The first woman is Juliette Ibekwe-SanJuan, the founder of BONA. She said that her passion for green beauty came about when she discovered that most products on the market were laden with toxic chemicals that could lead to toxicity and illnesses, including cancer. According to her, the journey was not easy as it involved conducting wholesale research on ingredients used in cosmetics products across Europe and America before making their way into African markets. “I found out that most African countries are one of the largest importers of cosmetic products from abroad yet there were no regulations guiding how these unregistered foreign brands were coming into our country,” she explained.
Femi Adioha another industry player added: “Those brands do not bear any certificate of authenticity and it is against the law to sell fake products in any country.” Femi Adioha, who is an entrepreneur, beauty expert and professional esthetician said that she was always conscious of what she used on her skin because she had a family history of cancer.
According to her, “this could be genetic but I knew that the lifestyle I led contributed to this condition.” At some point when Femi fell sick, doctors asked whether she used chemical-based products on her skin since they were also known to have harmful side effects. She told them no but there was always guilt at the back of her mind because all through out school days, students would use each other’s products and she never really knew the long-term effects of using such products.
Determined to do something about it, she started conducting research on natural ingredients and their benefits which eventually led her to founding her own green beauty brand called Natural Beau. “What I have realised is that most women are not even aware that they have a choice when it comes to the kind of products they use on their skin,” Femi said. “Most women just go to the market and buy whatever is available without considering the side effects.”
The third woman, Modupe Ozolua, Founder/CEO of Hennessy & Ozolua Inc., also shared her views on why it is important for more women to embrace sustainable green beauty practices. According to her, it is an aesthetic issue, which means that women are not just conscious of what they eat but also the products they put on their skin. “It’s also about health benefits because these chemicals can kill you,” she stated.
To ensure this cause takes root, Femi Adioha trained under New York-based natural beauty house called Nature’s Gate while Juliet Ibekwe-SanJuan collaborated with international organic ingredients distributors to source products from the UK and US before stocking them in Nigeria.