I am back! Long time, few posts. One to be exact. My vacation in Barbados started exactly a month and a day ago. It’s been a challenge readjusting to not eating fried plantains every morning and bathing in tide pools at my leisure, but I’m catching my rhythm (fall 2016 is full of life changes, which I’ll share with you soon). Barbados was enchanting, a trip I will never forget. And to keep up the rich spirit of the Caribbean, here’s a feature with Trinidadian artisan Ginger-vee from Champ de Fleurs Skin Care.
Introduce yourself & why you do what you do.
My name is Ginger-vee and I’m a natural skin care advocate and creator of Champ de Fleurs Skin Care (Field of Flowers), otherwise known as CDF Skin Care. I’m a Caribbean woman from Trinidad and Tobago living in Chicago. Throughout my preteen to early 20s in Trinidad, I had such a hard time with people teasing me because of my acne and oily skin. It stopped me from loving freely and feeling confident each and every day. After a few years living in the U.S. (my late twenties), I stepped out of my comfort zone and had conversations with women about their skin care rituals and needs. Their feedback was the jolt I needed to start my business. I found that most of the conversations were the same: a need for natural skin care products that addressed acne, acne scars, dry skin, and sensitive skin. After graduating from William Paterson University, there was no better time to start my skin care business and care for women struggling with the same issues I had. I’m in it to help women become an even more powerful version of themselves through self-love and self-care.
Describe what sets CDF Skin Care apart from other skin care brands?
CDF Skin Care was born out of pain and built on making natural skin care products. In the month of October, I am shifting my focus to be more than just that. Women desire to feel confident, inspire others, and increase their self-esteem in areas such as relationships, entrepreneurship, and health. I want to educate women on the many ways to take care for their skin while feeling confident and balanced through it all.
Let’s talk quality standards. What ingredients won’t you find in CDF Skin Care?
- Dibutyl phthalate – an endocrine and reproductive disrupter/toxicant
- Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives: diazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, quaternium-15 and methenamine – releases small amounts of formaldehyde into skin that causes cancer
- Mineral oil
- Sulfates – contains 1,4-dioxane that may cause cancer.
- Triclosan (antibacterial agent) – said to contribute to antibiotic resistance in bacteria
- Siloxane – ingredients that end in -methicone/siloxane
- PEG compounds/propylene glycol – can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane. This type of chemical may cause cancer
- Parabens – endocrine disrupters
- DEA – a chemical harmful to wildlife, and human health
What were some of your negative experiences with skin care products in the past?
When I struggled with severe acne, I was prescribed a few products that claimed to be gentle on the skin. Each product in the set caused burning, irritation, and extreme dryness. I know for sure that sulfates and the chemicals listed above were formulated in those products. It was not a joyous day for me, waking up with red, swollen skin and facing the world. It made me question the claims on product labels and larger companies slapping “all natural” on their packaging.
What are you adamant about including in your products that you don’t normally see in other products?
I’m all about high-quality butters and oils, but I’ve noticed that they have limitations. I get excited when I discover a fruit extract, a CO2 extract, an oil absolute, or a liposome from a fruit or vegetable that boosts the hydrating, exfoliating, and cleansing properties of other natural ingredients in the product. My recent favorite ingredient is raw cacao absolute, which you can find in The Cacao Brightening Facial Scrub.
Your products are chock-full with antioxidants, which is superb. Was this something you realized was missing on the shelves?
I didn’t pay much attention to infusing antioxidants in my products. When I focus on a key benefit or outcome of a product, other great ones come along for the healthy skin care ride.
Why take the artisanal route vs. mass production? Are you open to mass production when the demand grows?
I’ve been told to not starve the market and mass produce, yet my heart loves the artisanal and boutique/intimate side of my business. Customers do appreciate and feel the care when they open their packages.
What skin care concerns does CDF Skin Care address?
You can find products for acne, dry skin, oily skin, and scarring.
GETTING INTO THE MIX
The Charcoal Corrector + Liquid Flowers: Can this mask replace your cleanser? Why not premix these two products?
You can replace your cleanser a couple times a week with The Charcoal Corrector + Liquid Flowers. However, this mask contains clay, and frequent use in a short space of time may dry the skin. All clays are known for their cleansing, detoxifying, and exfoliating properties, but you should keep in mind that if it’s used often, then a hydrating toner and moisturizer should follow.
I want my customers to use the mask immediately after mixing the Liquid Flowers and Charcoal Corrector together, so their skin can benefit from the clarifying properties in the charcoal, algae, and vitamin C. Each is all activated when moistened, and if they are not used immediately, their properties will not be effective on the skin.
I choose not to premix both products, because I would have to add a chemical preservative, which I am unwilling to do.
The Summer Mint: Is this formula oil-free?
Yes, this is an oil-free formula with alpha hydroxy extracts to clarify oily, acneic skin while exfoliating dead-skin buildup.
Acne Purifying Night Mask: What is special about lemon steam distilled fruit?
The steam distilled method is simply the process of oil being extracted with steam to remove all of the properties out of the plant. It is good to note that lime and lemon steam distilled fruit are both added for antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits. This means–combined with the other ingredients listed in the night mask–it helps reduce inflamed acne while killing bacteria.
The Superfood Body Oil: What was your approach in making this body oil and how does warm skin activate this oil?
I love body oil, yet I despise a greasy, oily feel and look on the skin. I wouldn’t mind an oily look if I was shooting a workout video, but it’s not something that appeals to me. So, I combined a bunch of oils that were power-packed with properties to reduce flaky, dry skin and one that absorbs quickly when applied and even quicker after jumping out of the shower. The warmer the skin, the faster the product absorbs. I wanted the power players to come together to nourish dehydrated skin at its deepest layers, especially in those warm moments (getting out of the bathtub, shower, or summer heat).
Coconut Body Cream: This product looks delicious! What do you think is the key to making a body moisturizer that isn’t greasy? How is this different from other body whips?
It’s a balance between light oil, butters, and aloe juice. Butters and oils feel great on their own, but can sit on top of the skin, creating a barrier for water loss. However, when rubbed off you’ll notice your skin is back to needing moisture, so the key is to keep the extracts high and the butters and oils low.
The Coconut Body Cream is different from the body whips, because body whips are sensitive to heat, causing melting in the jar. Body whips are whipped with air to make them fluffy, but the downside is melting. I have seen some with additional ingredients or shipped with cold packs to prevent melting. I’ve tried my hand at it and I have a love-hate relationship with it.
You’re not going to find any melting or any greasy feel with The Coconut Body Cream, only light, nutrient-rich hydration to restore dry skin.
Extracts & Oils: How do you decide between using an extract vs. an oil?
It depending on the product purpose and customer needs. For example, I wanted loads of extracts instead of lots of oils in The Coconut Body Cream. I wanted it to be light and filled with extracts known to calm itching, reduce inflammation and flaking, and protect the skin from everyday stressors.
With all of my soaps, I can add extracts, but it’s still unclear whether its properties are beneficial in the bar after curing for 6 weeks-9 months. In this case, oils are beneficial and are great for lathering and conditioning dry skin. I try my very best to use oils that are lower in iodine and higher in saturation, so my products will lasts longer and not require refrigeration.
pH: Why is pH important?
PH is so important for holding moisture and protecting the skin from unwanted bacteria. When this is compromised, the skin begins to lose its fight in protecting the skin. Compromised skin can result in oiliness, irritation, redness, and dryness, so it is important to use products and end your skin care ritual with a product that is pH-balanced. There are products low on the pH scale (2.8-3) that do help with exfoliating and unclogging congested pores. Alpha hydroxy acids are known to do this.
Preservation: What can customers do to better preserve the efficacy and shelf life of your products
Make sure your hands are clean before entering a jar and your face is clean before product application. Storing products in cool areas with low light is important. Never place products back into their packaging.
Will there be a facial moisturizer in the making?
Yes, there surely will.
Share your skin care regimen.
Once a week (Sundays) I go through a six-step process: steam, cleanse, exfoliate, mask, tone, and moisturize. It’s that one day to pamper myself. During the week, I keep it at three steps: cleansing, toning, and moisturizing. I do sneak in a mask and exfoliate at least once a week.
Philanthropy: I see a percentage of sales support children’s education. Can you tell us more about this?
I grew up in a family that believes in educating oneself and using that education to help others. My mom is my hero, because under not so great conditions she was able to provide me with an education. She was unable to get the support for hers and in turn made sure that I had access to it even while she was unemployed.
When I started my business that I felt the need to give back to children, teachers, and families by donating a portion of sales to further education.
What’s on your vanity and what’s in your purse?
I rarely carry a purse, if ever. My vanity is void of anything. I would say that my medicine cabinet–absent of medication–holds bottles and jars of products I have in my shop and testers of things to come.
What are your best sellers and what are your favorites?
My limited edition soaps, face mask, toner, cleanser, and body creams are my best sellers.
Where can we find CDF Skin Care?
You can find me at Shopcdfskincare.com.
What skin care tip do you live by?
Switch up your products as the seasons roll by. No sense in using a cleanser for oily skin when your skin is dry in the winter months.
Anything coming soon?
I got my hands on oil extracted from coffee. Maybe a coffee body scrub that doesn’t leave an oily residue on the skin yet moisturizes. Is that possible? We shall see. An effective cleanser for combination skin, dry/sensitive skin, and a new and improved Summer Mint toner.
What would you like to see on Melanglow?
A podcast or better yet, a video skin series.