A Natural Skincare Line Rooted in Ancient Egyptian Aromatherapy That's Sharing The Truth About The Beauty Industry
We've interviewed quite a bit of MelaninASS beauty brands thus far, and they all are amazing in their own right. But we've finally stumbled upon a brand that's really challenging the status quo that defines the authentic origin of beauty. So we chatted with Robin Turner who is the founder of Violet Botanical Skincare - A natural skincare line that is unapologetically rooted in ancient Egyptian aromatherapy and herbalism.
In a space where green indie beauty is becoming trendy, Robin focused on creating a brand with intention. It’s easy, especially in the beauty market to come up with “quick fix” just to make money. Even sustainable beauty space is slowly becoming over saturated with "eco" claims and non-toxic rhetoric and often times with lacluster passion behind the brand. But in starting her brand, Robin was not having that!
Initially, her products were created to help her husband and son with eczema and dry skin. It was easy for Robin to trace her roots back to when her grandmother (from the South) created concoctions. Grandmothers and great grandmothers creating natural handmade remedies is a spiritual heirloom in black and brown communities, which hold powerful symbolism.
Like any entrepreneur, Robin started doing research, but what is less obvious and even less talked about in the conscious beauty world, is the inception of natural beauty from ancient Egyptian aromatherapy and herbalism.
Without question, the DNA of the brand became about Preserving the Legacy of Ancient Egyptian Aromatherapy. We see Violet Botanical as a rebirth of ancestral beauty from her grandmother and tracing all the way back to the ancient Egyptians. The founder’s process of acknowledgement and guidance through her journey makes her brand particularly special. She recognizes this history and is very transparent about the fact that natural beauty is undoubtedly rooted in Africa! (Just one other brand we featured, Butter By Keba, understood the historical and culture power of Egypt in the world of beauty.)
Realizing that she created a recipe that cleared her family's eczema struggles was key in learning about ingredients. Of course with inspiration from Africa, Robin curated formulas that actually worked, while using quality ingredients. For example, the body wash uses ingredients like raw Buckwheat Honey, Bulgarian Rose and Ylang Ylang. The body butter uses ingredients such as Nilotica Shea butter, Mongongo oil and Jasmine absolute. And the best part is that all of the ingredients across her products line are certified organic and/or wild-harvested.
Additionally, Violet Botanical works to economically empower women and families in Southern Africa by purchasing ingredients from a supplier in Botswana. They are a fair trade supplier that works with women's cooperatives teaching the women sustainable harvesting and how to be stewards of the land.
Everything about the brand is well thought out to be in alignment with Egypt. Violet’s signature cobalt blue bottles and jars pay homage to the “Egyptian Blue” phials, or bottles, of antiquity. The aromatic oils and perfumes from the ‘Land of the Pharaohs’ inspired elegantly designed bottles. During ancient Egyptian times, this deep blue color was costly and challenging to produce, but was widely popular. And just like in my culture globally – color plays a huge role in symbolism - Dark blue symbolized fertility, rebirth, and the power of creation.
(In another interview we did with sustainable fashion brand Idia’Dega, Blue represented openness and generosity for the Massai women, which was the inspiration for their Spring 2018 collection )
Not just the glass jars, but the wooden bamboo spoons, silver foil pouches and black velour pouches all had particular meaning!
The creation of this brand from sourcing the products, to ingredients and all the way to packaging – has a purpose, meaning and messages! For women of color especially in natural beauty spaces, it’s challenging to be in a market space where natural beauty ancestrally is rooted in black culture but many face challenges of inclusion and accessibility, while we watch appropriation from the side lines.
Robin points out that today, less than 4% of products marketed to black people and POC are clean and green, whereas mainstream is nearly 50%. She referenced a Nielson report article about the buying power of women in the black community – "we spend 80% more than white women on beauty products and yet everything out there is geared towards them".
But Violet in her own way is sharing the importance of 1) black women entrepreneurship 2) non toxic beauty and most importantly 3) the sheer importance of keeping heritage part of our daily DNA.
"We hear about Cleopatra but it goes beyond that – wanting to bring our heritage to this space. We hear about traditional Chinese medicine, we hear about Ayurveda remedies , but we don’t often hear about Egyptian aromatherapy and herbalism - they were the original and not many people know. That’s a whole sense of pride and keeping it going."
We no longer have to give our money to mainstream brands that don’t serve melaninated communities nor care about the sweat equity of hard earned dollars.