“It was my dream since childhood,” says Rafa Hojeij, of her desire to create a cosmetics brand. The Lebanese entrepreneur, who holds a Master’s degree in industrial chemistry from Beirut’s Université Saint-Joseph (USJ), launched Potion Kitchen, a sustainable skincare line, in 2019, fulfilling that lifelong desire to invent a cosmetics label of her own.
Hojeij describes Potion Kitchen as a reflection of her healthy vegetarian lifestyle, explaining that when she tried to find a sustainable cosmetics brands for her personal use, she discovered that such products were extremely expensive. “I wanted to create a brand that offered natural and clean products at an affordable price,” she says, “to democratize sustainable skincare.”
Research and development started in 2018, with the main manufacturing facilities located in Beirut. As the business grew, Hojeij relocated to Deir Antar in Southern Lebanon. A more rural setting for the production facilities proved to be a blessing, as Hojeij is now able to plant and harvest many of the necessary ingredients. “We extract essential oils and even plant certain things in Southern Lebanon, like geranium and rosemary,” she says. “We also produce rose water and lavender water.”
Some of Potion Kitchen’s bestselling products include Hair Heroes, a blend of hair oils designed to promote the growth of strong, healthy hair. Then there’s the Rosehip facial serum, infused with geranium. “It’s naturally very rich in vitamin A,” says Hojeij, “and is an alternative to Retinol, which is chemically infused.”
Potion Kitchen’s Lavender essential oil is also a client favorite. Designed to be applied on the palm of your hand and then inhaled, the Lavender essential oil is a relaxing sleep aid that can be used as a massage oil or diffuser. “All of our ingredients are environmentally friendly and plant-based, except beeswax,” says Rafa, “but we have plans to replace it with a vegan product.”
The Potion Kitchen range is currently available in Lebanon through Mint Basil Market, Feel22 and Toters, with plans to expand to new markets in Côte d’Ivoire and other parts of West Africa, Iraq, Dubai and the rest of the GCC.
For the near future, Rafa explains that Potion Kitchen is going into everyday essentials. “We’re planning to release three products this year, three more next year and so on.” Great news for Potion Kitchen fans, who will constantly have a new product to enjoy.