As a person of color, finding skin-care products that are created with my specific needs in mind is a rarity. And finding products that actually work for my skin is even rarer. It’s not a lack of demand that prevents these products from getting made, but a lack of funding for women and minority founders. Despite the barriers that exist for entrepreneurs of color, especially in the beauty industry, brands such as Eadem (Latin for “all or the same”), which center people of color, are becoming more mainstream.

Marie Kouadio Amouzame, born in Côte d’Ivoire and raised in France, and Alice Lin Glover, a first-generation Taiwanese American, met in 2014 at Google where they became friends and bonded over their love for beauty and skin care. “We don’t look the same, but we have a lot of shared perspectives of being children of immigrants and our parents making us feel like the harder you scrub, the cleaner you are… Cut fruit means I’m sorry without having to say it. Things like that. And I think that’s when we realized that all women of color share union in our beauty perspective,” says Lin Glover.

“I got into beauty because something happened to me in 2014, and I’m sure it’s happened to a lot of women,” recalls Kouadio Amouzame. She was shopping for a foundation, and walked into a department store. In the store, there was a poster of a famous actress who was the same shade as her, but when Kouadio Amouzame asked for the shade, the salesperson told her that they didn’t carry the shade in the store. “

That was very traumatic for me because I had my money, I work hard, I had my credit card out, and I just wanted to buy the product and they’re telling me that they don’t serve customers like me in those spaces,” she says.  That experience stuck with Kouadio Amouzame, leading her to look behind the scenes of the beauty industry and find a solution to prevent situations like this from happening to others.

Similarly, Lin Glover’s experiences at Google and other health and wellness start-ups made her realize “these brands were beautiful and I totally vibed with them, but they weren’t centered around people like me or that looked like Marie and me,” she says. To help offer an alternative, the pair landed on creating a product to combat hyperpigmentation. Lin Glover realized that most people experience hyperpigmentation (it affects approximately five million people in the U.S.), especially people who have more melanin in their skin, and that’s how the Milk Marvel Dark Spot Serum ($68) was born.

“We started the line because we realized hyperpigmentation was a huge [issue]. It was something that people of color deal with. There are dark spot serums on the market but not all of them are created equal,” says Lin Glover. Instead of taking the traditional route of meeting with a manufacturing company, selecting a formula from a catalog, and making a few tweaks to it, the two started from scratch.

All active ingredients in the Milk Marvel Dark Spot Serum formula have been proven and tested to work on skin of color, according to the co-founders. Products created to treat post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation in skin of color tend to bleach the skin, but “with Milk Marvel, we have the formula and technology that’s able to identify only existing pigmentation and leave the rest of your complexion intact,” says Kouadio Amouzame. It was imperative for the co-founders to work with both a dermatologist and chemist of color, creating a formulation that won’t lighten or tone down your skin tone. “Your melanin is not the enemy like everyone has made us think over time,” Lin Glover says.

The ingredients that make Milk Marvel special are amber algae, niacinamide, and vitamin C. “It’s the combination of the three that’s able to lighten only the existing pigmentation,” says Kouadio Amouzame. Instead of utilizing high dosages of the actives “for the sake of the claim on the packaging, the ingredient levels are chosen with skin of color in mind to be gentle,” she adds.

Amber algae is a sustainably harvested plant extract that targets excess pigmentation to reduce dark spots without lightening your overall skin tone. “Niacinamide is a tried-and-true ingredient that we both love,” says Kouadio Amouzame, adding that it helps fight existing acne and prevent new breakouts from occurring and that it overall improves skin texture. They opted for encapsulated vitamin C as it’s more stable than counterparts, “so it works at a lower dosage but also it doesn’t turn orange and it won’t smell bad,” she assures. Plus, it’s non-irritating and acts as a preventative against free radicals and dark spots.

With any skin-care routine, you want to make sure you aren’t mixing products that will cause a chemical reaction and irritate your skin, and Kouadio Amouzame and Lin Glover assure that you can continue to use your favorite products such as retinol without any bad reactions. Due to the gentle formulation of the Milk Marvel Dark Spot Serum, you can use it daily, twice a day. The consistency is light, sans stickiness, and residue-free, and it sinks into your skin and was made to be your “invisible friend,” says Kouadio Amouzame.

It’s evident that Eadem is more than just another skin-care brand. The thoughtfulness and passion for melanated skin is apparent in every aspect of the brand from the name to the imagery to the conversations Kouadio Amouzame and Lin Glover curate surrounding the duality of beauty from a media and cultural perspective for their platform.

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