As a young woman, I am finally learning about the importance of caring for my body.
Small habits such as moisturizing my skin, washing my face and hair have become routines that I cherish.
For a woman of the African diaspora (Caribbean, Africa, Americas and Europe), beauty is constantly politicized and often requires us to change everything we were born with. This is costly, and damages our self-perception.
I have spent considerable time remembering my experiences as a young woman. Being teased (albeit jokingly) by other women and men who looked like me for my lips, my figure and my hair texture has allowed me to scrutinize the habits I’ve had and notice the impact it has on the youth of today.
Social media - which was once a source of skin, body and hair positivity for me - has become heavily filtered and algorithmic. These filters, promoting lighter skin, unnatural and disfigured bodies has an impact on younger women, who are convinced that the only way to meet the standard of beauty is to spend money on altering their current state.
There have been modern day movements to highlight and celebrate people’s differences, but unfortunately their “other-ness” is what is praised. Why is it that beautiful people are only being celebrated because they don’t meet a conventional western standard of beauty?
Young black women, like myself, are consuming this information, learning that the only way to express their value is through consumption in an attempt to change and not through creation.
I wanted to send a different message, so I created Sugar Plum Scrubs. Sugar Plum Scrubs began as a creative hobby of mine, and when I started piecing the brand together I used influences from the Caribbean and Africa. It was the only natural source as ‘black’ womanhood is infinitely tied to Africa and her creations of which I am one.
Peppermint, tea tree, nutmeg, and cinnamon are common in herbal teas, juices and various foods all over the Caribbean. They have also been known to have healing qualities & aid digestion.
I’ll never forget my grandmother using peppermint on my bellybutton to cure a stomach ache, or my mother boiling cinnamon or lemongrass as an air purifier.
Fevergrass (Lemongrass), Oranges, Lemons, Limes and Coconuts grow all throughout the Caribbean. These fruits in all their forms are nourishing and accessible at various markets even right on our family yard in Barbados.
I remember walking through the streets of Kingston, Dakar, and Nairobi and seeing women and men selling fruits, vegetables and handmade products - a true vision of entrepreneurship in motion.
That is the essence of Sugar Plum Scrubs products. Basic herbs from our garden should be used to promote healthy living from the inside out. I want to encourage self-determination and ownership by building trust within a community who has time and time again been told that the traditions they value come second to western activities.
Instead of purchasing lotions and soaps containing unfamiliar ingredients, many of which are toxic and gene altering, I have chosen to go back to my roots and use the foods and oils that nourished my ancestors and made me strong.
Once I did this, I found a sense of peace. These herbs have a way of creating a connection between Africa and the Caribbean. Countless customers have been introduced to my products because of an understanding of plants and how they encourage healing.
Once I started to see this community, I recognized we need to see ourselves and our history in the products we use . If we aren’t represented in the advertising of a product, it’s clear that we were never thought of in the formulation of the product. I have enough confidence in these products to use them on my skin and on the skin of the women in my family.
Community is a priority for me, and it hurts when members of the community hurt themselves through harsh criticisms of their skin, hair and body. Sugar Plum Scrubs exists to halt that behaviour, and replace it with softer and kinder self-adorning rituals.
How better to begin those rituals than through the application of sensitive products to one’s skin, that in turn create a gentle and sensual experience for all involved.
Welcome to Sugar Plum Scrubs. Here we self-adorn and self-love accordingly - and in turn we radiate love passionately.
Sugar Plum Scrubs