Antonin .B -An 100% Certified Organic Hair Care Brand That Mergers Sophistication, Performance & Ethics
Not all natural beauty brands are able to be certified organic. But the ones that are, go through a rigorous process in order to share their passion for ethics and performance. We were elated to interview Antonin .B, an organic Parisian brand founded by Kendy Sencée.
What has been your relationship with nature and how did that impact the start of your brand?
I grew up on an island in the Caribbean. You could not fight the green if you wanted to—even inside the city. On top of that, I was raised in a family where nature was (and still is) part of everyday life. Every weekend, we would go to pick up fruits and herbs on the family lands (as both food and medicine). And in the right season, we would also get plenty of fresh avocados for hair masks.
My family (my mother and her mother in particular) taught me that almost everything you need is out there in nature. So when I created Antonin .B, I wanted to follow that principle but I also wanted to add a bit of green science and technology, for more sophisticated formulas and enhanced results.
How do you define beauty? Sustainability?
Beauty is not something I ever tried to define. I actually never thought about it until you asked. :-) I don’t know, it means so many different things to so many people. Perhaps the common denominator is the ability to pull people in.
As for sustainability, it feels mostly like a common sense issue. The very first step towards sustainability is to understand that massive consumption of limited resources will inevitably lead to depletion. To me, living a sustainable life means only taking what you need and letting others get what they need.
Why was it important to have a brand that is 100% nature derived and certified organic?
In a way, it was a personal challenge. I wanted to prove that there could be results-driven, salon quality products without any of the harmful, unethical and polluting ingredients that are so often used in hair care.
Antonin .B is all about results, ease of use, pleasure and glamour—all with exclusively clean and nature derived ingredients.
Being certified organic (especially according to EU standards, which are very strict) was a way to let people know that we are not just talking. There is an independent organization out there controlling every claim we make. Now it’s an enormous challenge to actually be certified organic and 100% natural because the rules were not really made for indie brands with such high formulation standards. So it is something we might change in the future (now that we’ve made our point).
What are your ingredients and where are they source?
The majority of ingredients we use for Antonin .B are pure organic oils and butters. They come from Africa, Europe and the Americas. In a way, these 3 origins represent the identity of the brand, making it Creole to the core. As a woman from Guadeloupe, that is my historical and genetic background.
The most important ingredient is the desert date oil we purchase from a non-profit. They plant desert date trees in villages around the Sahel desert, in Burkina Faso. The trees form a barrier to the desert (which otherwise keeps advancing); so they protect the villages from inevitable destruction but also provide food for the animals, revenue for the villagers and the opportunity to keep the children close. With this project, they have been able to build 2 schools for the children and a training center for those who plant and take care of the trees.
Does being a WOC influence your brand and if so how?
It definitely does. The very identity of the brand is close to my own – it was born from my experience as a Black woman from the Caribbean with a very rich family history and a diverse background. The birth of Antonin .B coincides with my own journey back to a more natural life; which included no longer relaxing my own hair.
My being a woman of color also affects the way people approach Antonin .B. Whenever people meet me before they know the brand, they automatically assume it’s an exclusively afro brand—because what else could I do, right? :-) It has become a running joke, but sometimes, it is a challenge because some people put you in a box and don’t want to let you out no matter what you say. Most of the times, however, it just takes a little bit of explaining to clear everything up.