Absolutely Amazing: Elements of Aliel's LaKeisha A Entsuah
LaKeisha A Entsuah is the Founder and CEO of Elements of Aliel, a company that is fast becoming an industry darling, thanks no doubt in part to its eco-chic-sprinkled zest for guiding beauty mavens towards healthy, happy skin.
Seeing as we are also pretty obsessed with ending up in the "healthy, happy skin" spot, we thought it would be a fabulous idea to chat with LaKeisha. And, good news alert, it really, really was!
We adore the fact that the name of your brand is a nod to your daughter! Did it take a long time to come up with this?
It took several tries over several months before I got it right. Elements of Aliel is the third name that I had come up with. The first two were either too long or didn’t tell the story I was trying to tell. I knew from the very beginning that I wanted to incorporate her name in some way without using it specifically.
Spelling it backwards was the simplest solution to that issue. The "Elements" are the foundation of who we are as a brand; born from a need, inspired by my daughter, embracing my family’s culture all while serving a greater mission.
Your commitment to health AND beauty is fantastic (as is your quote "Health is beauty and beauty without health is fleeting.") How did this dedication come to be?
I have always had a passion for health. Like a lot of kids, I wanted to be a doctor when I grew up. Instead, I spent 12 years in the pharmaceutical and clinical research field surrounded by innovations in health care. I am a bit of a science geek and that world was almost perfect for me. It feed my desire to make things better but it didn’t answer the why. Why do we need so much innovation? Where did we miss the mark in taking care of ourselves?
My passion for beauty is really an extension of my passion for health. People would always ask me what I used on my skin. I was fortunate enough to skip the skin challenges that plague most teenagers. Right up until giving birth, my routine consisted of Ivory soap and whatever lotion I happened to be using on the rest of my body. I didn’t have a secret formula or a special product. What I have come to realize is what other people saw as the work of the right products was actually the results of a healthy lifestyle.
I don’t believe you can sustain beauty without sustaining health. I feel like if you make a serious commitment to one, you are inevitably making a commitment to the other. Health is at the forefront of what I do, the beauty part is a really awesome bonus feature.
What are your three all-time favorite ingredients?
Narrowing my favorites down to three is difficult. There are so many plants, herbs and foods that are beneficial to the skin. I absolutely love oatmeal as a skincare ingredient; it is one of those things that people have been using forever. It has so many uses and is great for all skin types. The best thing about oatmeal is that it is easily accessible; it is on the shelf of every supermarket.
Another one of my favorites is African Black Soap; it has been a beauty staple for the people of West Africa for generations. Each West African country has its own version, with the most popular being from Ghana. It is made of simple ingredients and can be used by the whole family; it’s the only soap I have used on my daughter since she was about six months old. Anything that the whole family can use is a must have in my book.
My final favorite pick would have to be hibiscus. Like oatmeal it has many uses but more importantly it is full of vitamins that are essential for healthy skin. It also smells great and can be used to make tea which is delicious. It is one of those ingredients that can support skin health from the inside out.
Tell us about your day-to-day beauty routine!
I like to keep things as simple as possible when it comes to my routine. The reality of an active child means self-care is sometimes a luxury. If the process is going to take more than 5 to 10 minutes, I have no interest. In the morning, I cleanse and moisturize; that’s it, two products and I’m done. In the evening, I cleanse two to three times per week and I mix in a face scrub with my cleanser to exfoliate. I don’t moisturize in the evening, I like to let my skin breath. The only exception is if it is extra dry in the winter months. In a lot of ways, I am a minimalist and I think my skin care routine reflects that.
Are there any skincare myths or beliefs that you just can't help but roll your eyes at?
I spend a lot of time rolling my eyes at the thought that a cream, mask, or peel is going to magically undo the damage of bad habits. While the right product or combination of products can help correct most issues, those are short term solutions. Think about it, if you have persistently dry skin yet you only drink two cups of water a day, you will always need heavy moisturizers. On the flip side, if you are adequately hydrated your skin wouldn’t need as much external moisture.
Anything else you'd like to add?
The more we begin to think about skincare as an extension of our overall health the better off we will be. Every time I formulate a new product, I think about its impact on your overall health. I have noticed a shift to a more inside out approach to skincare and I believe it is for the better. The better we take care of our bodies, the better our bodies will take care of our skin. I am hopeful that we are all trending towards skincare that is truly simplified.
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