Citi is a proud sponsor of the 20 in '20, a list that spotlights up-and-coming leaders striving for change with one common goal: to make things better for all of us. Click to meet the honorees and learn more about Citi's initiatives here.
This past August, Tower 28 held its first ever Clean Beauty Summer School. To help cultivate a beauty industry that is more diverse and inclusive, founder (and PureWow 20 in ’20 honoree) Amy Liu teamed up with other entrepreneurs and seasoned experts in the beauty industry to develop a robust, multi-week program focused on accelerating the growth of majority Black-owned small beauty businesses. The result? This inaugural class of 10 clean beauty brands that you need to know about, and also happen to make excellent gifts.
1. 54 Thrones
Named after Africa’s 54 countries and inspired by the beauty rituals practiced by the founder’s Nigerian aunts, 54 Thrones features body butters, face oils, masks and soaps all made with ethically sourced and sustainable ingredients from Africa. The brand’s African Beauty Butters were dubbed one of Oprah’s Favorite Things for 2020. Pick them up in these limited-edition minis to give hardworking, dry, over-washed hands some relief.
Birthed out of medical scientist and trichologist Dr. Isfahan Chambers-Harris’ experience with breakage and scalp damage from chemical straighteners, Alodia is an innovative hair solution system for natural hair growth. The brand uses technology to personalize product choices based on scalp health, unique hair type and styling preferences. Alodia provides customizable kits and offers virtual consultations with hair trichologists, but for a gift that’s safe for nearly all hair types pick one of their hair masks and team it with the Stimulating Therapy Scalp Massager.
3. Aspen Apothecary
Give your recipient the gift of smelling and feeling good with a roll-on CBD perfume from Aspen Apothecary. Founded by two sisters, the brand has eight signature scents, each formulated without formaldehyde, parabens, phthalates, synthetic dyes, sulfates, propylene glycol, mineral oil, and animal-derived ingredients (whew). Oh, and their product descriptions read like poetry.
4. Base Butter
On a mission to make caring for oily and combination skin easier, founders Nicolette Graves and She’Neil Johnson created a balancing Aloe Vera Gel Face Moisturizer made to keep your skin’s natural pH between 4.2 to 5.8. Lightweight in nature and refreshing in feel, this product is ideal to help moisturize without shine or grease. Throw in the Sustainable Makeup Remover and Pre-Cleansing Cloths and you’ve got a recipe for glowing skin.
5. Doubledown Cosmetics
Husband and wife team, Marvin and Kristen Speller, are the dynamic duo behind Doubledown Cosmetics—a non-GMO, organic skincare and cosmetics brand that’s representative of all skin tones. The couple also founded the Domestic Violence Glam UP Program in 2011 and have partnered with local community organizations to provide education on health and wellness. May we suggest picking up their Mini Blush Holiday Glow Kit as a stocking stuffer?
Winner of the Clean Beauty Summer School, Kimberly Dillon is the founder behind Frigg—a beauty line that tackles burn-out and stress, and their impact on hair and skin. All the products are plant-based functional formulas that help support your emotional well-being while combatting beauty problems like dry flaky skin and scalps, thinning hair and premature aging. The brand’s hero ingredient is the hemp plant and in conjunction with a scientific advisory board, they use cannabinoids, adaptogens, and nervines to develop topicals and ingestible formulations to address the mind-body-skin connection.
7. Hanahana Beauty
As a child, Abena Boamah-Acheampong’s mother would heat up shea butter and cloves, and add them to her own body butter concoctions, which the family would use to treat various skin and muscle ailments. All of the information she gathered, along with her experiences, led Boamah-Acheampong to create Hanahana Beauty—a consciously clean skincare and wellness brand that empowers black women globally by creating sustainable access to income and healthcare for shea butter producers. The company purposefully embeds sustainable practices and access to information that creates a level of transparency between producers and consumers. Hanahana’s promise is that their all-natural products will have you feeling smooth and confident in your own skin.
8. Ode to Self
Drawing upon her longtime love of beauty and skincare, Kimberlee Alexandria Day created Ode to Self. The skincare range focuses on treating the common skincare concerns of African American women and including hyperpigmentation and dry skin. Using top-quality ingredients and scent therapy, Ode to Self’s products aim to hydrate your skin while also calming your senses. We’ve got our eye on the ‘De Palma’ Hydrating and Clarifying Facial Oil (that also happens to be under $20).
9. Peak & Valley
While working at a lab studying the neuroscience of stress, Nadine Joseph began to discover adaptogens and herbal allies that help balance the body’s reaction to stressors of the modern world. Yet, it wasn’t until she began testing them for herself and sourcing products with the highest purity and potency that Peak & Valley was born. The Seattle-based brand offers three types of adaptogenic blends—one for balancing stress, one for nurturing skin, and one for nourishing your brain—that can be mixed with coffees, milks, and teas. We can’t think of a better time to find one of these under the tree.
10. Rosen Skincare
If you’ve ever dealt with acne you know that product recommendations from fellow sufferers are the only ones you trust. Well, you can trust Jamika Martin. After dealing with skin issues and disappointing skincare products, Martin set out to shake up the acne care space. Her brand creates clean and affordable products that effectively treat breakouts. From cleansers to masks, ROSEN Skincare provides a full lineup of innovative and fun products to add to your routine. Pick up one of her starter kits this season for yourself, your BFF or anyone who could use the gift of clear skin for 2021.