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How August Alsina Found The Beauty in Healing

Being equipped to respond to trauma can take a lifetime of searching. As Black men, the tools needed for healing are rarely found at our disposal. We often carry societal pressures on how we should navigate through the world, leaving little room for exploration and achieving unthinkable dreams. Our strengths are weaponized as young men. We succumb to the burdens of accepting titles and positions that jeopardize our mental, physical and spiritual well-being. For entertainer August Alsina, his experience with adversity led to self-discovery in finding there is beauty in healing.

As someone who has suffered from chronic illnesses and public scrutiny, August went through a period of isolation; amidst the loss of his brother to gun violence, his sister to cancer, his vision, and temporary paralysis. These challenges and recognizable warnings were definite signs that the mind and body had enough. It was evident that it was time to take his self-care seriously, take a break, and heal for the sake of his own life and his nieces as their official legal guardian.

“Stress pushed me into a real depression because I didn't understand why my body was breaking down. It was an experience that changed me completely as a soul and as a person. Every thought I had about myself all got wiped clean for me to have to start over and begin again," said Alsina. This period of fortitude laid the foundation for the creation of his beauty and wellness brand Encina. “I had to start this company for more reasons than one.”

Encina is a genderless skincare brand made for melanated skin tones. Encina’s messaging is similar to the motto August is currently living by which is “healing from within.” The line is comprised of four products, Begin Again facial cleanser, 3-in-1 Super Elixir, Stripped Powder Exfoliator and Infused Wellness Cream. The brand is an homage to his history and lineage.

“I started doing research around this time about myself. I did an ancestral background search and looked up my last name. I didn’t know much about my father and his history. I found out that the word Alsina came from Encina.” It is a Spanish word meaning holm oak tree. Upon further discovery, August learned the healing power that the tree possesses. There is an extract you can get from a holm oak tree to help deal with certain skin problems like; dermatitis and psoriasis. “I internalized it as God was putting the plan altogether for me. This whole journey with Encina has pushed me into being more disciplined with my overall healing.”

A new beginning can be a terrifying journey of uncharted territory but a chance to live above the scope that once boxed you in. “The best thing has to have been for my body to be broken down. Because I’ve lost myself in the process. It was like, damn, if I can easily lose August, who the f**k was he anyway? I took it as if I should go and figure out more about him. It was time to put that old person to rest and move on. Change the direction.”

A change in direction indeed! August is now embarking on a voyage with renewed intentions. He is claiming a stake in a woman-led industry; an industry that once looked down on the standards of Black beauty. He hopes to be a source of inspiration and an example of endurance. The Encina brand will have the potential to live far beyond the trauma he once endured.

Photo Credit: Product - Leyla Stefani | August - Trenity Thomas

Check out the full interview.

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