Nancy Twine Image Credit: Supplied

For natural beauty entrepreneur Nancy Twine, passion is what gave her the push to leave her job at Goldman Sachs and start haircare brand Briogeo. She entered a niche but growing market for ‘clean’, eco-friendly beauty with a plan to give people products that work without harsh chemicals. As the brand officially launches in the UAE, Twine talks to Gulf News tabloid! about her inspiration and why natural beauty is the future.

Dubai is such a multi-cultural place and people love taking care of themselves in terms of skincare and haircare. How can Briogeo tap into that?
So we are one of the only clean and natural haircare brands at Sephora in the UAE currently. Not only that, we are the only one that’s really catering to a diverse array of haircare needs. Whether your hair is wavy, curly, fine, thin, damaged, whether you have scalp concerns, we have clean solutions to address all of those concerns. And I think that’s really how we’re going to meet the needs of women [in Dubai]. I think that there is a renewed focus on using clean ingredients.

When it comes to haircare in the UAE there isn’t much information about natural products. Most people just go to the supermarket and buy whatever they see on the shelves. How do you think people should approach their haircare now?
I think that it’s really important to be mindful of the climate that you’re in. For example here the water is a big concern, it’s drying out the hair... You want to be very mindful about the products you’re putting on your hair. One of the things about Briogeo is that our entire product line is silicone free. When you mix poor quality water with silicones on the hair it can really cause detrimental build-up to the hair and scalp. So I think the women of this area need to be conscious about the types of ingredients that are using on their hair.

Let’s go back a bit. How did the brand start? Where did the idea come from?
I was actually inspired by my grandmother. She used to make all sorts of natural products on her farm in Virginia. She was a single mother bringing up eight children. One of the things she would do was she would harvest her own plants and fruits and distil her own extracts and oils, and she would use the extracts and oils to create her own personal care products for the family. Everything from soap to lotion to haircare products.

I started my career in finance. I was in finance for seven years and I realised that I really wasn’t passionate about what I was doing and that I wanted to go towards something that I was more passionate about. And at the time I had seen this big movement that was happening. You know, more and more products for beauty are becoming naturally focused. And I thought back to all of the great products my grandmother used to make I said I want to do something bigger than that with that idea. I want to actually work to create my own natural product line and actually have a viable business, something that my grandmother was never able to do.

You’re one of the few black women to be at the helm of such a brand. How does that feel? Do you feel a sense of responsibility to push forward this message of diversity?
Yeah absolutely. I mean, to me it doesn’t really feel so much like… a responsibility but really like an honour. An honour to be in a position to be able to authentically celebrate so many different hair textures in women, and not every brand can do that. You know, there is a trust factor. I’m not sure that if I wasn’t an African-American woman if I would have the same success creating such a diverse product line. So I think that it’s amazing that people trust me, that I created a brand that resonates with so many different ethnicities. I think it truly is something very, very unique that a lot of brands haven’t been able to accomplish.

What would you tell someone who was thinking about switching to natural line?
For me it’s pretty simple. The results are there. You will see instant results when you switch to a clean haircare product line. Removing things like silicones and sulphates from your hair regimen, it’s going to increase the softness, the vibrancy, the shine of your hair. It’s going to look healthier, it’s going to feel healthier, it’s going to grow more because it’s not all breaking off at the end, and because you don’t have the same level of build up on the scalp. All of these things are really going to help to contribute to achieving your most healthy hair state possible.

Do you think the natural beauty is picking up?
Oh, absolutely. 100 per cent they are. It’s a big change. People have experienced a lot of health issues. People have seen family members experience a lot of health issues. And people are really becoming cognizant of their lifestyle choices and how it can contribute to that. It’s not just what you put into your body it’s also that you put on your body for sure.

Briogeo is available in Sephora stores.