Spotlight is a regular series where we feature a prominent person in the style scene. This month we speak with Adja Sy, founder of lalu.
For those who don’t know you, What’s lalu?
lalu is a natural skincare line made of 100 percent natural ingredients such as butters and essential oils. Most of the ingredients are actually edible!
How did you start making natural cosmetics?
I’ve been interested in cosmetics and body care products for a few years now, and have always liked to experiment with ingredients and make my own creams. When I moved to Shanghai it was a hassle to find products that worked for me – particularly since I’m dark skinned and suffer from a few allergies. Many products have whitening additives here, which made the quest for stuff I could use even more difficult. That’s why I decided to start making my own products, first for myself and then for others. Lalu was born one year ago.
You recently launched your Weidian store. What can we find on it?
You can find my entire range of products, from body creams to face masks and scrubs! Now it is much easier to find me and order.
How do you choose your ingredients and blends?
I wanted lalu products to look like food and remind us of it. After all, it is food for our skin. For fragrances, I mostly use scents I'm familiar with or love, although some are seasonal and can change throughout the year. For the bases I use a lot of shea butter, which is one of the best moisturizers you can find, and it is only produced in Africa. Coming from Senegal, I had to put it into my products – I have been raised with it, or should I say dipped in it since birth.
Any product you tried making that didn’t work out?
My first creams and lip balms were a disaster! They were so hard that I couldn’t even break them; it was a complete mess… That is when I learned that respecting scales and recipes are very important for creating consistent, high quality products.
Give us three beauty tips to keep a healthy glow.
1. Apply a weekly face mask to get rid of all the toxins and impurities piled up during the week.
2. Exfoliate. Removing dead skin is key to maintaining a healthy glow.
3. Moisturize, nourish and hydrate!! I can’t repeat myself enough.
What’s your personal beauty routine?
I like having my once-a-week scrub time – it is incredibly relaxing, and my skin is so smooth and smells amazing afterwards. On a daily basis, I just apply my lalu face cream and the coffee eye serum to help [reduce] my eye bags (I seriously look like a panda without a concealer but now it is getting much better now) on a daily basis. I also put a lot of body cream on. I can’t get out of the house without being all covered in cream.
What are you currently working on?
Building the brand and its reputation. I’m also redesigning the packaging, working on a proper website and simply expanding the label. I’m basically going from “want-repreneur” to being a [fully-fledged] entrepreneur.
The one beauty product you couldn’t live without is…
Lip balm!!! I just can’t. I am having a panic attack just thinking about losing it.