When Benardett Jno-Finn left her native Caribbean island of Dominica to attend Syracuse University in upstate New York, her skin did not adapt well to the northern climate.
"Due to the change in weather, I developed eczema and dermatitis," says Jno-Finn, who holds a bachelor's degree in biochemistry.
Using her biochemistry knowledge and herbs her mother shipped from St. Croix, Jno-Finn developed a line of brown sugar scrubs that nourish and moisturize. "Brown sugar has a higher vitamin and mineral content (than salt or white sugar) and draws moisture to the skin," she says.
After graduating in 2007 and coming to New Orleans to take a job working with the Mayor's Office of Health Policy & AIDS Funding, Jno-Finn began selling her scrubs in local markets, including The Freret Market and Sankofa Farmers Market. "I had no idea what the response would be, but it turned out to be incredible," she says.
Now, her line of beauty products, named Senica (www.senicanaturals.com), includes not only scrubs but also soaps, bath salts, candles, lotions and more. They're all handmade in New Orleans with herbs Jno-Finn grows herself. — MISSY WILKINSON