- Faith & Family
For as long as she can remember, Shana Green enjoyed donning natural hair. During her senior year at Miami Northwestern Senior High School, Green says she finally buckled under the pressure faced by many of her fellow women of color.
“I kept hearing, ‘why is your hair like that’ — so I ended up getting a relaxer,” she said. “After a while, I felt it was not needed. I realized I was forcing myself to fit into a mold that wasn’t natural for me. I wanted to appreciate myself, just as I was.”
After graduating from Howard University, she entered the public health master’s program at Columbia University. While completing an internship investigating environmental effects on reproductive health, the Miami-native was surprised to learn what ends up in our bodies.
“I saw that the average adult is exposed to 126 chemicals daily,” she recalled. “The fact we unknowingly choose to use these substances shocked me. I knew there had to be a better way.”
Academic studies lead to business idea
Shana searched for all-natural products on the market, but discovered many “natural” items still included harsh toxins like phthalates and lead (used in lipsticks). She completed her studies, but then delayed her acceptance to the University of Central Florida’s doctoral program. She chose instead to create ILY Beauty Company, LLC, a Miami-based hair and skin care product line using all-natural ingredients.
“Once I learned what was in the products I used to maintain that look, I couldn’t do that to my body anymore,” she revealed. “Beauty should not be painful. Beauty should be about loving yourself and that’s why we launched on Valentine’s Day 2012.”
Shana named her products ILY, an acronym for “I Love You,” to promote “self-love shown through what you put both on and inside your body.” Customers can purchase her products on the company website. She says her business is powered by three premises: belief in herself and her products; perseverance; and the empowerment of women.
“I donate a portion of my proceeds to CARE and Girls, Inc., — two nonprofits dedicated to female empowerment and inspiring young girls in South Florida,” Green said.
The emerging entrepreneur’s growth plan includes expanding to natural men’s and skin care products. For more information log on to ilybeautyco.com.
By Zachary Rinkins
Miami Times writer