Created by Kendy Bourguignon Sencée
Name: Kendy Bourguignon Sencée
Location: Really, I don’t know. I’ve been living in Paris for over 15 years. The city is beautiful but I’m a girl from Guadeloupe.
Occupation: Creator of Antonin .B, hair enthusiast & updo artist.
What inspired you to create your haircare line, Antonin .B: I created Antonin .B at a time when I wanted to reconnect with my roots, with the traditions of my island and also with myself as a woman of color with curly and very frizzy hair. I wanted to create something that would bring together the knowledge of the island and the science of the city.
Where does the name Antonin .B come from: It’s the name of my great-grandmother’s grandpa: Grégoire Antonin Cyrille André Bourguignon. He’s the reason the Bourguignon family name is still alive. He was from a long line of free people of color on an island with a very complex colonial history, which had affected our family, so he made sure that all his children, both boys and girls, would be provided for when he passed. He got everyone land in the same area. 150 years later, the family is still there today.
You began your career in the beauty industry as a model and transitioned to pursuing a career as a beauty entrepreneur. What inspired that decision: That really kind of happened on its own. I really didn’t take myself seriously on the runway. It was fun and it came at a time when I was really struggling with my self image so it helped me feel better about myself even if I thought I did not belong there. However, I had a lot more fun backstage organizing or taking care of the models, learning about hair and then working on hair myself. It feels like a very long transition into what I’m doing now.
What products are in your line and what inspired their creation: The first collection “The Essentials” is composed of the Desert Serum Oil (for dry, damaged and color-treated hair) and the Honey Butter (for dry, thirsty hair) to attract the moisture in the air and lock it into the hair shaft.
The new collection “Backstage Cocktail” was created specifically for the runway. Antonin .B was the official hair partner of Green Fashion Week in Rome and wanted to run a clean backstage area since the fumes from conventional hair sprays are simply disgusting so I created two products: Street Fix -a mineralizing hair spray for soft to medium hold, texture, body and shine. And Editorial Fix - a mineralizing liquid gel for stronger hold, more body, texture and the ability to create more volume on editorial types of shootings.
For everyday use, Street Fix is easily used to create lift and volume at the roots as well as body and hold. Editorial Fix is best to define movement and curls, for roller sets and for men with shorter haircuts.
I really like my products to be versatile because I believe that in hair care, you don’t need more. You just need better.
Antonin .B products are made with 100% natural ingredients. Why is that important to you: I really wanted to prove that it is possible to have professional quality with products that are synthetics-free and rich in natural goodness; no water, no cheap oils, just a mix of green science and pure natural ingredients. It is a challenge but it’s possible and desirable.
Some of the ingredients you use are sourced from the island where you were born. How does your heritage and culture inform your product creation: Antonin .B as a brand is very Creole. The ingredients come from Africa, Europe and the Americas—basically like my culture. With the new collection, I wanted to go a bit further and really bring some light to traditions specific to my island so I integrated rum and brown sugar from Guadeloupe in both of my new styling products.
Traditionally in Guadeloupe, women add a little bit of rum to their homemade hair masks for shine and for the scent. I wanted that in my new hair spray and styling gel as a very functional tribute to these women.
As for the brown sugar, it is known for creating hold and texture, which were two elements I definitely wanted. I also wanted to honor my family so in the products, I use brown sugar from the last refinery on the island, which is also the place where my grandpa and his younger brother used to work. This sugar is important not only to my island’s history and economy but to my family as well.
“You don’t need more. You just need better.”
What products might you recommend for someone who has dry hair: For dry hair, drink water and spray water on your hair. Shampoo less. It doesn’t mean you can’t wash your hair. You can still rinse with water after a workout for example, or clean it with conditioner.
What products or advice would you recommend for someone who has oily roots: If you have oily roots, you are usually shampooing too much or using chemicals that are too harsh for your scalp, which in reaction produces more oils. Space your shampoos out. If you shampoo every day, do it every other day and use dry shampoo in-between. After 4 weeks, do it every 3 days, etc. Help balance your scalp with oils, like jojoba which excellent for that, just so your scalp doesn’t feel completely depleted. Use nettle-based products too. Never try to eliminate your natural sebum. You’ll just produce more and create another problem: greasy roots and dry, brittle ends.
When did you first discover green beauty: I was really born around it but I didn’t know. It was just what we did in the Caribbean. Green beauty as it exists in the West is something I discovered in Paris under 10 years ago, as I was transitioning back to my natural curly/frizzy hair.
What clean beauty products are always in your makeup bag: In terms of makeup, the only clean beauty I have is my eyeliner from Alima Pure and my mascara from Avril. I don’t use a lot of lipstick but when I do, I have lovely ones from Axiology. My complexion products are conventional. It doesn’t look like clean beauty is really in a hurry to create many options deeper than honey. To be fair (no pun intended), I’ve seen a few out there. I’m eyeing Gressa’s Serum Foundation but haven’t had the chance to try it out in person before committing to a full size yet.
What are your skincare essentials: I’ve created a regimen for my specific needs. I am a hormonal mess with dry skin and I scar easily. I’ve created an AHA toner for myself, a couple of oils (a retinoid and a ceramide), a vitamin C ester serum with hyaluronic acid and a lemon distillate based cream that feels terrific. These days for a quick fix, I have a calming face balm with chamomile, blue tansy and tea that melts into the skin. That is really my must-have right now.
Go-to shop for eco-friendly brands: Right now, my own lab. But when I don’t have the time and I need something quick, I go to Mademoiselle Bio in Paris.
Can you share your favorite beauty secret with us: I don’t feel like I have lots of secrets because I keep sharing them but I would say keep your skin and hair moisturized.
What advice would you share with someone who is interested in transitioning their beauty regime to include more natural products: The first thing to do is to cut silicones. They’re absolutely useless and disgusting. Cut them out and get rid of the plastic film they leave on your hair and skin. Then get to know what your hair is like and what your skin really feels like without silicones. It’ll be tough at first. The fake glow was still a glow and it might feel strange not having it. But it’s so worth it. The real glow is something that is really beautiful!
What advice would you share with someone who wants to start taking better care of themselves and develop a self-care practice: Be honest with yourself. Do not plan to do things because you think it’s what you should do. Only do things you know you will keep doing long-term—things that don’t feel like a hassle. Otherwise, at some point you will just stop doing those things and be mad at yourself. So just go straight to what feels good and natural to you. I think we achieve more from that honest place within us—whether it’s work, housekeeping, food, beauty, relationships, etc.
Why do you think self-care is so important and what are some of your favorite ways to practice self-care: Self-care is important and deep to me. I’ve been in very sad, dark and sometimes dangerous places in my life. Right now, things are much better but I’m at a point where I realize that, for some people, it is extremely difficult to ever climb into a place of happiness or mere peace. But what we all have is a relationship with ourselves and it is something we all need to develop to simply feel good in our own bodies and alone in our thoughts. I can’t really answer to the practice because at this moment I’m at a stage where I’m trying to tie together self-awareness, community and self-care and I haven’t found the recipe yet (if it exists). I’ll keep you posted. ☺
Who inspires you: My mom. The older I get, the more I see all the things she did right for us. I don’t mean to be cliché—trust me, I know how flawed she is. 48 hours in the same house and we drive each other crazy. But when it comes to her choices for her kids, to the teachings, the link to traditions, to nature and making us strong- without being harsh, I can’t thank her enough. She did a great job.
How can people get in touch with you: Come and connect on Instagram @AntoninBParis or visit the website to learn more www.antoninb.com. Always feel free to message and ask questions. Antonin .B is a small indie brand. Connection is always a plus!
What’s next for Antonin .B: Right now I’m releasing the new “Backstage Cocktail” collection officially out on September 5th. With these products, I’ve set foot in the film industry. We’ll see how that goes. I’m also working on collaborations in fashion and studio work. In the next few months, I’m going to focus on that creative aspect and on growth in the US.
Thank you so much to Kendy for sharing her story with us.
I was first introduced to Antonin .B a few years ago when I was sent a sample of her hair oil and was immediately impressed with the formula because it was the only thing that made my newly high-lighted hair feel manageable. If you’ve been looking to add a hair serum, balm or hair spray to your collection, I can’t recommend Antonin .B enough. Not only do her products feel luxurious, they also work wonders. <3