Toks Fahm Ajayi took her love of French beauty and created a clean and inclusive product line.
By Johanna Ferreira
Toks Fahm Ajayi’s appreciation for all things beauty was ignited after she began traveling in her early 20s. Her African upbringing combined with the beauty secrets she had learned abroad, introduced her to the art and sacredness of having a skincare ritual. But after years of putting everyone and everything before herself, Ajayi started to neglect her beauty needs, eventually suffering from hair loss, hyperpigmentation, and age spots.
“I was at a stage in my life, married with two kids, a teenager, and pre-teen,” Ajayi tells thirteen lune. “I had a great high-paced career as a financial analyst. [I was] very well traveled, and I made sure all was good but in the midst of that, I forgot about myself.”
Ajayi had stopped carving out time for herself and the stress and negligence was wreaking havoc on both her skin and hair. “I tried all I knew but nothing really worked. In looking for a solution to my skin problems, I realized the lack of safe products for women in my color, and in my age group with similar skin types,” she says.
In an effort to reset and get back to her old self, Ajayi embarked on a solo vacation to one of her favorite cities — Paris, France. She immediately scheduled a treatment at one of her favorite spas, followed by a long walk by the Seine River and that’s when she had her aha moment. She thought why not create something inspired by her two favorite things -- travel and beauty? SKÔT Beaute is a merge of her love for French beauty secrets, the African beauty rituals she grew up with, and the natural ingredients women from all around the world have used in their skincare routines.
“In looking for a solution to my skin problems, I realized the lack of safe products for women in my color, and in my age group with similar skin types.”
Get to Know – Toks Fahm Ajayi
Do you have a beauty philosophy? What is it?
I believe in natural beauty and wearing it confidently. I believe in pampering the natural skin you’re in and prioritizing a simple, luxe skincare ritual with the gentlest and best natural active ingredients that are very well tolerated by the most sensitive and mature skin. [It’s about] yielding an effortless glow. The notion of slow beauty and less is more reigns supreme in my beauty philosophy.
Where are you from originally? Where do you live now?
I am proudly Nigerian American. Born in Chicago. I moved from Providence RI to Richmond Virginia, where I’ve lived since 1997.
What were some of your first memories of beauty growing up? What are some early beauty influences?
My early memories of beauty growing up are of my mum. She always favoured a 5-step-daily routine from Clinique. My grandma and aunties forever made concoctions first for skincare needs. There was nothing, shea butter, coconut oil, turmeric, black soap and coal couldn’t solve and many other herbs. [I] loved being immersed in every bit of it.
What does self care look like in your life?
Self-care to me means prioritizing me, taking time out daily to enjoy me. Accepting my flaws and loving my natural self. Staying positive, surrounding myself with calmness and positive vibes. Living well, eating well, enjoying my occasional red wine and exercising. Indulging in simple morning and evening beauty and wellness rituals. Sleeping well, slowing down the pace of life and enjoying the small things that bring the greatest joy like reading and cooking. Going to the spa or bringing the spa to me. And of course, traveling!
What inspires you most about the beauty landscape and industry today?
I’m inspired by the endless possibilities. I‘m inspired by authentic stories of indie founders and the desire and passion to create beautiful products for the underserved globally.
What has been the biggest challenge in starting your business?
My biggest challenge has been the financial aspect. Lack of funding and retail opportunities for black minority / women owned businesses. SKÔT is self funded and owned which could be tediously draining at times. I learned that taking my time, staying the course and going at a realistic pace makes the journey better and worth it.
What has been the biggest win thus far?
The biggest win is seeing my dream and long time passion come to fruition. SKÔT is an all embracing, multi-award-winning brand, most importantly a brand-making a difference in lives of women across the globe. Which truly makes my heart smile. Our unendingly supportive SKÔT Beauté Global family makes it all worth it and for that, I’m eternally grateful. I wanted a skincare brand that will resonate with women globally. If SKÔT has helped put a smile on your face, eased your stress, added calmness to your world or made you confidently love and accept your natural unique self. That, to me, is a huge win.
What would you like to see more of in the beauty industry when it comes to diversity and inclusivity?
My hope for the beauty industry is to be more accepting and diversely inclusive. To create equal opportunities for all deserving brands regardless of the skin color of the brand founders. I truly believe the beauty world is big enough for everyone if given the chance to shine.