20 years ago, I was diagnosed with severe nut allergies and eczema. At its worst, people have pointed it out in public, called me contagious and made me feel completely alienated, all of which has been etched in my memory and has contributed to how I feel about my reflection. If you looked at me now, you wouldn’t even imagine how bad my skin was, but unfortunately, the damage has been done and my mind has taken a while to catch on. I have become increasingly self conscious with age, despite my skin being in a much better place and I now notice regular patterns of what triggers my mental health and how that links to my skin. After looking into psychodermatology and how our minds have such a powerful impact, it was almost a penny drop moment for me. Stress is one of the biggest triggers for my skin & since being able to address my lack of confidence and take better care of my mind, as a result, I have reduced my eczema or at least the impact it has on me. Identifying my mindset and working through it has been the single most effective “beauty treatment” I have tried. If you could bottle it, you would!
I started to take an interest in the beauty industry at around 15. At the first opportunity, I went straight to beauty college and got a job in a salon! Being around it all really solidified my passion. I started personally exploring new products. It didn’t take long before I gave up and went straight back to the pharmacy. I think I felt let down. In my mind, I glamorised the beauty industry and really saw it’s potential to make people feel amazing, but I wasn’t getting any of the results. I began looking into beauty standards, who they benefitted and who they represented because a lot of the slogans & campaigns weren’t resonating with me. I have seen campaigns saying “now I have a reason to look in the mirror” and I have seen relentless comments and opinions mostly about the appearance of women and I just feel disappointed. That isn’t what the beauty industry is about! There is beauty in building peoples confidence, supporting expression, kindness and freedom to decide what it all means to you. I don’t believe that is truly being championed.
When looking into starting Exentrique, one of the biggest things for me was wanting to create a product that didn’t “alienate” anyone. I wanted a basic range that just ticked boxes for as many people as possible, without compromising. I read best selling product reviews and gathered the feedback which included weather protective, scent & quality, took it to a chemist and they began working on the formulations. As I started to develop the brand, I really saw a need to keep the emphasis on the power of mental health and “believing in your own beauty”. I think a whole new issue is arising with social media and the impact influencers are having on how companies position themselves. Now more than ever, I want to create a brand that champions inner beauty over external beauty and lets the consumer decide what that means to them.
I decided to do the BeExentrique campaign across all products because actions do speak louder than words. I identified my key values as mental health, gender equality and fewer inequalities.
To summarise, my mission is to build a beauty brand of inclusive products that champion the power of mindset , that challenges construct of beauty standards and that provides a safe space for diversity.
- Danika Woods