Restful Beauty As Power: An Inspiring Legacy

Ezinne Iroanya is a woman who understands legacy.  Growing up in Lagos, Nigeria, she remembers how committed her mother Ifeyinwa was to her daily beauty ritual.   “[My mother] always used to tell me, ‘Ezinne, rest is not something you have to earn.  You already deserve it for being alive.’  She taught me that rest was more than just sleeping.  She would take 30 minutes a day – whether it would be at night or in the morning – but mostly at night… .   [She] would play music, light a candle, and just have the most romantic time with herself.”  These were lessons that would later serve as a balm to her throughout her college years.

Shortly after graduating from high school at 15, Ezinne decided to pursue a career in engineering in the States.  At 16, she began her petroleum engineering degree at the University of Oklahoma, which was, at the time, one of the top ten schools for engineering.   Although she was well-traveled and had visited the States 10x before matriculating, Ezinne quickly discovered that visiting and living in a place are two entirely different things. Major culture shock set in.  Loneliness as well.  Compounding matters were the extremely limited on-campus internship options for Black students – not to mention students on a visa.  “Why?  It’s Oklahoma,” Ezinne quipped.  However, her mother’s beauty rituals sustained her, rituals she regularly began to share with the other black and brown girls in her dorm.

After an internship with Shell, Ezinne was disheartened by the lack of diversity in her field and, she admits, crushed her mother’s heart by switching to an enterprise studies and advertising double major after 2 ½ years on the engineering track.  But she had found her calling.  The beauty rituals that enriched her time in college with such meaning and comfort would be her saving grace and that filled her heart with joy and excitement at the prospect of what that would mean for her life.

A successful stint at a Lancôme counter at Dillard’s opened the way for Ezinne to work for Dior.  Recognition and promotion followed and thus gave birth to SKNMSE–a premium beauty brand inspired by West African beauty practices.  As Founder and CEO, her vision is to champion inclusivity in the luxury beauty space with cultural authenticity.  SKNMSE’s mission is to give people the tools for daily restoration and self-care through sensory stimulation.  Some of their current partners are American Express, The Dream Hotel LA, TAO Group, and Hallmark Mahogany.  Ezinne aims to ensure that SKNMSE is the preferred supplier for all things hospitality, Spas, Resorts, Hotels, and Boutiques.