The new word in luxury skincare for women of colour by Nigerian entrepreneur Ozohu Adoh


In the Nigerian dialect of Ebira, Epara roughly translates as ‘to cocoon’, which is exactly what Ozohu Adoh hopes her new luxury skincare brand for women of colour does. Namely wrap you up in nourishing, replenishing comfort. Just launched in Harrods, the face and body collection has been handcrafted using organic African ingredients and botanical actives to cater to the specific needs of darker skintones. “It’s a myth that black skin is so resilient,” Adoh says. “Wrinkles aren’t such a worry but you do have to think about hyper pigmentation and dryness and it’s important to protect your skin from damage caused by both free radicals and air pollution.”

Born in the north of Nigeria, Adoh attained her MBA at Oxford University and was a strategy advisor in the oil and gas industries until her passion for skincare sparked an entrepreneurial ‘eureka’ moment. For a long time she suffered from a severe skin sensitivity that no dermatologist could diagnose so she tried everything to cure it from steroid creams to expensive cosmetics - to no avail. Eventually she realised that there were no existing quality products on the market that catered to her needs, and so she decided to start making her own.

“Before clothes, jewellery, shoes or make-up, it’s your skin that must first be elegant”

Adoh went back to basics with simple, trusted ingredients such as coconut oil, shea butter, aloe vera and moringa oil – all ethically sourced from across Africa. She went on to research other essential oils and plant extracts and soon hit on face and body creams that worked wonders. Within just a few weeks, the irritability had gone and her face was soft and clear. Soon friends and family were asking what her secret was. “What I found is that it was pure ingredients coming out of Africa that cured my skin,” she recalls. “That told me that what nature has provided within the African continent is suited for women of colour.”

Her next step was to work closely with a lab in the UK to super charge her methods with advanced scientific formulations and develop a complete range of products that not only remained free from synthetics, mineral oils and harsh chemicals but could also pass clinical trials with flying colours. Key products now include the Comforting Body Cream, Moisturing Face Cream, Brightening Night Balm, Hydrating Serum and Balancing Face Oil, which all fight imperfections while subtle, holistic aromas such as neroli, ylang ylang and frankincense sooth and pamper.

“Before clothes, jewellery, shoes or make-up, it’s your skin that must first be elegant,” says Adoh. “When women of colour use Epara, I want them to look and feel amazing because they know they’ve chosen a brand that is customised especially for them and can go out into the world each day exuding confidence.”

Words Helen Jennings

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Published on 15/05/2017