Maybe she's born with it...or maybe it's her aesthetician! It's not often you get to sit down and talk beauty and skincare with an expert, so today we're putting the face behind MiriEffect Skincare, Onyi Eruchalu, under the microscope to unmask her secrets! 

Hey Onyi, cool name! Where did the name “Onyi” come from? 
Thank you! Onyi means God's Gift. It hails from the Igbo tribe in Nigeria. #IgboKwenu! 

  The hammam, or Turkish bath, is the Islamic variant of the Roman bath, sauna, or steam bath. 

  The hammam, or Turkish bath, is the Islamic variant of the Roman bath, sauna, or steam bath. 

What is the attitude regarding beauty in Nigeria?
Nigerians love ALL things beauty - hair, nails, skincare, lashes. You name it, they love it and will travel near and far to get it. Some of the best spas in West Africa are in Lagos and Abuja with influences from the diverse population such as hammams and ayurvedic treatments. I experienced the hammam for the first time in January during my last visit and left feeling like my skin was reborn. Believe it or not, the best nail techs that I've encountered when I visit are men whether I'm in Lagos or Owerri. Don't believe what you've heard about Nigeria, "We the best" in *DJ Khaled Voice*. We're the giant of Africa for a reason!

Tell us about your daily skincare routine.
I perform a double cleanse morning and night to ensure I've removed the makeup/debris that clogs pores. Once my skin is cleansed, I apply a toner to rebalance the pH level of my skin. After toning, I apply my antioxidant serums, moisturizer, and sunscreen (during the day). At night, I apply my retinol serum after cleansing. Since the weather has warmed up, I use my serums as a moisturizer since they are lighter then apply sunscreen on top of it. Twice a week, I exfoliate my skin with either an enzyme treatment, scrub, or my Clarisonic brush. I apply a mask and under-eye treatment once a week. And yes, the Aesthetician gets a facial treatment once a month - my current favorites are microdermabrasion, ultrasound, and dermaplaning. 

Do you wear makeup? If so, what do you wear?
I wear makeup but my philosophy is fuss-free. I don't have time to spend contouring and highlighting. So, on a daily basis, I stick to lipstick, eyeliner, and mascara. I love any Nars lipstick, and my go-to colors are Pigalle, Charlotte, Fire Down Below. I alternate between YSL or Maybelline mascara. If I'm heading for a night out or special event, I'll wear a light foundation or concealer, and some blush. My current collection of makeup products includes NarsTarteKat Von DYSLMaybelline, and Anastasia Beverly Hills

What is the one product you can’t live without?
Well, I don't know if I can name just one. The SkinScript Green Tea Cleanser and the PCA Skin C-Quench Antioxidant Serum are my must haves. The cleanser is gel-based, eliminates surface oil and acne-causing bacteria, leaving my skin squeaky clean. The serum is part of my anti-aging arsenal. It protects against free radicals and leaves my skin soft and glowing. 

What’s your favorite place to shop beauty products?
Since I use professional skin care products, I purchase them directly through the manufacturer. Industry trade shows are another favorite place to shop for products. It's beauty heaven! The best in skincare, hair, nail products all in one place at discounted prices. But I do enjoy the occasional run to Ulta or Sephora

We know how you feel about the importance of sunscreen. Preach for us girl!
I can't say it enough but sun exposure is one of the leading causes of premature aging of the skin. Sun exposure leads to wrinkles, sagging skin, sun spots, and even worse skin cancer. I'm amazed at how many people do not wear sunscreen on a daily basis. Everyone should wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least an SPF 30 that protects against both UVB (sunburn/skin cancer) and UVA (wrinkle-causing) rays. If you're outside for longer than two hours, reapply it. Even on a cloudy day, 80% of the sun's ultraviolet rays pass through the clouds. My fav is SkinScript Sheer Protection SPF 30 - I use this and sell it in the studio.  

We know you’re an aesthetician, are you equally as interested in other areas of beauty i.e. lashes, nails, hair, etc.?
While I enjoy getting my nails done, I absolutely live for pedicures and massages. Thai massages are my favorite and what I like to call "Assisted Yoga" because of how intense the stretches are. My fav mani/pedi and massage spots are in Sugar Land. As far as my hair, I tend to switch up my hairstyles - I've been super short, shoulder-length, and longer. However, during the summer I enjoy rocking various braided styles because I enjoy the versatility. Stay tuned for my Summer '17 styles! 


Tell us about your studio, MiriEffect Skincare. How did it come to be and what is your philosophy behind it?
I've been receiving facials consistently for over 15 years, and always knew that I wanted to own a business in the spa/wellness industry. Clearly they're working because I still get carded! My philosophy is simple - Radiant skin starts from within and requires consistency. My goal is to understand the lifestyle of each client in order to provide the appropriate treatment and recommend an effective at-home regimen. Our skin is our representative, we must take care of it. 

So your studio is located in Stafford, but what are some of your favorite haunts in both Stafford and Houston? 
 I can't believe I've lived here for 10 years! Some of my favorite places to eat are brunchin' at Jupiter Pizza & WafflesQuattro at Four Seasons, or Cool Runnings (who doesn't love a mom and pop Jamaican restaurant with delicious Jerk wings?). Happy Hour at Keeper's JapaneseCru WineThe Tasting Room. Dinner at Del Frisco's (the staff is super accommodating and friendly), Truluck's (crab cake reminds me of the DMV), or Steak 48 (Chilean Seabass is everything). Spa day at ZaSpa at Hotel Zaza. When I'm not enjoying delicious eats, I like to keep fit at the gym, running the trails at either University Park or Oyster Creek Park, or checking out a Bikram Yoga class. Leisure time or me time calls for a trip to MFAH to check out new/old exhibitions and films. Miller Outdoor Theatre and Discovery Green are great this time of year to check out live performances (when the humidity allows). I visited the Smart Financial Centre earlier this year at the open house and I'm excited to check out a show later this year. 

Megan Halpininterviews