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The Creativity of Skincare: Amina Adem

Updated: Sep 24, 2021

Internationally renowned beauty therapist and certified aromatherapist, Amina Adem, sums up her philosophy of life: Take care of the charm that is you, and you will always put your best face forward. From Eritrea to Ethiopia and Sudan, then to Saudi Arabia, Amina’s journey begins in exotic places with exotic smells that often define cultures. During her childhood in Eritrea, she recalls her grandmother using herbs from her garden to aid in relieving the symptoms of minor illnesses used by everyone in her village. Though she traveled around the world, it was Amina’s education in England where her life would forever change. Amina’s extensive research and training in the field of Aromatherapy started long before it became a trend. She graduated as a Beauty Therapist in London where she discovered the magic of essential oils and herbs. Amina instinctively knew that “smell” was the element long missing in skincare. She fell in love with creating botanical formulations, exploring oils and natural ingredients from around the world. Ultimately developing her own brand of therapeutic grade essential oils, herbal masks a skincare line that is unmatched.

Amina’s passion for skincare and aromatherapy began during her childhood in Eritrea. “I recall my grandmother using herbs from her garden to help relieve the symptoms of minor illnesses and were used by everyone in our village. These are some of my most cherished memories,” said Adem. In sharing family history with my children, Amina realized they are also some of her earliest memories of engaging with plant medicine in a way that genuinely influences what I am trying to achieve with this skincare line and her life’s purpose today. Her grandfather was in the war in Tripoli, Libya, before she was born. He, unfortunately, passed away while Amina was a young girl, but his gifts far exceeded his life and were shared with her family and community well beyond. Like soldiers, when they were wounded in the war, the Italians wouldn’t treat them, so they would find herbs and apply them to their wounds. If the herbs successfully treated the damage, they would take inventory of which plants they came from and continue using them. When the war ended, her grandfather brought home some of the herbs that had worked well for him and other soldiers. He replanted the herbs with a giant cactus around them to protect the garden. As a child, Amina would sometimes spend time at her grandparent’s house in the countryside. People in the community would often come by when they or their loved ones fell ill because they knew about the herbs. Whenever someone knocked and came looking for plant medicine and natural remedies, Amina’s grandmother would ask her to fetch certain herbs that she knew would alleviate their symptoms. Amina can still hear her voice saying, “grab one of these” or “three of those.” She would watch and guide me through the garden, giving directions like, “it’s the one to your left.” Eventually, Amina developed an affinity for herbs because of how she could use them to help and heal others. Her love for herbs grew stronger once she was in London. Amina would spend most of her free time visiting Convent Garden and the surrounding shops, taking home different plants to the ground, and create new masks each time. She loved speaking with and learning from the herbalists working there. Amina recently took her first trip to London in 25 years and enjoyed visiting the same gardens that she used to frequent nearly four decades ago.

Yes, Amina Adem applies amazing facials…but they are also quite educational as well. She will study a client’s skin, ask about their daily routine, and diet, and pinpoint problematic areas. Amina will also explain why she is performing various techniques that she is. When Amina had a moment to stop, she spoke with Gemma Magazine about her passion for skincare and botanicals, the history of her experience, and the mission of her brand.

What was it like training as an Aromatherapist in England? I was trained as a beauty therapist first and later as an aromatherapist. It all started one day when I was walking past this woman’s class, and she was teaching using herbs and essential oils. Through the window, I saw that through the window, I knocked on the door and asked if I could join in. I was so excited because I recognized many of the herbs from childhood memories in my grandmother’s garden.

Walking into that woman’s aromatherapy class changed my life. I had never seen oils being formulated like that and was in awe. I didn’t know anything about aromatherapy, but I knew all about the herbs in the room because I recognized them from my grandmother’s garden. The instructor encouraged me to enroll, and I took two years of classes on aromatherapy and formulation. This is why my focus has always been skincare and aromatherapy, but more on natural products than anything else.

Is the UK where you fell in love with creating botanical formulations?

Well, actually, it goes farther back to my childhood in Eritrea. I fell in love with plant medicine and botanical everything in my grandparents’ garden. I did not know much about essential oils or things of that nature as a young child, but growing up I watched and learned a lot about herbs. My aunts used herbs in their homes, as did pregnant women around me and my grandmother herself. Observing as they used them for healing purposes, I developed a curiosity and love for them. This allowed me to tap into a greater sense of freedom and creativity when I was later being trained in school and helped me formulate different kinds of masks, creams, toners, and oil blends. Creating botanical formulations was a precious gift to and for me.

At a time where I was very young, in the heart of London, and many of my peers would spend free time going to the disco, you could instead find me in what felt like hidden treasures of Convent Garden. There is an alley called Neal’s Yard, where I would spend at least five hours a week with herbalists and in herbal stores. They sold oils and botanical herbs from all over the world. I would talk to the herbalists, buy the herbs and ground them each week to make new oils and products. I would then return the following week for new ingredients and to share my creations as well as discuss new ideas. I would also take them back to my teacher and get her feedback. I traveled a lot to various countries to research oils and herbs. I learned about what was being used by the locals in each of these places. This allowed me to broaden my knowledge base and informed my creations then and even now.

While a student, I would leave class and go home to create my formulations with ingredients I learned about that day. I would also read tons of books and return with questions while her student and even beyond being a student. My teacher was a brilliant chemist and became a dear mentor to me. We spent many hours outside of class, where we experimented with different formulations and created products. She saw that I had a deep curiosity and always encouraged it. For that, I am grateful. When I was developing as a young woman and learning how to integrate those new teachings with what I learned as a young girl, it is my happiest memories.

How did you like having your own salon in England?

My salon in England was an opportunity presented where I happened to be at the right place, at the right time with the right people. I didn’t even have a business background at the time. I wasn’t actively thinking about opening my salon then, so it was indeed a blessing when I was presented with the opportunity. I was not afraid to take a risk and had a very “nothing to lose, everything to learn and gain” attitude, so I went for it. I developed my formulations, and those sold well with clients. Before long, I was blessed enough to receive notoriety in the press through Hair and Beauty Magazine’s industry standards and Sayidaty Magazine. My salon was frequented by people from around the world as well as locals. I also collaborated with some renowned plastic surgeons on Harley Street. In London, the American College selected my salon for the coveted honor of performing a fashion show makeup artistry two years consecutively. I learned a lot about my craft and even myself through the experience of running a salon, and I am grateful for it all.

We are all so busy, (and these times are stressful), but taking care of body, mind, and soul is crucial to inner peace, correct?

When I moved from England thirty years ago, I introduced aromatherapy into our practice at the beauty salon opened with a South Bay friend. In all those years of my practice, the first question I would ask my clients is, “can you take a bath with aromatherapy oils or use body massage oils three times a week?” Everyone would tell me they can’t because they are too busy. I truly believe so much added our fast-paced lifestyles bring on stress.

We are bombarded with a lot during the day and even at night. Whether with news or stress from work, changing careers, having a family, and raising kids. From every angle, we are faced with pressure. I always tell my clients to have a place for imagination in their home—whether it’s a garden or a reading corner or just a little space where one can sit and be still. When surrounded by things that bring us back to nature and help ground us (plants, essential oils, etc.), it is beneficial. I encourage clients to seek this out or create it for themselves and tap into this kind of space daily because it will make a big difference in how we manage and navigate the stressors in our lives.

Often, I encourage people to enjoy the hidden powers of nature’s aromas that come from plants, flowers, fruits, seeds, and barks from the Earth. Every part of our body is connected, and we all need to be intentional about the way we care for ourselves and each other. I am very fond of holistic approaches and emphasize the direct ties between mind, body, and soul and how aromatherapy and essential oils benefit us.

Imagine walking through a scented garden of herbs and flowers. Think about being soothed, calmed, and uplifted through the inhalation of pure floral essence. You will then have an idea of the delights of aromatherapy. Aromatic baths were used centuries ago by various ancient communities to relax and heal powers and restore harmony between the body, mind, and soul.

Imagine walking through a scented garden of herbs and flowers. Think about being soothed, calmed, and uplifted through the inhalation of pure floral essence. You will then have an idea of the delights of aromatherapy. Aromatic baths were used centuries ago by various ancient communities to relax and heal powers and restore harmony between the body, mind, and soul.

The essential oils in aromatherapy help to uplift mood, promote relaxation, and reduce stress. They also stimulate the immune system, ease muscle tension, and boost circulation. For these reasons and more, I have incorporated aromatherapy and essential oils into Amina Adem Natural Skincare. Not only are our skincare products botanically infused, but I have also created a series of body oils and perfume rollers to help people relax and better care for themselves and their loved ones in these stressful times. Our entire product line is based on a sense of smell to enhance wellness and promote a better lifestyle.

What is your ultimate goal with your brand?

I dream of and work toward achieving these goals every day: having a successful business, helping communities in need, and leaving behind a legacy for my children and future grandchildren that says your body, health, and wellbeing matter. These things keep me going—keep me praying daily for loved ones and myself. To have goodness in our hearts and make a difference; to make the world a better place by giving and sharing our talents in the time we are here. Despite any discouragements and challenges I face, I know that part of my purpose in life is to make people feel and look good. Helping women with their skin and overall wellbeing using my skincare line allows me to fulfill this purpose, and it has been a fantastic journey so far. “I want to change how people think about their skin, their sense of smell and how they connect with the world. Your body is magic. If you start taking care of yourself now, you inspire more magic.”

How do Amina Adem oils stand out from other skincare brands?

Amina Adem Natural Skincare integrates ancient wisdom and modern science to deliver innovative results. Working with ingredients based upon aromatherapy and hyaluronic acid sets us apart. Our mission is to create and provide natural skincare products designed to improve the skin with breakthrough formulations and enhance the overall quality of life. Our products are made with the highest quality control standards, combining beauty and well-being with aromatherapy effectiveness and sensory appeal.

Our products are formulated based on our customers’ needs. We listen to their feedback closely and value it dearly, using it to inform how we tailor the next iterations of our existing products along with new ones to ensure the best possible experience. We are passionate about understanding how our customers feel and aim to offer a sense of harmony and balance through our products to translate into every aspect of their lives.

Do you personally feel oils can be better for the skin as an anti-aging process than regular moisturizers?

For the purpose of anti-aging processes, oils can definitely be better than regular moisturizers because they contain proteins and fatty acids that are similar to what our body produces and thus, our skin absorbs them faster. This is also why oils provide us with deep hydration allowing our skin to glow more than it might when solely using moisturizers. Most moisturizers are typically water-based and as such only stay on the surface of our skin, never getting through the epidermis to nourish deeper layers. When botanical and essential oils are fused together, they help with healing environmental damage to the skin. Oils have antibacterial properties and contain antioxidants and fatty acids. While improving the skin’s overall appearance and tone, oils will balance your skin’s pH levels. They also improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, leaving the skin’s texture smoother.

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