The beauty industry landscape is a highly competitive one. Typically, foreign-made commercial brands dominate the market. The shelves featuring hair and skin products of most stockists reflect this. Although mainly top quality, some merchandise has not taken into account the unique beauty needs and issues that often occur for Afro hair and certain skin types in a tropical climate. Recently, the local brand Ettenio has gained a cult following. The product line is organic plus competitively priced. The brainchild, CEO and founder of Ettenio is Jamaican businesswoman, Antoinette Davis, who has blended her science background and corporate acumen sprinkled with an innate intuition to tap into people’s needs. Ettenio is a special product line tailored and inclusive for all. We caught up with Antoinette for a quick chat.
Here at Nyam & Trod, we believe what we put on our skin and in our hair is just as important for health and wellness as what we consume. What inspired you to start your brand Ettenio and what impact does it have on the environment?
I had a personal drive and determination to grow long, healthy hair, as the products I used were not helping me. I decided to do my own research and began experimenting. Ettenio, began as a kitchen experiment. My friend had a child whose hair would not grow. I created a scalp restorer as my first ever product. The first batch was rather crude, it had peppermint and thyme oil included where you could actually see the leaves! It worked though. Now, our products are sourced islandwide and we are expanding to the international market
Many women of African and mixed heritage descent in the Diaspora are now transitioning from chemically relaxed hair to natural. Can you share some tips on the process and how to cope during the transition? Which of your hair care products would you recommend?
I would say to anyone transitioning from chemically relaxed to natural hair, wash weekly with our Clean Start reparative shampoo, which contains the highly-prized Jamaican black castor oil. The castor oil hydrates dry damaged hair and improves manageability while gently cleansing the hair. Follow this with Ettenio’s Moisture Infusion deep penetrating conditioner, formulated to infuse brittle damaged hair with moisture elements. Castor oil cleans the scalp of impurities while honey, aloe and botanicals extracts give a soothing nourishing penetration to each strand. Next, use Ettenio’s Free at Last detangling leave-in treatment which contains broccoli seed oil to gently untangle hair, allowing for an easy comb through, while conditioning the hair. I would also recommend Ettenio’s Scalp Restore which is a natural blend of Jamaican oils, that will stimulate hair growth, improve circulation, thicken hair and penetrate deep into the scalp to nourish and restore. It will also assist with hair loss that may occur during transition. Apply to the scalp at least three times per week and massage thoroughly for a few minutes.
Many Jamaicans have gorgeous skin and hair, blessed from the sun and the consumption of delicious fruits year-round, however, there are suffering from acne, eczema and other skin issues who are largely frustrated by what’s on offer in the skincare industry. What separates your products from the rest?
Ettenio is a ‘green’ company which believes in taking care of the environment and as such does not use harmful chemicals. Vegan friendly. Our products are all natural, free from sulphates, parabens and silicones, substances, which can irritate sensitive skin. We also cater for the entire family. This has created high demand, hence the growing popularity of our line of products.
We love that you have a kids line! What motivated you to tap into this market?
People often asked for products to help detangle their children’s hair. Another problem area was eczema in the scalp, so we created a line to address these issues.