Benardett Jno Finn

Being at peace with my skin and its perceived flaws is one of the most important skin care lessons I’ve learned.
— Benardett Jno Finn

 

Sénica (pronounced SAY-NEEKA) is a New Orleans based artisanal body care brand that creates products that celebrate your natural beauty. Founded in 2007 by Benardett after her long, costly and largely disappointing journey of searching for effective products to treat eczema, dermatitis and other common skin ailments.  Sénica products are made using functional ingredients that help you care for your skin and celebrate your natural beauty regardless of the day you are having. 

The ingredients found in Sénica artisanal body care products contain proven therapeutic, moisturizing, and restorative properties that create and nurture balance. Sénica only uses the best nature has to offer, giving you complete satisfaction from head to toe. Whether you struggle with skin conditions, just want to take gentle care of your skin without the harsh chemicals and detergents, or create an inviting ambiance in your home, Sénica provides natural options that help you accomplish just that.

NM: When did skincare become important to you?

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Bernadett: Skincare has always been important to me. I've always had sensitive skin and dealt with seasonal irritations. However, it was during my college years that the importance of skin care was magnified. It was during this time I moved to upstate New York and the drastic change in weather impacted my skin. I dealt with severe eczema and dermatitis breakouts, mainly on my face, chest, and arms.  This experience helped me to get laser-focused on a more holistic approach to health and wellness. 

NM: Benardett, tell us about your career before starting Sénica?

I am a trained biochemist, earning my degree at Syracuse University. Before starting Sénica, I worked in the public health arena serving people and families affected by HIV/AIDS.

NM: Why did you decide to create your own skincare brand?

Benardett: Starting Sénica was a process I never planned on. I had been creating products for myself for some time and decided to venture out at whim by setting up at a local market. That was probably one of the most stressful decisions of my life because I had no idea what to expect and I was up all night working on product and presentation. Sénica has continued to evolve and that rash decision connected me with people that remain an integral part of my personal and business lives.

NM: What is the mission of Sénica?

Benardett: Sénica represents a lifestyle that focuses on a holistic approach to health, wellness, beauty, and restoration – giving equal attention to the proper care of skin and hair with products made from quality natural ingredients, along with providing useful information for adopting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle through the Sénica Learning Lab. These values are informed by the knowledge that what you put on your body is just as important as what you put in your body.

NM: What inspired your colorful packaging?

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Benardett: Our packaging is inspired by my Caribbean culture. I believe the colors add an extra touch to our client experience. Every Sénica jar is packed with high-quality ingredients and the outside features clean design and uplifting colors. It's the perfect combination. Plus, I am the person who has no problem wearing lime green or bright colors in the dead of winter, if it makes me happy. We don't have any lime green labels at the moment but I wouldn't rule it out. 

NM: What is your skincare ritual?

Benardett: My skincare rituals are very basic. For my face, I cleanse with one of my handmade soap bars, tone with a floral water or infused tea to remove impurities and follow up with a moisturizing oil or our Blemish Balm. This might be scandalous but sometimes I tend to skip a moisturizer, mainly at night and in the warmer months, to give my skin the opportunity to balance itself. On days when I am wearing makeup, I use an oil first to breakdown the makeup and follow up with my usual routine.

For my body, I cleanse with one of my handmade soap bars and follow up with one of our moisturizers which is usually a shea moisturizer or our Blemish Balm. If my skin is dry between showers, I'll mist with water and reapply moisturizer. This is great during the cooler months when your clothes and the environment can have a more drying effect on your skin.

NM: What are your must-have products?

Benardett: Most of the Sénica products I formulate can be used from head to toe and in a variety of ways but our Blemish Balm wins every time. I would pair it with a handmade soap or the Senk Shampoo Bar. The Blemish Balm is packed with nourishing herbs and oils for soothing the skin and aiding in the skin repair process. It is my lip balm, face balm, full body moisturizer, spot treatment, and more.


NM: What is one of the most important lessons you have learned on your skincare journey? 

Benardett: Being at peace with my skin and its perceived flaws is one of the most important skin care lessons I've learned. There was a season after starting Sénica, where I struggled with acne. It turned out it was tied to the gutting of the houses in my neighborhood post-Hurricane Katrina. I didn't really deal with acne as a teenager, so to have that challenge in my early twenties AND be the person at the head of an artisanal body care brand was a test of my commitment to what I was doing and one of our core values of celebrating natural and authentic beauty.


NM: Now that you’re a #Skinboss, what would you like to accomplish in the next five years? 

Benardett: My goal is to continue to develop my skills as an entrepreneur and natural product formulator, create opportunities to care for myself and community, and to serve my clients to the best of my ability. 

Donica Johns