Butter By Keba: A Classic But Avant-Garde Fragrance Brand Inspired By Egypt

I don’t know how many people realize that the fragrance world in America is very much inspired by Africa and India. Oil shops that have all of these different essences come from these places
— Makeba

Makeba Lloyd, founder of Butter by Keba is nothing short of a natural fragrance connoisseur. With Guyanese heritage, this nomad found herself in Egypt where she was inspired by the fragrance house.  Smelling the most alluring and power scents, along with the historical energy of the place, was nothing short of breath taking.

Sometimes a trip can give you a booster of energy that pushes you to create. Walking through the desserts, through the pyramids. The essences of memory helped me to create notes and fragrances
— Makeba

The journey to Egypt inspired Makeba to take her hobby of making body butter to the next level.  She was inspired to go into the lab and create fragrance blends and perfect the formula for butters and scrubs. Makeba researched, took classes and learned exactly the type of shea, oils and wax to use for her products. In fact, Makeba worked on the formula for a year before perfecting it.

However, the fascinating concept behind this brand is that it’s not a body butter brand – it’s a fragrance brand.

“This is really a fragrance line – introduce a different way of creating fragrance that’s more convenient for men and women than just a spray perfume.”

So with shea butter as a root, Butter By Keba has reinvented what was already out there.  Adding her own twist , she creates daily use products that provides long lasting aroma in which people can use in place of a perfume.

Makeba enthusiastically explained that adding “notes” together creates the scents:

A Blend has your standard notes – top, middle, base. Within those notes are chords which are a group of essences that are blended together to create a note – a certain smell. The Lotus Nut Body Butter for example probably has 10 different essences in that fragrance. Lotus nut is a jasmine blend with sandlewood, rose, gardenia sweet orange, coconut and white tea. And there are groups of accords within that entire blend. So it’s a jasmine blend but what may through you off is the coconut and sweet orange which creates it’s own unique scent.

Another great facet of the brand is that the entire line of Butter by Keba is unisex. However, she makes a point to have separation of fragrances that are most appropriate for men. The more “masculine” blends include fragrances such as Frankenstein, cinnamon leaf extracts, vanilla, sandalwood, ginger, sage and green tea mint.

Classic fragrances that people could identify with but my own twist to make it avant-garde
— Makeba

Butter By Keba is proud to be a small batch sustainable beauty brand.  She goes through a company that does phthalate free aromatics and works to be as conscious as possible while still remaining affordable to her community. Additionally, she works with a local company that imports from India and certain parts of Africa as well; working to stay as local as possible.

Makeba feels that there is progress in the beauty industry to be more sustainable. She sees that some beauty companies are shifting to be as natural as possible. However, there are still so many truths to unfold. “They know the truth – that the chemicals in our beauty brands are killing us. It’s important to know what we’re eating but its even more important we know what we’re putting on our skin because our skin is our largest organ. What we put on our skin 3-4 times a day goes directly into our blood stream", says Makeba.

Makeba’s concern however has a lot to do with media/social media, “Everyone is talking about diet and eating vegan but the conversation hasn’t really flourished about our skincare. The beauty industry is a multi-billion dollar industry and they are still making money off of these chemicals.”

It’s important for Butter By Keba to be a luxury beauty brand that is doing it the right way. Additionally, being a woman of color plays a huge role in her journey as an ethical entrepreneur.

I unapologetically say that this brand is for women of color. I’m not trying to isolate anyone and I want to be all-inclusive, but I created this brand for people of color. If no one else buys this product than I’m fine with that. I have huge support from women of color and we support each other all day long!
— Makeba


"WOC do amazing things daily just out of necessity – If there’s something you want to do ... Work on it, perfect it and share it!”