By Tina Hedges, Chief Recipe Keeper
Tina Hedges spent over two decades at some of the most well-known names in beauty and makeup. In fact, she’s pretty sure that you have at least one product she’s worked on in your makeup cabinet right now. Fast-forward to today, and Tina is the creator of LOLI, a DIY beauty box subscription filled with natural ingredients in their purest form — for skin, hair, and more. Loli subscribers can stir up Tina’s suggested beauty treatments with the recipes provided, or use each individual ingredient as they choose. Here, Tina explains why she made the decision to go au natural.
You’ve find inspiration for your beauty regimen in holistic health practices like Reiki, meditation, color therapy, and aromatherapy. How do these translate into beauty?
The past decade opened our minds to the understanding that food is medicine. Then in the last five years, we began to eat for beauty – from bone broth packed with collagen builders, to leafy greens full of antioxidants to repair the damage we inflicted on our complexions after years of unprotected sun exposure. In Eat Pretty, Jolene Hart says that science is finally offering the proof to what we already know — “We are what we eat” and that “Beauty is wellness and wellness is beauty.” I concur wholeheartedly.
Just look at the research findings of Masaru-Emoto in his published works “Messages in Water” - where he documents how crystal formations differ in water treated to prayer, affirmations, music, and more. Our bodies, made up of mostly water, are subject to energetic vibration that transforms into tangible and visible matter. Think to moments when you were uncontrollably happy, didn’t you also look fabulous — or alternatively, when you were scared, angry or nervous, didn’t that mysterious furrow wrinkle look deeper?
The complex pursuit of beauty (colored by age, personality, and experience) is synonymous with the quest for wellness, and is predicated on the balance of mind + body + soul. As the state of wellness vibrates within us, resonating throughout our physical and spiritual being, our beauty becomes tactile and more importantly, visible to everyone including ourselves. In each of LOLI’s beauty parcels, we include soul affirmations and benefits, as well as the more traditional skin, body, bath, and hair results that can be expected.
Why create do-it-yourself boxes vs. already-packaged natural beauty products?
Transparency and freshness (i.e., knowing the exact ingredients) are the key benefits of blending your own beauty. Throughout my career at the beauty biggies (many of the marquee name brands in your beauty medicine cabinet), I was always pushing the envelope and asking “why” – why did we need to use preservatives, why did we need to use formaldehyde (yes ladies, what we use to preserve our dearly departed is a main component in nail lacquer), why did we want to extend a product’s shelf life to 2+ years? Attempting to change the way we developed products, my first brand as an entrepreneur was a leader in the sulfate-free, vegan hair care market.
Then I had my “AHA moment” while sipping a cold-pressed juice and traipsing down the aisles of a specialty beauty store looking for the best argan oil. What I found were name brands and lots of packaging, but not a lot about the purity, freshness, and original sources of the ingredients. When I purchase olive oil at my gourmet supermarket, I can choose between Spain, virgin or extra virgin, first cold-pressed or unfiltered, third cold-pressed — which made me ask again, why not for beauty? Add in a dash of wanting to personalize my beauty products depending on my state of beauty wellness — do I need more or less of this help or that — and the idea of blending your own fresh beauty just seemed so obvious, a necessary and timely solution.
What are the benefits of mixing up your own beauty products?
Blending your own beauty with LOLI can be in your bathroom or kitchen, as we make it super easy for you. Many of the ingredients we send are also good-to-use just as they are, and we give you quick tips on how to mix or apply as is, for skin, body, bath, and hair. We also send you ingredients that allow you to personalize your own treatments, so you get multiple uses and benefits from each month’s LOLI beauty parcel.
How do you choose which ingredients to include in each box?
Each month, LOLI has a focus of either skin, body, bath, or hair — and then we choose a mind + body + soul theme that is complementary. We also look at the time of year, what is in season, and what is readily available for local, organic, or Fair Trade suppliers.
What is the handiest beauty tip you've come across in your extensive beauty and makeup experience?
This is one of my fave tips that helps save time on those days where your hair is dirty, and you have to get out the door in 10 minutes to an important meeting or date. Just pull your hair back in a pony, leaving your bangs or the hair that fringes your face, and about an inch of hair from your crown to the top of your head out of the elastic. Lean over your sink and with a tiny pea size dot of shampoo, wash the loose hair – do not add conditioner. Dry and style as usual. When you take the rest of your hair out of the pony, it wont look as dirty, as the hair in front and on top will be clean and bouncy. I think I have done this at least 100x in the past 5 years. Works every time. Spread the word ladies!
In terms of a go-to ingredient, if I could only have one, it would be apple cider vinegar. A powerhouse kitchen beauty ingredient, it can help topically with dandruff, athlete’s foot, diaper rash, soothe sunburns, insect bites, and even poison ivy. Used as a daily facial toner, it can help remove flaky skin, and rebalance your pH level — your skin will look smooth and radiant.
What is the most surprising kitchen ingredient that can double as a beauty ingredient?
This answer is in homage to my Cuban ancestry – the Plantain. My mother used to tell me about my grandmother being bedridden with arthritis in Cuba and drinking a soup made with Plantains everyday. A few weeks later she was miraculously cured. Besides being so nutritious that they help the whole body, Plantains also dry mucous membranes, help digestion, and tone the kidneys, bladder, lymphatic system, and reproductive organs. Topically, Plantains are known to help draw out infection like bites and boils, heal wounds, stop excessive bleeding, and help remedy psoriasis and eczema.
Any other advice or last words for readers?
Load up on meditation, forgiveness, and break a great SWEAT to boost your beauty wellness. Time spent at the hair or nail salon is terrific for self-care, but remember your soul needs some beauty nutrition too. Start your day appreciating who you are, what you do, and what you look like, to bring a peaceful equilibrium to your soul. It will make a difference.
Tina Hedges is the Chief Recipe Keeper for LOLI Beauty. A beauty marketing innovator and seasoned entrepreneur, Tina is an island girl at heart with a global sensibility. Of Cuban decent, raised in Jamaica and growing up in NYC, Tina has a great appreciation for diverse cultures, and living and working around the world. Always ahead of her time, Tina spent many years product trend spotting for global beauty companies in beauty and wellness.
During her 20+ year career, Tina parlayed this intuitive understanding of consumer trends into developing many of the best-selling and award-winning beauty products in women’s bathroom cabinets.
In 2004, Tina went on a personal beauty and wellness quest after finding out that it was neither stress keeping her up at night, nor jet lag from accumulated years of international travel, but rather she was going through early menopause at 37. Doctors couldn’t explain it but Tina intuitively knew that being a guinea pig for all these new beauty products didn’t help matters. Despite her many resources, searching for trustworthy beauty advice came up empty. She was motivated to go back to her roots and Cuban grandmother’s recipes, using effective, pure, and potent oils, and personalizing her own beauty rituals.
Through a series of “aha” moments and serendipitous encounters, which included shopping for beauty ingredients from the shelves at health food stores, LOLI – which stands for “living organic loving ingredients” – was born. It became Tina’s mission to create a place to personalize, share, and explore beauty ingredients, recipes, and rituals while also making valuable connections with other women around the virtual table in LOLI’s Kitchen of Beauty community.