Ustawi didn’t just start with a dream, it started with a mother’s love. A mother who was devoted to helping her daughter find the best ingredients and natural recipes for healthy and flawless skin. That woman was the mother of our founder, Natacha Paugam. She is known for being a former Miss Congo, but many do not know that she struggled with hyper-pigmentation and sensitive skin. It was her mother’s natural remedies that helped heal her skin.
At the young age of seventeen, Natacha was crowned Miss Congo, and entered a high stress industry of pageants and modeling. This new and exciting lifestyle caused her skin to break out and it came with a lot of irritation, mentally and physically. Like any child would, she leaned into her mother for advice. Luckily, she did not just get advice, she got the answers to her skin issues. Her mother taught Natacha about the power of natural ingredients and homemade treatments such as a clarifying mask using the nutrient-rich red clay of her homeland. Clay has incredible oil-absorbing properties to purify the skin, and red clay is especially packed with micronutrients that nourish the skin and prevent it from over drying. Natacha’s mother made a batch for her just before her triumph as Miss Congo. Was it the time-tested recipe and natural ingredients of the mask, or her mother’s love? Ustawi has infused both into our new Red Clay Purifying mask, so that the double gifts of ingredients from the motherland, and the personal care of a mother to her child, can be shared with all.
Natacha’s mother educated her about the benefits of many natural ingredients, especially the African superfruit, the Baobab. Its oil is an anti-inflammatory, helping to reduce redness, irritation, and acne inflammation, all issues that were familiar to Natacha. The ability to be open and transparent with her mother about her skin issues allowed her to find peace and clarity in her journey to wellbeing. Natacha wanted to share the same clarity to her community by making sure that Baobab was a hero ingredient for Ustawi, as well as all of the other natural ingredients that are the legacy passed from mother to child. Ustawi strives to incorporate responsibility and philanthropy in all we do to achieve the holistic approach to help everyone we touch feel confident and comfortable in their own skin, achieving the true meaning of wellbeing.
A pillar of our mission is giving back, and Ustawi works with organizations which support the people and cultures that inspire us so much. Natacha has always been inspired by the women in Congo that helped raise and support her before, during, and after being crowned Miss Congo. They too are daughters, sisters, aunts, and mothers who are guiding their loved ones and community through natural, ethical, and cultural beauty. Ustawi.