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An Interview with Honi Borden
Ommehoni Motarfi-Borden (â€œHoni Bordenâ€) is the owner of Derma Hair Care LLC, the first medical spa in the United States that has gotten a seal of approval by Co-op America recognized as a GREEN company. Honi is a pioneer in greening the medical spa business and has had to conduct extensive research and special order many basic salon/spa products in order to go green. Despite endless challenges, itâ€™s all been worth it for her. Honi is motivated by personal experiences and by a desire, first and foremost, to education people to better health.
Live Green spoke to Honi and got a tour of her Falls Church, VA space, where she offers a wide range of organic treatments and products.
HB: Letâ€™s see. Iâ€™ve been in the beauty industry for 17 years. I started at as a Licensed Electrologist in 1992 and was attending college pursuing my bachelors in Psychology. I went on to graduate school to study Clinical Counseling, where I begun to work with refugees providing career counseling for them to help them adjust to the new life in America. During all this time, I was always working part time as an Electrologist and had a huge interest in learning laser procedures to better accommodate my clientâ€™s needs. After 9/11, I lost my counseling position because the borders closed and no more refugees were coming into the US. Being a new mom, and the pressure of finances, it was then that I decided to take a chance and go on my own to launch my business. During this time, I fully got trained to become a Board Certified Laser Specialist to do procedures such as hair removal, vein treatments, collagen enhancements, pigment & acne treatments as well as cellular therapy. I opened Derma Hair Care LLC, in June 2006 and shortly after turned it completely GREEN.
LG: What is the inspiration for being green or organic?
HB: My boys and husband are the inspiration for going GREEN. About 2 years ago, my precious family developed a horrific skin allergy, the boys had severe eczema and my husband developed dermatitis. I was not happy with the solutions given to me by the doctors so I began doing research, and learned that many of the products used on our skin included toxic ingredients that contributed to these allergies. As soon as this Pandora box opened, I changed everything in my home and immediately begun to see the improvement on my familyâ€™s skin condition. It was then that I realized I had no choice but to bring the mass amount of knowledge I had gained regarding the toxins in our everyday life and their impact on our health, to my business and educate others. Once you know, you canâ€™t go back!
LG: Some people might be concerned that itâ€™s going to cost a lot of money to go green. Is it profitable to be green?
HB: Iâ€™ll be honest. For those of us who truly believe in the GREEN philosophy, we do what we have to do to stay true to ourselves. It is initially expensive I have to admit. It is what it is. Everything is 2-4 times more. But, to me, peopleâ€™s health & the environment is more valuable. You canâ€™t put a price on the health. Since I have gone GREEN, I have actually increased my clients by 30%. .
LG: How do you find the community? Are they interested in the organic aspect of Derma Hair Care?
HB: The world of cosmetics and aesthetics is a billion dollar industry. On average people use 8 to 10 everyday products for their hygiene & beauty purposes, but are mostly using products that are harmful to their health. I am at an advantage because people seek beauty needs and when they learn something is actually better for them and that it works, the referrals is huge. I am also listed in various holistic and GREEN & Organic sites where people find me. EDUCATION is our focus and when clients come, they learn a whole new way of taking care about their cosmetic needs that is actually NOT harmful to their body for a change & respects environment as well.
LG: Have you seen changes in suppliers?
HB: Prices have gone up and thatâ€™s a struggle. Itâ€™s very challenging. I canâ€™t lie! But clients whom recognize their health is in crisis because of all the environmental toxins we are exposed to, they are still willing to pay for the healthy products.
LG: Any new projects or ideas for the future?
HB: Iâ€™m moving into a new, greener space in the next couple of months! This is very exciting because I am creating a model of holistic medical spa that has not been implemented before in the industry. Letâ€™s just say that I am trying to put my network of holistic practitioners under one roof with me to even better serve our clients needs. Iâ€™m also adding more organic and non-toxic services, like the waterless pedicures, & cellulite treatments that can actually work.
LG: What would you say to a business owner whoâ€™s just starting out on the green path?
HB: I applaud those who are starting and keep up with all the challenges that they will face. If one truly believes in the GREEN cause, then that is the only way they will succeed and keep their head up high.
LG: Why do you like Live Green?
HB: Iâ€™m a huge supporter of Live Green! We need an organization to help support us by making socialization easier and allowing us to network with other GREEN organizations.
LG: It seems like common sense that you would look for a green business when considering health and wellness options, right? You donâ€™t want to work against yourself.
HB: You would be so surprised that in my industry most products are completely chemically-based; heavy in bleaches that cause so much liver damage & thinning of the skin, not to mention a dependent model that only considers quick fixes & does not respect natural beauty. When I started, no body had ever brought the world of ORGANICS to the field of Medical Aesthetics. I pioneered this concept because of my own personal experience to create a holistic way of treating clients for aesthetics. Iâ€™m still the only one in the US with this concept and this extreme of measurement. Although finally, I do think that these thoughts are catching up.
LG: How long before people see results?
HB: Surprisingly, very quickly. When people switch over from chemical based products to organic & synthetic products, there may be some reaction, as you flush the toxins, but then people are surprised by the results â€“ the softness of the skin, the overall feel of energy, better focus, less need for other products and â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦. Etc.
LG: What are the most important things to avoid?
HB: I have listed these awful toxins on my website because thereâ€™s a whole list. Sodium laureth sulfate is a big one. Itâ€™s a lathering agent in soaps, body wash, cleanser, shampoo, conditioner and it can cause all sorts of skin allergies such as eczema, psorisis, dermatitis and â€¦etc.
To make it simple: You want your productsâ€™ ingredients to be short, and readable & eatable.
LG: What is the good stuff?
HB: You are what you eat so I would start with proper and balanced nutrition and a great holistic health counselor, such as Rebekah Kenefic that I work with, would assist you with your needs. There are some very simple things too: Get a shower filter, increase your water intake, and use synthetic-free products on your skin. Omega 3â€™s are a MUST! Thatâ€™s fish oil or, if you are a vegetarian, flax oil.
There are more tips on our web site: www.dermahaircare.com
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