We spoke with Dija Ayodele (@dija_ayodele), a skin health expert and Founder of West Room Aesthetics and the Black Skin Directory. Dija is an aesthetician and entrepreneur breaking down barriers to pro skincare for POC.
How did you get into skincare and beauty?
I’ve always been fascinated by beauty, loved it from a very young age so very natural to end up in the space even after university and a stint of working in the City. Even when I was a child, I loved providing a beauty service - from painting my mum's nails to doing a pedi for an uncle. I liked tending to the needs of others. I also liked the business side of things, because even when I was that young, I charged for my time. It was my hustle.
Personally I enjoy grooming, looking my best so because I have full qualifications in beauty, I have experience in all aspects - nails, body, skin but I choose to specialise in skin because that is what resonates with me and where I can really support other women.
What is Westroom Aesthetics and Black Skin Directory, and what inspired you to start these?
WRA is a boutique skincare space with a specialist understanding of the needs of black and brown skin tones. Serving black women is the core of our primary purpose.
Don’t get me wrong we can meet the needs of everyone and we do because we have a wide demographic of clients, but my experience tells me that black women have often been sidelined and marginalised from advanced skincare.
WRA is all about changing that narrative by putting black women front and centre of our service provision.
BSD is an award winning pioneering platform and the first of its kind in the UK that connects people of colour to expert skincare professionals, to brands and education written specifically for black/brown skin. We also provide education for brands and professional practitioners to develop and enhance their skin of colour knowledge.
With both of my brands, I wanted to elevate, support and provide a service for black women (and men, but always women first :-)!) I think we deserve it, we deserve the luxury, we deserve the best. It’s as simple as that.
How have you created a space for women of colour to satisfy their skincare needs?
I listened. When I was at my old space in Kensington, that’s all I did for three years, I asked questions, listened to what my clients were telling me:
What are some of the common skin concerns people speak about with you?
What are some 'silent questions' about women of colour ask? How do you address these?
I don’t encourage women to be silent around me. I firmly believe that if you don’t ask you don’t get so I purposefully create an environment where all questions can be asked, nothing is silly.
I leave the door open for questions - I always make it known that I’m only on the other side of an email. We’re grown people so please feel free to ask a question, its your money you are spending so make sure you are satisfied before you even part with £1.
What are your top 3 favorite skincare treatments?
What skincare/beauty facts have shocked you?
People thinking its ok to just splash their face with water in the morning. I’ll never understand that.
Name your top 5 habits/routines for healthy skin.
What's your advice for summer skin and what should people know about being sun exposure
Keep your skincare simple - its the same advice all year round. I don’t really think there is summer skin and winter skin - just look after your skin health all year round paying attention and tweaking as you good alongApply sunscreen, in the summer be aware that you must also be sun smart:
Like Snoop Dogg, I’ll take this opportunity to toot my own horn - I inspire myself on a daily basis. When I look back at everything 2020 has thrown at me, from both family and business view point, the fact that I still wake up and mind my business and focus on my North Star really does propel me forward to continue to achieve even in challenging circumstances.
Yep, so right now I’m in a circular inspiration relationship with myself.
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