Last week Magatte Wade, the founder of back-to-basics skincare line Tiossan, paid a special visit to Birchbox HQ. Not only did we get the chance to sniff, dab, and blend Tiossan’s all-natural products firsthand, but we also got a mini skincare lesson direct from Senegal-born Wade—whose radiant complexion, we might add, speaks volumes about her skincare habits.
Having grown up among traditional Senegalese healers, Wade has always been fascinated by ancient knowledge of natural beauty aids. And her globetrotting ways—she’s lived everywhere from France to Silicon Valley—have given her a well-rounded perspective on what works (and what doesn’t). “It has been my little game to take the best of each culture and put them together in a combination that is mine,” she says. (Just one sniff of her sugar-infused Body Scrub, and we were itching to jump in the nearest shower for a test drive.)
And Tiossan’s mission extends way beyond skincare: 10% of profits are earmarked for founding innovative schools in Senegal. Wade aspires to use Montessori-style teaching methods to help unlock students’ creativity—and foster more of the entrepreneurial spirit she’s put to such beautiful use.
In addition to French-inspired fragrances, Tiossan’s products are based around three traditional Senegalese ingredients. Here, a quick primer on their skin-saving powers:
Organic aloe vera: This trusted succulent makes skin supple in two different ways: It has water to moisturize, and oil to hydrate—meaning it locks in the moisture that’s been added.
Organic unrefined shea butter: According to Wade, the unrefined version is ideal because it retains the built-in vitamins and fatty acids your skin needs. With extra fatty acid action, your skin’s elasticity and moisture levels get a boost.
Organic black seed oil: This powerhouse oil is a natural anti-inflammatory that’s renowned for its myriad healing properties. “The elders believe that it could cure anything—except for death,” says Wade. While death may be too much to ask, this antioxidant-rich balm packs a wrinkle-defying punch when applied to skin.
Want more Tiossan? Check out more products in the Birchbox Shop.
We don’t often come across a beauty brand that’s as diehard about using exclusively natural ingredients as Indie Lee. But when we heard the story of the founder, Indie Lee herself, it suddenly made sense. Back in 2009, Lee suffered a brain tumor that her doctors suggested could have been caused by environmental toxins. After her recovery, the former accountant completely changed gears and set out to create her own line of 100 percent natural and eco-friendly beauty products. Here, she sounds off on her beauty philosophy.
Why do you think that natural beauty products are so crucial?
Part of my mission is to help people understand that what they put on their bodies is just as important as what they put in them. Natural beauty products not only help you protect the environment—they help you take better care of your body and your health.
Here’s a major beauty myth: Natural products can’t hold up to traditional formulations in terms of performance. In reality, there are plenty of green brands that can deliver the same results—without any skin-irritating additives. Here are five must-try all-natural creations we’re crazy about:
We fell hard for Natalie Alcala last fall, when the LA-based writer and blogger spent a week guest blogging for us. In fact, we loved her posts so much that we asked her to be a contributing editor. In addition to blogging for us once a week, she’ll also be writing for the Birchbox Magazine and keeping us up to speed on all things fashion, beauty, and fun.
Photo: Stylo Girl
Although there are a host of fantastic beauty products on the market today, sometimes it’s nice to go back to basics and utilize the foods that contain natural beauty benefits. After you’ve graduated from the good old cucumber slice as a natural eye de-puffer trick, there are tons of other earth-friendly recipes out there that can be executed using yummy products from your fridge. Who knew that playing with your food could be a good thing? Here are four fun treatments to whip up at home:
This week’s guest blogger, Vida Lee, hits close to home for us—literally! She’s a beauty guru based in our hometown: New York City. Aside from being a product addict, she’s also a medical school student (whoa!) who makes time on the side for her pretty blog, P.S. It’s Vida. Over the next few days, the smarty savant will be sharing her greatest tips and tricks for staying prepped and primed for summer.
I’m not one to fuss about natural beauty products, but when a great one comes my way, I’m all about it. One of my recent finds is Indigo Wild’s Zum Bar. This all-natural soap is made from goat’s milk that balances out your pH, so it doesn’t doesn’t dry your skin out or leave it oily.
By now we know how good yogurt can be for our diet and digestion (yes, I’m looking at you, Jamie Lee Curtis). But a new skin care line called Dairyface — yes, really — is bringing awareness to the skin healing properties of yogurt. Since I’ve tried weirder things to combat acne, I’m not opposed to the idea.
We’re getting ready for tonight’s Twitter party with Weleda and The Gloss and thinking up our biggest natural beauty questions and concerns. (For one thing, is there such thing as a stink-eliminating natural deodorant?) Now it’s your turn: post your questions or concerns, along with your Twitter handle (or full name), in the comments below. We’ll answer them during our party!
Remember: Log on tonight from 7-8:30pm and follow @Weleda, @TheGlossDotCom, and @Birchbox - Tweet us with the hashtag #gonatural and you could win one of three sweet Weleda prize packs! Full deets here.
See you tonight!
We’ll be giving away three of these awesome Weleda sets, each worth $95.
On Twitter, that is. Next Thursday, May 5th, we’re teaming up with Weleda and The Gloss for a digital natural beauty chat. Here’s how it works: From 7-8:30 pm, experts from The Gloss (@theglossdotcom) and Weleda (@weleda), plus Birchbox (@birchbox), will be answering all your burning questions. Simply follow us (if you don’t already) and tweet us your questions using the hashtag #gonatural.
Want to know which plant-based ingredients cure acne? We can tell you! Hunting for an eco-friendly cleanser? We have ideas. Befuddled by parabens? We’ll explain. We’ll also be giving away three fantastic Weleda skincare sets during party. Each includes a Gentle Cleansing Milk, a Refining Toner, Wild Rose Smoothing Facial Lotion, and Wild Rose Smoothing Night Cream for a total value of $95. Everyone who uses the hashtag #gonatural will be entered to win.
It’s not quite a Cinco de Mayo fiesta but we highly encourage sipping a margarita while we talk all things beauty. Tweet you next week!
In the meantime, read about Weleda and their plant-tastic products.
Om Aroma Co.’s darling travel kit.
Now that we have our new Foursquare page, we’re even more intent on scouting out the city’s (and country’s) best spots. This past weekend, Hayley stumbled (ok, walked by) Om Aroma and Co., an eco-friendly beauty lounge and shop in the West Village. Founder Angela Jia Kim is relentless about healthy skincare and formulates all her products using organic natural ingredients. No parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate, mineral oil, synthetics…the list goes on. The locally made line includes skincare, body products, and candles — we are itching to try them out, especially the amazing looking Red Raspberry Day Serum and Pumpkin Seed Night Serum. We’ll be back soon for her signature OmYoga Facial (sucker for anything with yoga in the title), but for now we’re going to give Kim’s one-minute facial a try.
Brush up on your green beauty know-how with our crib sheet.
Check out some of our favorite skincare in the Birchbox Shop.