In Conversation With: SOFIA LATIF
Sofia’s mission is to give women the confidence to show off their skin and hair as they change with age. Born from a need to manage her own stress eczema, Sofia developed a range of award-winning vegan and effective skin elixirs which she has been using for over 15 years. Sofia believes in transparency, all ingredients are listed in plain language on the bottle and on the website, so that customers can make an informed choice. There are no GMO oils, palm oil, mineral oils, sulphates, phthalates, paraben, silicones, or perfume contained in the blends. All packaging is recyclable. SOFIA LATIF™ is proudly Vegan, Cruelty Free, and Waterless. Made in small batches in London.
We speak to Sofia, the founder of SOFIA LATIFTM about why she started the brand and what makes her beauty products so special
Tell us a little about yourself, and what inspired you to create SOFIA LATIFTM?
I am someone who struggled with stress eczema on my face in my late 20s, and ended up losing a lot of confidence as a result. My doctor had prescribed hydrocortisone but I knew this wasn’t something I would be able to use long-term. Inspired by my Indian heritage, where it is normal to use oils in everyday routines, I turned to oils and created a blend for myself to bring skin back to health and strengthen its barrier. Alongside some lifestyle changes, I learnt to de-stress – my work in marketing back then was pretty stressful – and I would use my skincare routine to wind down. The ritual of using oils – massaging, slowing down, letting the nourishment seep into skin – gave me my moment of mindfulness at the end of each day. This was my mini-meditation and helped me to de-stress before sleep. I also learnt to appreciate my skin and feel more confident about it again; I wasn’t focussing on the ‘issues’ and instead wanted to support my skin’s natural processes by keeping it supple, elastic, and healthy, which my Face Oil was designed to do. 15 years later and I decided to share my secret with others, and help them develop a healthy relationship with their skin.
What makes SOFIA LATIFTM completely different to all the other beauty brands out there?
I help women whose skin and hair has changed with age to feel more confident about themselves. It is not just that my award-winning products are designed to support the health and rejuevation of skin, but also the relationship you have with yourself when using them. When using oils on your face or scalp or body, you are forced to slow down, you cannot rush using oils. There is a ritual to using them, which has you spending more time on yourself, fostering a better relationship, resulting in you seeing yourself through kinder eyes. That is the biggest confidence boost you have available to you. My products are all 100% pure nuts, seeds, and flower oils selected for their nourishing and regenerating properties, vegan-friendly, cruelty free, and made in small batches here in the UK.
There is a social purpose to what we do too; with each sale we donate 5% to Lendwithcare through whom we provide microloans to women small business owners in low incomes countries, so that they can grow their own businesses and support themselves and their families with dignity.
You feel good about yourself on many levels when you buy from us!
Can you talk us through some of the skincare rituals you follow/are inspired by to create your products?
My favourite facial skincare ritual is a massage – slow, deliberate, and leisurely. I love to use a cleansing oil and once skin is clean, I will massage my Face Oil into skin and my Eye Oil around my eyes. I like to use products which require a massage, which I will do with eyes closed, breathing deeply and applying pressure on each out breath to help muscles in my face and neck to relax. These techniques are designed to help counteract the impact of spending a lot of time at a desk in front of a computer screen. The scent of Jasmine in my Face Oil is a natural mood enhancer too, boosting energy and confidence, which helps me feel better about my day and relaxed, ready for a good night’s sleep.
The ritual of massage exists in so many cultures. With our busy schedules and lives we spend less time tapping into these simple techniques, which can help soothe not just our skin but our minds too.
What has been the most rewarding feedback you have received from a customer who has purchased one of your products?
There have been so many. My customers are a wonderfully warm and beautiful community – I am grateful to have them! My most rewarding piece of feedback has to be following a Skin Session (my online video consultation) where I helped a customer to design a skincare routine that worked for her – my objective was to give her confidence in the products she was already using and show her how she could incorporate her face oil into her routine. Six weeks later she contacted me to say her skin had improved and she was feeling confident again. She left feeling good about herself. That is priceless.
Of the SOFIA LATIFTM products that we are featuring on myza, which is your particular favourite and why?
Ooh that is a tough one, I love them all. If I had to choose one it would be my Face Oil – it has been my loyal companion for 17 years, and I never tire of the smell of Jasmine and how it makes me feel, or the way my skin feels peachy soft after I have used it, or its versatility – I pop a drop in my moisturiser in the morning if skin is feeling tight, or a drop in my foundation to give skin a dewy finish, or a drop over my moisturiser as a primer to create a glow when using my tinted moisturiser. I’ve even used it on my lips instead of a lip balm.
Where do you see SOFIA LATIFTM being in the next five years?
I see it being everywhere – on the bathroom shelves of our community of women over 40 who are pushing back against the anti-ageism that exists in the beauty industry, all of them confident in showing off their skin and hair. We will have normalised the use of oils in every day routines, and created a kinder corner in the industry for women to celebrate themselves at every age.
What drives you, and where do you get your inspiration from?
My customers and community drive me. They are a truly wonderful bunch of warm and beautiful women. My parents inspire me too – their courage, strong family values, and worth ethic have inspired me to keep going, keep moving forward, and to believe in myself. I want to leave a legacy my Dad would be proud of, to carry on his name now that he is no longer with us. And also the women we support through Lendwithcare – their success helps more than just themselves and their family – their community benefit too.
Finally, a few pearls of wisdom from you! Run us through your recipe for a great night’s sleep, and some do’s and don’ts that you recommend following, or including in a pre-sleep schedule.
My top 5 sleep tips are:
• Prioritise sleep – it is too easy to stay up later than intended. You will find me making my way to bed at around 9.30pm so that I am asleep by 10pm, to ensure I have a full night’s sleep so that I awake refreshed and not a grouch.
• A slowly executed skincare routine, with some deep breaths accompanying application of your product starts to calm the nervous system. It’s a mini-meditation, plus sleeping with cleansed and nourished skin will allow it to rest and recover overnight.
• Use an eye mask – any light can be disturbing no matter how little it is. Support your circadian rhythm.
• Make sure your last meal is at least two hours before sleep, so sleep isn’t disrupted. Similarly, stop using digital devices two hours before you go to bed and instead entertain yourself with a good book – it is the fast track to relaxation.
• When in bed take some deep breaths and long exhales, tense your whole body and then relax it. Repeat this a few times. It can bring a deeper relaxation to your whole body. Sometimes I listen to binaural beats to relax too, especially if I have had a very busy day.