SK Essentials: A New Beauty Brand On A Mission To Educate Women Of Color On The Importance Of African-Based Oils

Launched in January 2016, SK Essentials is founded by veteran research nurse, Sonja Crandon. After developing a random skin allergy that required surgery, Crandon started a journey to become more health conscious. Tests showed that her allergies stemmed from the usual trees and pollen, however, analyses also revealed that preservatives were also the culprit.



As part of a lifestyle change, SK Essentials became a natural segue into promoting a healthier lifestyle for herself, family and others like her. When in New York, trips to Harlem to get shea butter and black soap from the African communities became quintessential.



Whipping up street bought shea butter with various essential oils became a staple moisturizer in her household, especially when it’s time to combat ash. Inspiration for the brand didn’t really come into fruition until social media – Sonja was very inspired by all of the entrepreneurs she saw on Instagram. It became a boost of inspiration. 

SK Essentials is the culmination of paying homage to the beauty and knowledge that comes from Africa as well as needing to differentiate herself from the rest of the market. With almond and coconut oil being so popular – Sonja set out to understand the nutrients coming from the Mother Land. 

One of the things that stuck out to me is how beautiful and flawless African people are. I was drawn to African sourced ingredients.
— Sonja

With an insurmountable amount of research and testing, SK Essentials emerged as a powerhouse with base ingredients such as mongono oil, baobab oil, marula oil, and moringa oil. Working with a supplier based out of Washington, ensures that there’s a rigid certification process to make sure the oils are authentic.

A personal favorite for Sonja and product best seller is the Uplift Facial Oil Elixir which is comprised of Baobab Oil, Kalahari Melon Seed Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, Oil, Ximenia Oil, and Vitamin E Oil.

“I don’t often wear makeup, and my skin being blemish-free is my makeup. Oil represents beauty because it enables you to be you without having to wear layers of makeup. It provides hydration to the skin and that’s when your skin be at its best”

Sonja expressed deep frustration as it relates to black people strategic lack of cultural education. “I’m angry that we don’t know more about us, about our heritage and all of the great inventions that are still used today”. Sonja suggests that people of African decent learn everything beauty, health and wellness from the place of our ancestors 

SK Essential is a small contribution to teach what should have been ingrained in us; within the home and at school. From holistic healing remedies, to natural beautification processes, there’s so many answers in Africa.

“Africa holds the key and its where everything started.”

Aside from great brand awareness, the next step for SK Essentials is Education!  With a mission to be more centered with the way things were originally, Sonja is eager to not only form economically sustainable partnerships with Africa, but educate people of color here in America of the importance of our African roots as it relates to health, wellness and beauty.

The hope is that SK Essentials becomes bigger than a beauty brand and becomes a way to connect and bridge the gap.  Sonja suggests that, many young people of color are brainwashed by conventional teachings and we don’t know the power of the melanin in our skin and the texture of our hair.

“There’s such a disconnect. When I research Green Beauty blogs, I don’t see people who look like me – not to be vein but I only see white women. And then when I research regular beauty blogs or search for beauty blog for/by women of color – they are mainly focusing on makeup” There needs to be more spaces where beauty is synonymous with health promotion!

I believe that people of color and black Americans especially can become their best selves if they focus on mind, body and spirit healing. A natural approach.
— Sonja