN CANCER. Although not as common as in other ethnicities, African Americans are also at risk of getting skin cancer whether we’d like to think we are or not. Don’t think just because you spend top dollar on products fighting acne and other skin care issues that you’re exempt and can achieve a flawless complexion without protection from the sun’s UV rays–SPF is a must! While you may not want to incorporate another product into your daily regimen, the benefits of SPF products—holds off wrinkles, helps you stay blemish free, and let’s not forget the big C, “Cancer” free—will definitely have you thinking twice. For clear and healthy skin, SPF sunscreens are a must.
Maybelline BB 8-in-1 Skin Perfector $8.99
For super hot days when you want to keep product usage on your face to a minimum, the latest in SPF creams where you’re able to reap the benefits of moisturizer, primer, foundation, and sunblock all in one just might be perfect for you. Maybelline’s new 8-in-1 Beauty Balm promises a combination of skincare and makeup in 1 easy step. Plus, the price will also have you sitting and feeling pretty.
As the temperature gets warmer, you usually swap your skinny jeans for cut offs, but it’s also a great time to rethink your skincare routine. From the products you use to the treatments you receive, you should revamp your regiment, since your skin has different needs in the summer than it did during the cold winter months and rainy spring days. We’re sure you’ve been using your favorite cleanser for months, but it may be time to ditch it. Also, did you know it’s possible to over-wash your face? Kristina Veller, an aesthetics professional at New York’s Skintology, gives us the dish on what we should and shouldn’t be doing to keep our skin looking baby smooth.
Make sure you’re not making these mistakes. Check them out at StyleBlazer.com.
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You asked, and Dr. Dina D. Strachan, MD has answered. This board-certified dermatologist is a graduate of Harvard and Yale and currently holds a faculty appointment at NYU. We recently asked readers to submit their skincare questions for Dr. Strachan. Check out her responses to questions about skin Tone, Shrinking Pores and Blackheads
Reader Question: I have small blemishes on my face that are causing uneven skintone. I always see products that help fade dark spots, but mine are reverse. I have light blemishes what can I do/use to even skintone?
Dr. Strachan: Whenever there is inflammation in brown skin, such as that caused by acne, rashes, scratches and burns there is a chance of a color change. Usually this results in skin darkening but occasionally inflammation leaves light marks. Whenever the skin is constantly blemishing it is important to determine the reason. In people with acne that leaves blemishes, for example, if they focus on the blemishes, which generally last much longer than pimples, rather than the acne problem, they will always have blemishes. In this case, it would be best to treat the acne if one wants to blemishes to go away. There are no specific products to address blemishes that are lighter than the normal skin color. The solution is to find out what is causing them. Is there an eczema or seborrheic dermatitis problem?
Reader Question: How can I shrink open pores?
Dr. Strachan:Pore size is genetic and generally does not change, unless the skin is damaged, in which case the pore might get bigger. All we can really do is try to minimize the appearance of our pores. The best way to do this is to keep the skin clean and exfoliate gently.
When you’re in the limelight, it almost goes without saying that you almost always have to look your best. So while we may question why a celeb is going to the grocery store in full show attire and makeup, they’re really just playing their part. But sometimes, even they have to give it a rest and we definitely support seeing natural beauty so here are a few of our fave ladies fresh faced (for the most part) and makeup free!
Every day women come into my office asking me how to get their skin looking as perfect as possible. Here are few of the concerns I hear about most—plus my suggestions for how to take care of your skin so that it always looks its absolute best.
I still break out every month around my period.
Hormonal fluctuations, plus stress, can add up to adult acne. I often prescribe birth control pills to my patients who are battling these sorts of breakouts. The Pill works by suppressing oil-triggering androgen production in the ovaries. But you’ll have the best results if you use them in conjunction with a targeted skincare regimen and work to reduce your stress levels (yoga—and exercise in general—are great for that). Look for cleansers that will clear out your pores without over-drying your skin. I like ones that contain salicylic acid because the ingredient is anti-inflammatory and it helps skin shed the dead cells that can build up and clog pores. And treat areas prone to pimples with something that will kill the acne-causing bacteria—products with benzoyl peroxide are a great choice.
I’m starting to see some fine lines—especially around my eyes and on my forehead.
These so-called “dynamic” wrinkles are the ones that are caused by making the same facial expressions (like smiling and frowning) repeatedly over many years. That’s why the category of injectables called neuromodulators (such as Botox and Dysport) are so effective at helping soften those lines. Neuromodulators relax the muscles that make those expressions, preventing the overlying skin from moving and thereby smoothing out wrinkled surfaces. Other ways to help fend off fine lines include using sunscreen daily (the UV rays break down collagen which makes skin start to sag and wrinkle) and using treatment products that contain potent anti-aging ingredients like retinol (or its prescription-strength cousin Retin A) to help rebuild collagen and smooth out the skin.
StyleBlazers, what better way to ring in the new year than with luminous skin? Tighten your pores, even out your complexion and clear blemishes with Gotham Skincare’s one-of-a-kind Mask Market facial. The experts over at Gotham have created a unique beauty treatment to specifically meet each patient’s needs.
Read More at StyleBlazer…
Whether you love the skin you’re in or have a love/hate relationship with your complexion, it’s important to know what it takes to get past the imperfections and get to a flawless face. If you’re blessed and naturally blemish-free, it’s helpful to know how to keep it that way. Eliminating nasty little habits and making small changes to your skin care regimen can make the difference between pore perfection and pimple hell.