Laila Khelawan always struggled with her skin, having eczema on her arms and legs and sometimes on her face.

For years, Khelawan tried to find the “perfect” product that would moisturize but not inflame her eczema. She discovered that some brands are advertising a product as “organic” but according to the ingredients, it was a misleading claim.

“I just found that there’s a lot of products out there but they really use their branding to sell something that they aren’t really selling,” Khelawan says.

Many companies, according to Khelawan, “Don’t even say the stuff that’s in there in their formulas so sometimes you’ll buy something and you’ll have no idea what’s in it because they don’t even write the ingredients on it.”

The ingredients are what’s really important to Khelawan because people can get eczema from irritants such as metals.

“Your skin is a sponge and everything that you put on your skin soaks into your bloodstream,” Khelawan says.

Khelawan always wanted to learn more about skin for herself so she could learn to take care of her eczema so she could learn what’s the best option out there for herself.

She noticed a lot of companies don’t label their products properly even high-end brands at luxury markets, most of the time don’t have the full ingredients on the bottles.

“You don’t really know what you’re getting and if you go on their website, it will tell you the main ingredients but doesn’t tell you all of them so you can never really know.” 

The reason for not listing all the ingredients partly is because they might be using a secret formulation and may not want other companies to copy their formula. But this also poses a problem because consumers don’t really know what they are buying.

Khelawan believes the skincare industry has become so complicated that consumers are conflicted on what to buy for their skin concerns.

“When I would have clients come to me at Eternal Beauty Institute, they just don’t know what to do because it’s not simplified”.

Khelawan explains she has always been an entrepreneur at heart. She explains after going to the Eternal Beauty Institute for skin, she has learned a lot and is passionate about skin and that she has always struggled with skincare problems and this is her way to help others, while still being successful.

Khelawan is born and raised in Calgary but she designed her skincare line to be Fijian, inspired by her family’s roots.

Before Khelawan started her skincare line, she pursued her career as an exotic dancer.

She talks about how many people can be quite narrow-minded in terms of being an exotic dancer.

“There’s a lot of people that will come in and they think they are better than you cause that’s their morals and they think that what we’re doing is wrong and it’s hard to deal with that sometimes cause I’m just a human being.”

Khelawan also discusses how her dancing has helped her enormously with funding her skincare line and that she is eternally grateful for that.

“Dancing has funded my schooling and skincare company,” Khelawan says.

Being a dancer, Khelawan maintains smooth skin by using her face moisturizer on most of her body, she used particular ingredients to ensure that the formulation isn’t greasy.

Especially as being a dancer, using greasy formulas can make her slip off the pole.

Previously, when she was working she didn’t use any lotion when doing performances as she didn’t want to slip on the pole.

“Totoka Time”, Face Moisturizer, Khelawan uses this product to moisturize her skin during her shifts as a dancer. Photo courtesy of Totoka Time

“My moisturizer is not as greasy, it’s a very light moisturizer, I will put that on when I feel dry and I can still do pole tricks because it’s got a great consistency to it, it’s more of a gel moisturizer. A lot of the dancers use it because it’s the only lotion we can use without making the pole dangerous.”

Khelawan explains she has always been an entrepreneur at heart. She explains after going to school for skin, she has learned a lot and is passionate about skin and that she has always struggled with skincare problems and this is her way to help others, while still being successful.

She will continue to dance in her life as that is something she has always been doing.

“I still dance and I will probably still dance until I’m 30 as most dancers retire when they are 30. I just love dancing and I love being on the stage”.

“It was just about putting something out there that’s safe to use and it’s affordable and it kinda shares a bit of my heritage of where I come from and my values,” Khelawan says.

Editor: Hadeel Abdel-Nabi | habdel-nabi@cjournal.ca

Want the latest Calgary Journal content? Subscribe to our newsletter.