At Because, it's been our mission to champion the brands that may have gone under the radar in the sea of stuff available to us. In light of what's been happening globally over the last few months, we've noticed this is needed now more than ever, and have been wondering how best to continue this. 

Hence the start of our latest feature, Pass the Platform, where we'll be sharing a selection of interviews who would have been picked by the interviewee prior, starting a thread and community of brands that are doing good within the fashion and beauty worlds. We hope this will bring attention to different voices that aren't always heard within these realms, as per our pledge to do better. Next up is Abi Oyepitan, Creative Director of sustainable Anglo/African beauty company, Liha Beauty. After being nominated by Sana Jardin, Abi tells us about achieving wellness through the fusion of English aromatherapy with Yoruba traditions...

How did Liha Beauty start?
Liha and I met at University over 20 years ago, and at that time there weren’t many girls rocking their natural hair so it was an instant connection. I’ve always made my own skin and hair care products from whatever I could find in the kitchen cupboard. Liha is a total beauty junkie and she got into aromatherapy at a young age as her mum is an English aromatherapist and herbalist.

The move into starting our own beauty brand came quite organically, we were always swapping recipes and the products we were making in our kitchens became really popular amongst our friends and family, and when the whole natural cosmetics movement started to really gain traction we thought maybe we should give it a go. So, that’s how LIHA Beauty came into being.

How natural was it to fuse the Yoruba tradition with aromatherapy? How do these two techniques align with each other?
It came very naturally, Liha’s mum is an English aromatherapist and her Dad and both my parents are Yoruba (Nigerian). In Yoruba culture making cosmetics is something you learn at the same time as you learn to cook – it’s quite common in Nigerian household’s to learn how to whip Shea and use natural oils and butters and kitchen resources. With the Liha’s  knowledge of aromatherapy we naturally started mixing the two influences which actually came to complement each other very well.

Nigerian beauty tends to be about heavy bases and natural earthy scent, fusing English aromatherapy into this really transformed the sensory and wellbeing element we wanted in our product range.

We love that you also bundle your products as sets to aid specific concerns, what's your opinion on scent being used to improve wellness?
I know personally scent can evoke such intense feelings and to enhance wellbeing – when I’m feeling stressed, anxious or even have trouble sleeping, I use different essential oil remedies to help.

We know historically that essential oils have been used as medicinal remedies for ailments, as well as to influence our state of mind and emotions, so our bundles help showcase how different scents can help to aid specific concerns.

A few of your products are multipurpose, was this always part of your sustainable and ethically minded business model or was it a welcomed surprise?
Ensuring our products was multi-purpose was definitely at the core of what we do. As a sustainable brand, we are big advocates of ‘buying less, buying well’ and believe that minimalism should also be applied to beauty.

As an Olympic athlete I used to travel extensively and hated having to travel with so many different products. When I started to read ingredient lists I realised that most of the products I was using actually contained relatively similar ingredients. So when we were developing LIHA we wanted to ensure our products were multi-purpose which speaks to why our range is small, with the beauty and wellness essentials you need.

What should we expect from your online workshops?
Our ‘kitchen beauty’ workshop is about educating participants about the healing powers of Shea butter, and how to whip raw Shea butter with kitchen ingredients to make their own natural cosmetics at home. We also give a crash course on the basic principles of
aromatherapy and natural perfumery using botanical essential oils. It’s a lovely fun experience where participants get to take away a new skill as well as a multipurpose balm or scrub made from scratch with their own bespoke natural fragrance.

What are your plans for the rest of 2020?
2020 has been a weird and crazy year so far with insane highs and lows, but we are excited for the coming months. Towards late September we will be launching a set of natural perfumes and a few more holistic and healing online events which I’m personally really excited about. And we are hoping to announce the launch of our first two facial products towards the end of the year… watch this space!

Who would you like to pass the platform to next and why?
MDMFlow, London-based beauty company founded by Flow Adepoju. The products are full-on glam with a heavy 90s-00s influence. 

Shop Liha Beauty products here.

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Pass the Platform | Sana Jardin...

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