Co-founders Omar Denteh & Ifreke King of KA Essentials, LLC, have each struggled with their own issues as a result of the skincare products they formerly used – including dry, sensitive skin and even hyper pigmentation.
Denteh was born and raised in Chicago, in a Ghanaian and Nigerian household. King was born in Chicago, moved to Nigeria in 1999 and returned to the states in 2004.
King & Denteh, having grown up in West African and American communities, and noticed a distinct difference in the skin of these citizens & their beauty regimen. Ifreke says:
Back home, in West Africa, the skin glows naturally without any extensive beauty regimen. But, here in America, the skin tries to glow but it fails in comparison to our brothers and sisters back home.
KA Essentials, LLC uses shea nuts extracted for natural sources before they undergo an 18-step process completed by local women to create the shea butter. Once the shea butter is prepared, it’s whipped manually using three other natural oils – coconut oil, avocado oil, and olive oil.
They couldn’t get the skincare regimen their skin craved in Chicago. Instead, they set out to start a business based on natural, organic, cruelty-free & vegan skincare products made with West African ingredients – and began KA Essentials, LLC.
Everything, from the ingredients in their products to the packaging and labeling, is influenced by West African roots. They use the Ankara print on labels, which is a variety of fabric patterns native to West Africa. “Here in Chicago, the Ankara print can be seen in the Black community, especially in African neighborhoods, allowing for a representation and connection between members and allies of the diaspora and back home in Africa,” Ifreke says.
They say, “The Chicago climate and weather has greatly impacted the formulation of our products,” since the dry & cold seasons affects skin in more ways than one. Their products are made to give the skin an essential glow, year-round, regardless of the season.
More than that, the Chicago community influences nearly everything their brand represents, from the packaging and formulation, to the service and quality.
Denteh and King’s goal is to “connect members and allies of the African diaspora with the beauty secrets they don’t have the opportunity to know yet,” and they joined Handmade Happy Hours™ to reach a new community of people who can and will benefit from their skincare products.
“It’s comforting and encouraging to have a space of fellow handmade makers and entrepreneurs pushing through adversity to deliver their products to the world. We have so much to be grateful for within this network, especially the opportunity to give your skin what’s essential!”
We’re ready for KA Essentials, LLC to join our Handmade Happy Hour markets!
They will be joining us at our first event after the shelter-in-place orders are lifted. We can’t wait to feel the buttery smooth shea butters!
Ifreke King has a degree in Chemistry from UIC, which has influenced and allowed her to be the formulation specialist of the brand. You can find KA Essentials, LLC on our Virtual Marketplace, at shopkaessentials.com, and on Instagram @ka_essentials.