I basically called my mom for help. Except when I say mom, I mean an esthetician.
I had the chance to sit down for a cappuccino and Italian pastries with the founders of the Queens-produced beauty line Flo + Theo one night last week, and the crisp fall air was the perfect compliment to their lovely-smelling treasures.
Originally born in Nigeria, sisters Mayowa and Ebony have a talent for making gorgeously scented body care products with a compassionate outlook. These lovely ladies grew up in England and Ireland before settling in Queens, New York. Flo + Theo was born of their desire to start a business doing something meaningful, which is why it’s named after their mother and uncle, two big influences in their lives.
How The Vegan Soap Gets Made
The sisters are a hard working duo, sharing the responsibilities of running a beauty business. Mayowa handles most of the technical aspects, while Ebony is the soap-maker extraordinaire. I’d say that is an awesome advantage that many people wish they had when starting a biz.
Previously, Mayowa was in the tech industry and Ebony was a lawyer, and both left behind their careers to create a successful women-owned establishment. I find it super interesting when people come to beauty from other industries, especially ones on the opposite end of the spectrum.
They have brought to New York’s indie marketplaces their offerings of sweet and spicy smelling soaps, scrubs, and butters, alongside my other dear friend Paola of Fanm Djanm. We chatted about what it’s like to make beauty products, the passion needed to withstand washing body butter off a whipping apparatus, and what I could expect when trying out their goodies.
All of the products are made in Queens by Mayowa and Ebony, and everything is vegan. I am just a vegetarian, but when possible making and using vegan products (or at least cruelty-free) is something I care about. I have a lot of love and respect for people who DO stick to their guns, as practicing veganism is a viable way to impact your carbon footprint. With that in mind, scrubbing away with stuff that smells so great comes with that ol’ “reduced guilt” sticker.
The Goods: 3 Flo + Theo Soaps & A Body Butter To Try
I got to try three soap scents and a body butter, and I couldn’t wait to get to work testing them out. This is quite understandably one of my absolute favorite parts of the job.
Fresh Woodlands Natural Bar Soap
First up was the Fresh Woodlands Natural Bar Soap after soaking in a long bath. It was rich and woodsy, with hints of herbs, lemongrass, and plenty of hydration. Natural bar soaps are made using the cold process method, which I haven’t tried, because it requires a bit more patience than your average DIY (not one of my specialties).
Comprised of coconut oil, essential oils, and glycerin (which I consider a beauty staple), these soaps are properly sudsy, feel soft, and are really really fragrant. I missed using scented soap because of my usual devotion to African black soap.
Lemon Orchard Natural Bar Soap
The Lemon Orchard Natural Bar Soap has a super potent lemon smell, which I ADORE. It reminded me of this luscious lemon cream from C&O Bigelow, which I used when I first realized that one should in fact moisturize their entire body after a shower. Man, I feel like I was beauty brain dead before college!
Lavender Flower Soap
The Lavender Flower Soap was another home run. I am prone to night showering and lavender is really effective on me. So I have to thank Mayowa and Ebony for a few well-rested nights with more to come!
Wild Mint Body Butter
I topped off all three of those tests with their Wild Mint Body Butter, which is whipped to perfection and full of cocoa butter, shea butter, coconut oil, and essential oils. I liked how light it was, which allowed the formula to be rubbed in really quickly.
Flo + Theo and its chic founders are definitely worth checking out. I enjoyed the sensory awesomeness derived from essential oils. Being a pro in those matters, I appreciated the natural scents far more than I do some commercial fragrances. Reliable soaps and a good dose of ethics: what better way for a lawyer and a software pro to enter the beauty scene than with a cruelty-free homemade body care line?
- How do you feel about keeping it real and reducing your carbon footprint via your skin care purchases?
- Does anyone out there use only vegan beauty products?
- Hit me with some of your favorite small-batch beauty brands, too!
Photos by Darnell Scott