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“Hi! I’m Ife Obi (@ife_o)! Four years ago, I transitioned from selling and marketing video games to being a “wellness culturist.” The wellness of myself, my family and my community has become my life’s mission and so I launched a wellness brand, The Fit In. We have three fitness studios providing different movement options for the residents of the largely Black & Brown communities in East Brooklyn including pilates, strength training and barre. We’ve also launched our own wellness products to tackle the issues impacting our communities at higher rates. I am also a lead instructor and trainer in the studios, the head of marketing, chief innovator, handyman, janitor and all the things solo-entrepreneurs are for their business.
Because of my profession, which means I’m booked, busy, and moving continuously, I see beauty as natural. With The Fit In, I preach body acceptance and treating the body we have with kindness. I feel the same about skin and hair. Because I’m constantly in motion, I need my skin and hair to breathe which means not layering it with product but still remaining healthy and moisturized. I also need things to be fast, meaning minimal work. Natural with a little sparkle is how I approach beauty.
I would say my appreciation for beauty comes from my mom. Really because she never wore make-up except for maybe a lip. She kept her hairstyles easy because she worked two jobs and didn’t have time for constant styling. So I guess my lack of training or exposure to complicated beauty routines helped me appreciate the natural beauty in people and in myself.
My philosophy is, treat your body well and let your natural beauty shine through.
I’ll start with bodycare since that is a big part of my world. I move my body, in some way, six days a week. I love keeping my body strong and healthy through strength training modalities especially working with kettlebells and doing pilates. It helps to keep my body healthy by keeping my bones strong, joints mobile, and muscles developed. Complimenting that, I feed my body daily with a smoothie of collagen to maintain my muscles and feed my skin and hair, and then I use our own Making Moves Digestive Supplement to help maintain good gut health. Because I’m training people 36 hours a week in addition to my own training, I need the occasional topical pain reliever for sore muscles. I like to use Noirebud’s CBD Butter because it’s soothing and goes on smoothly.
Coconut Oil and shea butter are what I use as my daily skin moisturizers. Right after a hot shower, I’ll use my whipped shea or cocoa butter from Black Girl Long Hair, especially during the colder NYC days or I’ll just throw on some coconut oil during the steamier seasons. For my face, after washing with Buttah Skin’s Gentle Cleanser which I like because of its lightness and doesn’t dry me out, I moisturize with their CocoaShea Revitalizing Cream. On sunny days, I’ll use Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer with SPF 30 to keep my face hydrated and protected.
I’ll only put on make-up if there’s a photoshoot coming and even with that, I keep it minimal like my mom did focusing on the lips. I like to use NCLA Beauty Lip Scrub to keep my lips soft followed by my Kiehl’s Lip Balm. Then when it calls for a little sparkle, I’ll add a pop of lip color and bronzer or blush from brands like ColouredRaine and Marena Beaute.
Again, because of my lifestyle, I need my haircare to be quick and easy. I need to keep my scalp and hair clean, but moisturized. In between stylist visits, which are every few months, I like to use Prose's customized hair-care system. While my hair is natural, I color my hair often and the system keeps my hair healthy and soft. In between washings, I’ll occasionally use pure shea butter or coconut oil to moisturize my natural hair.
One thing my boyfriend and I have committed to is one getaway a month. It can be a staycation getaway or a full tropical escape, but either way it’s important to have a moment to escape for a minute and reset. I also have moments in the day where I turn off quite literally. No phone, no laptop, just me and maybe some Real Housewives on the TV.
Bed-Stuy is a constant inspiration. Walking around The Stuy, especially in the summer, is like no other place. It’s such a vibe and really is a Black Business Hub. We have amazing wellness businesses in the neighborhood, especially those run by Black Women like Happy Buds, Life Wellness and The Fit In, of course. My community constantly inspires me to do more for them because they really are the best community on the planet.”