Check out our interviews with singer Ayiti Coles, model Nayeli Fanfan, beauty specialist Fayola Nicaisse, and the energetic Ralph Cheriza.
Interview with Fayola Nicaisse
THE ART OF BEAUTIFUL:
Fayola Nicaisse is a business woman and a bit of a philanthropist. She is the creator of Ebene, a truly natural line of products made with ingredients in their purest form–no need to get a dictionary when reading the labels. Fayola puts her heart and soul into every formula. In fact, each product has a story behind it. Baby products were created for her daughter and the line grew with her son. Pregnancy products were created when she was pregnant, hair products through her journey of natural hair. Home Spa products were for Fayola to relax after a long day’s work and later became gifts for friends. Her home fragrance products are natural alternatives to freshen the environment.
How did you become interested in beauty products?
I remember my hair texture changing as I was growing up; I thought to myself, “Why is my hair feeling so hard and dry?” By the time I turned 11, my mother was frustrated with the high maintenance and decided to relax my hair. I liked the relaxer at first, but it went against who I was—I loved my kinky wringlets; I loved their versatility. Once I left the nest, I went natural again and never looked back. I soon realized that the products I was using were in fact responsible for making my hair unmanageable. Petroleum, for instance, which made my hair hard, is contained in most if not all hair products for curly, kinky, ethnic natural and relaxed hair.
Most products out there contain ingredients that are not natural. Why? Because artificial ingredients cost a lot less, can be mass-produced and give companies a great way to make big profits. A lot of the synthetic ingredients used have been linked to various skin conditions and cancers, but they are extremely cheap and therefore more attractive to these larger companies. That’s why I decided to create my own line of products—natural and affordable.
I have turned down many investors over the years. I don’t want to compromise my quality in the name of making a buck. Yes, our products do cost a little more, but I have made a grand effort to keep them at an affordable cost while providing the highest quality that we can to our customers. We use quite a few botanicals, essential oils and pure ingredients like aloe vera, coconut oil, avocado oil, lavender, carrot, babbasu oil, and castor oil, but our main ingredient is Shea Butter which is Beurre de Karite in French. I refuse to cut corners. My children and I use the products that we sell, therefore I want the best for my children, myself and my customers.
What is in your background that makes you qualified in the domain of cosmetics?
Being from Haiti, I grew up in a pretty much organic environment. Organic is second nature to us in the islands. I grew up watching my mother and father both mix natural remedies around the house for everything from a common cold to hair treatments and pomades.
I started officially mixing products at the age of 18. Over the years, I researched and studied natural raw materials and their benefits all on my own. Truly Natural and Organic is a popular concept nowadays and universities are now incorporating it into their curriculum. Believe it or not, I did not study chemistry, and yet I have been invited by chemists to speak at various functions because they want the key of what I do; I have been offered jobs to work with companies to help them go green. Raw natural ingredients–olive oil, shea butter, aloe vera, avocado, carrot, oatmeal, cinnamon, and so on–make sense to me. Chemicals don’t. I understand what chemical ingredients such as Petroleum, Sodium Laurel and Lauryl Sulfates, Disodium EDTA, polymers, silicones, and glycols do, but don’t understand why caring companies would use them in cosmetics when there are natural ingredients that give better results and are good for you and the environment.
What are the advantages of using organic products?
Organic is going with nature. The ingredients are in their purest form and retain all of their vitamins and minerals and therefore deliver all of the results. They do not contain a bunch of chemicals and pesticides residue. They are better for you—inside and out. Our skin is our biggest organ. If you take the time to eat Organic produce, you should also take the time to use Organic products. It is more than a choice, it’s a lifestyle.
The last time we talked, you were expanding your skin care line into its own brand…
Yes. That line is called Nicaisse Organics, after my late father, who used to take me to the health food stores on the weekends and have me read up on herbs and natural remedies. He really nurtured and fueled my passion for natural alternatives.
For her hair, Fayola uses the Shea Butter Curl defining cream, the Essential Scalp Serum, the Shea Butter Hair and Scalp Conditioner. For her skin, she loves the Vanilla Bean and Peppermint Soap, the Kokum Butter Body Treatment, the Shea Butter Body Milk in Lavender, and the Lemon Ginger body scrubs. All these products are available online at Ebene Naturals.