So many of us, as black women, have a close relationship with our hair.
It is a foundational part of our identity. An extension of who we are. A message we are giving to the world around us.
Throughout our life (and even the seasons) our hairstyles shift & change. The crown on top of our head evolves right along with us.
There is culture, power and pride sitting on top of our head & intertwined within our coils.
Because of the status our hair carries, the need and focus on having healthy hair is that much more important for us.
With the struggle to be accepted, the struggle to embrace, show self-love, and find the power in our hair… the last thing we need to do is add another layer of harm.
Product education & access to safer products is vital to the health of our hair - not to mention to our overall physical health.
Read our previous post on some of the biggest offenders.
That brings me to Omiaje.
Omiaje translates to the essence of love, prosperity, creativity and beauty.
You will recognize that Omiaje avoids many of the same products we’ve (previously) spoken about, such as parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and formaldehyde releasers.
Their products are not only handmade with natural, organic, and plant-based ingredients, but they also WORK beautifully.
And that’s not all. Omiaje has a focus on being sustainable by using (as much as possible) biodegradable and recyclable packaging & shipping materials. Hello Earth lovers!
Plus, if you follow them on Instagram you will learn about powerhouse ingredients such as marshmallow root and bamboo extract.
Do you know the benefits of horsetail extract? I didn’t either, but you should!
Knowledge is power.
With knowledge you can do what’s best for you & you can intentionally vote with your dollars.
Not only do I believe in supporting black owned business, but I certainly believe in supporting those black businesses that make products aimed to elevate and protect us.
Listen to what Bree, the owner & co-founder of Omiaje, has to say.
Can you tell me a bit about you & your company?
Omiaje is a botanical hair and skin care brand, created out of a hobby and passion for making DIY beauty products, and a need for products that gave my hair life - meaning they had to be strengthening, moisturizing, and curl-defining, while also being free of harsh, unnecessary ingredients. All of our products are handmade in small batches with the highest-quality ingredients we can find.
When did you first know you wanted to pursue creating a “clean” product? Why is that important to you?
I have always been very curious about ingredients and how things are made. I am one of those people who will stand in the aisle of the store and read product labels, Googling ingredients to find out what they do, and if they're safe (thank goodness for smartphones!). When I started learning how to formulate my own products, I found it very empowering to make my own body butters, conditioners, and curl creams, because I knew every ingredient that went into them and what purpose they served. I fused my passion for DIY beauty with my passion for herbalism and holistic, plant-based remedies, and Omiaje was born!
What is your favorite part of the creation process?
I'm a big ideas person. I love to sit and daydream about all the wonderful products I can create, what they will do, how they will smell, what the packaging will look like, and how much people will love them. The creative process is the fun part. The only thing better than coming up with the ideas is seeing them come to fruition.
Define success. What is your method for achieving that success?
Success to me is spending as much quality time with loved ones as possible, and experiencing the wonderful things life has to offer, particularly travel. Entrepreneurship can be scary, but it can also be empowering when you get to a point where you can make your own schedule and choose the way you spend your precious time. Success is also creating something that is impactful and makes a difference in people's lives. I know it's just hair and skin care, but I have certainly had major boosts in confidence from using the right beauty products, and I want to help other people achieve that feeling.
Have you experienced failure?
I have experienced plenty of failure. It sucks in the moment, but failure is where all the best lessons are. I've attended and dropped out of college twice. I've completed cosmetology school, only to move to another state right after, and have to start school all over. Omiaje has taught me the most about the valuable lessons to be learned from failure. Formulas are never perfect the first time I test them. It takes a LOT of trial and error to get a completed product. Not to mention, the first time you mess up a large batch of product, you figure out what went wrong so you don't do it again!
What inspires and motivates you?
Reviews and feedback from my customers is what motivates me. We have many repeat customers who've been using Omiaje products since they first come out, who tell me they've noticed a significant improvement in the health of their hair. We have customers who had no idea how to take care of their natural hair until using our products, and they have all this newfound self-confidence. People tell me our skin care makes them feel like a goddess. That's why I do what I do!
What projects are you currently working on?
I'm currently working on some rebranding and developing of new products. We get messages almost everyday from our customers, asking us if and when we will start making certain products. The product development process is long and costly, but when people make suggestions, we listen! It's an honor that our customers would rather have us create new products, specific to their needs, than purchase that's already on the market.
Three takeaways I want to revisit:
Let your own research & your ability to do so empower you. We have so much access to information in today’s world. That empowerment is a large part of why Clean Beauty for Black Girls was born.
Finding what works for you. Finding what is good for you. Finding products that were made for you in mind. All will do wonders for your confidence. Lean into that!
There is a huge lesson of resilience in failure. It’s where success is born!
I believe clean beauty is really one of those things in which we really don’t know what we don’t know. And it’s not until we know better that we can do better.
It’s going to take education, innovation, and support for us to continue in this movement of protecting our sisters without sacrificing the standard of beauty products we have come to love.
I’m inspired by the story behind Omiaje & I hope you are too. I can’t wait for what’s to come!