Onyinyechi Udo-Chijioke suffered from acne throughout her teens and early 20s. Despite trying many different big name brands on sale in her native Nigeria, nothing worked. Then, a friend recommended an African soap company. Onyii said:
“It is one of the more natural soaps on sale back home. I’d used something similar when I was younger and found it very drying to my skin so I wasn’t too sure, but this brand was different, it contained essential oils. I used it for a month and my acne went away completely. I was shocked!”
This experience inspired Onyii to want to find out more about making her own skincare and haircare products. Online research into products that might suit her naturally coiled hair and acne-prone skin led her to discover the School of Natural Skincare – the world’s premier online natural skincare formulation school, based in the UK.
A blueprint to manufacture
Onyii signed up for the Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation and the Diploma in Natural Haircare Formulation. She said:
“I needed to get the right blueprint to manufacture according to industry standards for skincare and haircare products. Also, I needed to spend less time doing trial and error on my own formulas. And it’s been so worth it!”
Control over ingredients
For her, the best part about learning to make her own products is the fact that she has total control over both the ingredients in her product and the quality. She explained:
“Most shops have one at the expense of the other.”
Onyii is frustrated by what she feels major brands are doing by way of ‘ingredient washing’; in other words deliberately leaving customers unsure of precisely what their products contain. She said:
“My inquisitive mind wants to know exactly how things are made and making my own products allows me to do that.”
Onyii has launched her own brand called Onyii’s Cosmetics. She particularly loves her Onyii’s Hand and Body Cream as it took some time to perfect the formula but it was worth the effort. “I am very proud of how nourishing and moisturising it is for the hands,” she said. Another favourite is Onyii’s Hair Food which is “chock-full of hair-loving natural extracts and nature-derived ingredients”. It sounds amazing!
Fascinating and rewarding
Learning how to make her own products has been a fascinating and rewarding process. Onyii explained:
“It has made me explore the variety of natural and nature-derived ingredients available to me as a formulator and it’s also made me understand the combination of various ingredients that can be used to tackle skin and hair problems.”
Nature has the answers
Onyii explained that, while ‘natural’ can mean different things to different people, for her it is crucial that all of her ingredients are nature-derived. She believes that:
“Nature has the answers if you’re patient enough to look.”
Patience has sometimes been a bit of a challenge for Onyii and she recalls being so impatient to try a new formula that she made a 1kg batch before the product was fully tested and refined! It is no surprise, therefore, that her advice for anyone who aspires to make their own natural cosmetic formulations is to be patient and persevere. She said:
“It may take some trial and error to finally get that ‘holy grail’ product under your belt but it’s totally worth it. It’s extremely fun and empowering to know how to make your own products.”
Launching a commercial business
While lockdown has been a global challenge, Onyii decided to use that time to fine-tune her formulas and undertake further study. Now, after formulating products for family and friends for several years, she is on the brink of launching a commercial business and she is looking forward to the next step.
Like any new venture it has not been without its challenges, notably working full-time at the same time as developing new formulas and deciding on a promotional strategy for the business. But Onyii is excited to be able to bring natural skincare and haircare to a wider audience, plus the chance to begin earning some money for her endeavours.
Set to grow
In addition to formulating products, she uses what she learned at the School of Natural Skincare to educate friends and customers about the kind of products that might work best for their particular skin or hair type, as well as which commercial products to steer away from.
Onyii believes that natural skincare and haircare will continue to grow as people become increasingly aware of the overload of chemicals which may have a long-term detrimental impact to the skin and general health.
“I believe we have treasures in nature and combining that with science is the most powerful way to achieve success and produce effective skincare and haircare.”
If you would like to find out more about Onyii’s brand, Onyii’s Cosmetics, check out her Facebook page: www.facebook.com/onyiiscosmetics.
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