Kyla Farmer is a nomad, creative counsel/midwife, lover of water. She is a womxn currently decolonizing her body, mind, heart, soul, love, and daily life. A woman of Afrikan, Indigenous and European descent, she calls many places home and feels called to many more.
Kyla grew up in the unceded Algonquin Territory, known as Ottawa which is where her immediate family lives. For the last couple of years, she has been living in Toronto (or, Tkaronto, she tells me: Territory of the Mississaugas of New Credit, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Anishinaabe, and Algonquin people).
“It has been a place where I’ve connected with so many wonderful folks, upgraded my hustle mentality and creative practices, healed and grown.”
“The world is my country” she says, referencing Other locations where Kyla finds herself spending time and watering new roots of relationships are Six Nations (Ontario? which part?), Detroit, Michigan; Nova Scotia, and most recently, Canada’s West Coast, Coast Salish Territory.
What holds the most space in Kyla’s life is learning about and pursuing social, environmental, cultural and economic justice for communities of colour and reconciliation with Indigenous folks. as well as seeking ancestral connections, knowledge of self, the beauty of truthful art and cultivating relations of love and respect with the people around me.
What does being a natural beauty mean for you?
KF: Being a natural beauty means listening to my body, listening to Mother Earth, and doing what is best for me, despite what the masses and media would have for me. It means autonomy, sovereignty, revolution, power, responsibility and gratitude. It’s also such an informative journey and experience to learn more about how to take care of my body, inside and out, in a way that is aligned closer to Source – Mother Earth.
What is your natural beauty regimen if you have one?
KF: On the daily, I wash my face or shower with handcrafted soap and apply a shea butter blend that I’ve made myself (and previously I purchased Surely Goodness). I like to let that set and air-dry, which means hanging out nude for some time (yes!). I have some spritz bottles with water and argon oil that I put loosely in my hair after a homemade jojoba and argon oil blend is applied to wet hair. For a scent, if I feel like it, I use lavender essential oil mixed with water in a spritz bottle or a solid perfume blend that I bought at a natural beauty store. Weekly, I use a scrub, and most recently was gifted one with coffee, orange and sugar that my friend made. I also use homemade deep conditioner for my hair occasionally. I am still finding the perfect hair conditioner/treatment to use when I wash my hair. I also purchase the best homemade natural deodorant from a local small business of natural beauty products that a woman of color runs. I am also always open to trying new recipes and methods.
What are a few of your favorite natural beauty products?
KF: I love avocado oil, rose water + clay mask, shea butter blends, homemade scrubs, black soap – essentially anything that went from growing in the sun without chemicals to on my body. No chemicals, simple ingredients, and fairly traded/exchanged.
Do you wear make-up? Why or why not?
KF: I used to wear makeup more often. I have never bought foundation, concealer and other skin makeup products. For the last 6+ years, I actively barely wear makeup. I don’t like to spend so much time worrying about it- shopping, researching and applying makeup, and the high expense of makeup – personally for me it is a waste of my time. Mascara I use sometimes, and then a full eye makeup application for special occasions, going out, getting glammed up with my friends, etc.
Is there a link for you between natural beauty and cultural identity?
KF: Yes, and that is a link that has developed strongly in my adult life. Growing up I did not have the knowledge of proper, natural based beauty and hygiene options. Lots of chemicals, corporate products and cosmetic industry false guarantees. The parallel journeys of my relearning and overstandings of my cultural identities, and my knowledge of self-care certainly reflect one another in many ways. I learned that the more you know, the less you need.
Learning about traditional medicines and methods of health and best practices for beauty from the ancestors and grandmothers of myself and many friends has taught me the solutions that are derived from the magic of Mother Earth and a deeper and more present relationship with my body. It’s a wonderful place to be, and I can appreciate very much where I came from to where I am now in all of that. So much brilliance to know!
Relate being a natural beauty to being an environmentalist who is also a woman of color.
KF: The sheer magnitude of what the make-up, hair product and fashion industries have done against the environment, for the sake of womxn ‘looking and feeling better’ is an absolute crime against humanity and living creatures. As I get older, wiser and more knowledgeable, I come to know so much more about the recipes of womxn of colour, especially from Africa, and the homemade products and strategies used to sustain beauty, answered by Mother Earth’s abundance.
It is against the norm, and many times I am ridiculed for being a natural beauty, like it’s a freaky thing to do. While I love what many sisters are doing with makeup, and recognize that is empowering to many, I have chosen another path.
I appreciate how womxn of colour, especially in the West given colonization and slavery, have always been inventive, adaptive and resilient against the changing circumstances put in front of them. As we see the environment change constantly, and the damages many industries have, it’s important for me understand how I can be part of the solution, and also be more healthful to myself. As a womxn of colour, self-determination is essential to our resilience, resistance and sheer magnificence! Being able to determine for myself what I want to put in and on my body, and having that consciousness aligned with what is healthful for the environment is simply a mirror – how humanity treats the environment is a direct demonstration to how the world’s indigenous and womxn of colour are being treated.
When do you feel most beautiful?
I feel most beautiful when I am living in my truth and walking/doing/being in my purpose. When I feel connected to spirit, source, beauty, intellect and liberation.
When do you feel most powerful?
KF: Same as [when I feel the most beautiful]
When do you feel at peace?
KF: When I am deep into the land, away from modern city development; near/in the ocean; on an adventure where everything is unfamiliar; when I am taking time for myself to reflect and delve into necessary self-care.