Liha and Abi of LIHA Beauty.
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Natural Beauty & Female Empowerment With Liha Okunniwa of LIHA Beauty
We were so pleased to recently introduce London-based LIHA Beauty to our natural and organic beauty curation. In this editorial our Beauty Editor, Taylor chats (virtually) to LIHA’s co-founder, Liha Okunniwa. The two discuss the story behind the line, the beautiful natural hero ingredients used in the products and female empowerment.
Last week I had the absolute pleasure of virtually sitting down with LIHA Beauty’s cofounder, Liha Okunniwa. The glow that radiates from her skin is thanks to their incredible range of products. Both Liha and Abi of LIHA Beauty had very different backgrounds before starting their innovative beauty brand. However, they shared multiple common interests. “We’d both be making things. She’d make things for hair and I’d be making things for skin.” “I would always make skincare products and my mom is an English aromatherapist and my dad’s Nigerian, so when we would travel, we’d bring back bits and pieces and especially the golden shea from Nigeria.” “There was a gap in the natural beauty market where basically loads of people didn’t know what shea butter was and they didn’t know about these amazing raw African ingredients.”
Shea butter is one of the star ingredients of LIHA Beauty and as Liha explained to me it is so vital to source shea butter ethically. “In West Africa, it is called woman’s gold because we use it for everything. Once you discover it, you’re like, how did I live without this? You use it for everything.” “It is known as woman’s gold because it has helped so many women gain independence financially. It is really hard to find a good source where you know where it is coming from, to get consistency, and to know that it is ethical. We wanted to be that go-to brand, where you know the woman that are making it.”
While LIHA Beauty uses shea butter in its most natural form, shea butter is “a base in most of your cosmetics, but it has always been cut with chemicals.” Shea butter is incredibly sustainable because the “trees don’t need any irrigation. They grow completely naturally.” “Shea butter is the ultimate clean ingredient, it is one ingredient, you know exactly what it is, exactly where it came from, and you can use it on anything. And it is such a great starting point for making your own cosmetics.”
What is so fantastic about LIHA Beauty’s range, is how each product has so many uses. “There is so much waste everywhere but especially in beauty. Nobody needs all of this stuff. So, we wanted to solve a lot of skincare problems quickly with a few simple products.” Shea butter is known for its high content of fatty acids and it naturally contains vitamin A and E, making it ultra-hydrating and soothing. You can use it on dry patches on your face and as an overnight face mask if you have dry skin. It is an absolute treat for the body and is incredible for healing eczema and even for diaper rash on little ones.
At the core of LIHA is female empowerment and the role self-care plays in boosting one’s mental state and confidence. I asked Liha to pick two women that continuously inspire and empower her, “Josephine Baker. I’m obsessed. There is a book called Jazz cleopatra that is unbelievable. It is so incredible what she did. She transformed so many things, but she is one of those women that was so much more than a pretty face. She was so ahead of her time and she had to take so many risks. Betty Davis. So ahead of her time. What she was doing as a woman, being completely unapologetic, and the fact that she survived domestic violence.”
I walked away from my conversation with Liha Okunniwa feeling inspired and empowered by her. LIHA Beauty is a product of a lifelong friendship between two powerful women, Liha and Abi. Together they have created one of the most sustainable and ethical brands, which puts quality and standards above anything else.