One out of every four Americans live with chronic skin conditions. Olamide Olowe and Claudia Teng are two women of color who had enough with spending too much money on expensive skin care products. They got creative, met some great people, and created their own skincare line – Topicals, to provide relief to millions of people.
MyTopicals is a skin care company where each and every ingredient is clinically tried and tested on all skin tones.
“This is an industry that has not evolved and has used many of the same formulations over the last 30 years,” says Olamide Olowe, Topicals CEO and Co-founder. “Having lived with a serious skin condition myself, I found there were limited treatment options available, and none of the brands looked like me. I could use an over-the-counter product that didn’t address my specific needs as a Black woman with darker skin, or spend thousands on pricey prescriptions. With all of the amazing beauty products out there, I still didn’t find one that helped me with my flare-ups. I knew we could do better.”
Olowe’s co-founder Claudia Teng has a background in clinical research and dermatology, “I saw firsthand the lack of access to care that existed for these types of skin conditions,” says Teng, Topicals Chief Product Officer. “For me, I knew there was a serious opportunity to create something affordable, and that not only educated a broad amount of people, but also made their treatment experience more enjoyable. Our mission is to make chronic skincare management synonymous with the fun and luxury of self-care, taking the focus off of perfect skin and helping our community have funner flare-ups.”
Their formulated products tackle eczema, hyperpigmentation, and psoriasis without breaking the bank. They focus on creating an inclusive community around real, positive, and authentic discussions about skin, and gathered high-profile black women as supporters and investors, including Netflix CMO Bozoma Saint John, entrepreneur and DJ Hannah Bronfman, and the Emmy-nominated stars of the hit show “Insecure” Issa Rae and Yvonne Orji.
The initial investment round, led by Lerer Hippeau, also saw participation from Humble Lukanga and Mucker Capital as well as the CEOs of Warby Parker, Allbirds, Casper, Harry’s, Bombas, and Red Antler.
Since the shame and embarrassment of chronic skin conditions can lead to mental health issues, Topicals is donating 1% of profits to various mental health organizations. Prior to launch, Topicals donated over $10,000 to and partnered with Sad Girls Club, Therapy for Black Girls, and Fearless Femme 100, and are partnering with the JED Foundation at launch.
I received two of their products and had my two daughters try them with me. The first signature product Like Butter (1.7 oz) – $32, is a hydrating mask for dry, distressed, and eczema-prone skin. For my older skin, I liked how it instantly moisturized and soothed my sensitive skin. This is ideal for eczema-ridden skin, I learned that Topicals products are vegan, fragrance-free, and made for all shades in mind.
The eco-friendly with recyclable tubes and packaging are cleverly crafted and eye appealing. The LIKE BUTTER pale yellow colored box lists all the key ingredients – turmeric, ginseng root and camellia sinensis leaf as an anti-inflammatories that also reduce itching, shortens healing time and improves collagen deposition. Camellia sinensis leaf is an antimicrobial and helps reduces itch and redness. Madecassoside (Centella Asiatica) accelerates wound healing, fortifies skin barrier through collagen and fibronectin production. To also soothe itching and irritation, Like Butter has colloidal oatmeal. It’s smooth to put on and instantly your skin reacts and feels soothed.
The second product, FADED (1.7 oz) – $36 is a white serum for discoloration on the skin and dark spots. Inside a pretty pink colored box, I took out the tube and squeezed a dab of the white gel on the back of my hands and face. It is formulated to combat dark spots and discoloration from sun damage, scarring, and inflammation. The key ingredients includes licorice root, tranexamic, kojic and azelaic acids and melatonin known as anti-inflammatories, and scavenges free radicals, as well as limits or inhibits melanocyte stimulation. This offered a pleasant tingle on my skin, however the smell was slightly unappealing. I did like how it plumped up my skin and made it look younger.
Topicals products are available online and also featured now through October at Pop-In@Nordstrom inside select Nordstrom locations and online at Nordstrom.com.