A human story.
I am the granddaughter of a farmer. My parents emigrated to the Ivory Coast, and I was born in Abidjan. The first holidays during my childhood, were spent in the south of Lebanon. There, at dawn, my paternal grandfather would wake me up early and I would drag my feet to accompany him to the orange, lemon, banana, and olive groves. The first few times were difficult. I would often go back to bed as soon as I got home. However, I ended up enjoying it.
The mild mornings, the sound of nature, walking among orange trees and olive trees have become the enchanted parenthesis of my life. He didn’t speak much. It was wonderful. I am a city dweller: Abidjan, Beirut, and Paris. When I was younger, I had a very specific idea of what beauty was: sophistication, accumulation, and appearance. I was adamant. Everything that my
mother wasn’t. A simple woman, who had no desire in owning things, and focused much more on the being. As I grew up, I learned to declutter, keep only the essentials, and be less binary. I developed a taste for exploration, for pausing time and for breathing in nature.
ULAP is an acronym for « Une Libanaise à Paris »
I live in Paris. I walk every day. In the morning, I cross the Seine to go to work. I marvel at the four seasons in the Tuileries Garden, I look up and measure the privilege of living my life in a country where your rights are respected. My base is here, I explore the world and I come back. I dream of a small house in the southwest of France, hidden inland but not too far from the ocean. Iodine is invigorating. A few years ago, I had a burnout, and I picked myself up on a
The trigger and time.
It's funny when I think about it. I was by the ocean; the light was more beautiful than golden. I wanted to take a photo. I touched my head; I felt the frizz from the front. I remember getting up, going to the shed, taking a brush and a hair dryer, to straighten my bangs… totally crazy since I was at the beach. At that time, I didn't really know the nature of my hair. I have spent my life, ever since I was a teenager, doing many treatments to have them straight. I didn't take the photo and I didn't straighten them out. I was by myself. I decided to let them be for three weeks. Some evenings, I applied olive oil found in the kitchen on them, like my mom used to do, and kept it on as I slept. Luckily, I was alone. During the day, I didn’t apply anything. They weren't pretty. I didn't like them. But whatever, I wanted to enjoy my vacation without worrying about frizz.
Months went by without any keratin treatment. I started discovering the nature of my hair. They are curly. Frankly, I looked like a mess. Curly roots, stiff ends, each strand had a different texture. I started following the haircare routines of set by the beauty industry, which included way too many products and steps. I wanted to take care of my hair, but it had to be simple. I tried many things. The smell of olive oil from my kitchen on my hair annoyed me. The castor oil was way too sticky. The coconut oil would eventually dry my hair. This is how I started thinking about “Le Concentré”, a hair oil that would be as efficient as a Swiss army knife that could nourish my hair all year round, regardless of the conditions, without
ever weighing it down.
I bought vials and I chose as a base olive oil which nourishes in depth, Broccoli see oil* which perfectly imitates the silicone without suffocating the hair and the macerates of Thyme and laurel for their purifying action. I like cleanliness :). To that, I added other oils like macadamia, jojoba, and coconut oil… Each week, I spooned in and noted how it felt immediately after using the mixture and the condition of my hair the following days.
I varied the applications depending on the condition of my hair. I used the mixtures as an oil bath, pre-shampoo, head massage or just by applying it on the ends. I didn't have a specific routine. I adapted the care to my daily life. Over the months, my hair exuded health. They were flexible, shiny, and thick. I found them naturally beautiful. My entourage too. My friends would ask me if I had a brand to recommend. I prepared a few vials for them. I was scared, especially considering that we didn't have the same type of hair. One was a peroxidized blonde and the
other was a brunette with very fine hair. They liked it and that’s how I started making little vials for my friends. On social media, I am requested for the campaign for a major shampoo brand. The shampoo in question is made up of aggressive sulphates and other toxic substances. By refusing the campaign, I am depriving myself of a certain amount of money. I’m not a pensioner, but I don’t see myself bragging about a product that I would never use on my own
head. The idea of Philia starts budding in my mind. I can already visualize "Le Concentré" in all the bathrooms, used by all the members of the family. It would not be a beauty product, but a TREATMENT.
I typed on Google "Organic and natural cosmetic laboratory in France". I met with three labs. I then picked the one I would partner with. I gave them my vials. For two years, we adjusted the composition. The team were admirable in every step of the way. I wanted the oil to smell like Corsican maquis, greenery, and cleanliness. I have all the vials. I am proud to present to you "Le Concentré". I look forward to accompanying you and seeing you take care of yourself with Philia. We will develop other products in the right time. In the beauty, what remains is not the appearance but the being. I learned it from my mom, and it also applies to our hair.
PS: I haven't done a single blow-dry these past 3 years, but I don't forbid myself from anything.
Samar Seraqui de Buttafoco