An Interview with Black-Owned Skincare CEO, Keisha Young

An Interview with Black-Owned Skincare CEO, Keisha Young

Last Updated on June 18, 2023

Behind every great brand is a vision, or rather, a passion. We spoke with Keisha Young, a vibrant and uncompromising entrepreneur upholding a conscious approach to skincare. She’s the creator of Clay & Olive, a black-owned vegan skincare brand that marries performance with ethics.

Sparked by an unwavering passion for wellness, she discusses her journey towards sustainable skincare. She also shares her skincare tips, as well as the star product from the brand that she recommends everyone tries. Get a glimpse into her world and be inspired by her story.

Us: What inspired you to create Clay & Olive Skincare?

Keisha Young: My passion for clean beauty and wellness was sparked at an early age as I watched my mother nurture her skin with a daily ritual using natural ingredients found in our home that restored vibrancy and promoted skin wellness.

I was inspired to use her insights – passed down from generations of women in our family – to forge forward and create an inclusive skincare line dedicated to skin wellness for women of all skin types. We make all our products with natural ingredients and are 100% vegan, gluten and cruelty-free.

Us: What was the journey like for you, particularly from concept to realizing your vision for Clay & Olive?

Keisha Young: Clay and Olive Skincare began as a genealogy project during the pandemic. Starting with my maternal side of the family, I used United States Census data and discovered my family’s rich history which I’m very proud of. As a result of my research, I began to have in depth conversations with my mom and auntie. It was there I learned that my interest in clean skincare wasn’t by chance but rather the passion of many generations of women in my family. It was in my DNA. So, all this newfound information I had gathered, combined with my desire to build something – to build generational wealth – led me to the idea of starting my brand.

Us: What advice would you give someone starting out? Not necessarily starting a beauty brand but realizing their own goals and dreams.

Keisha Young: Coming from a corporate background, I often struggled to find the balance of being who I am. I found myself on many occasions shrinking to fit the mold, being inauthentic and it never felt good.  Now I am accepting that I am confident, bold, talented, aware, and informed – and that I’m worthy to seat at any table during any conversation. That acceptance has made my journey so much more comfortable.

The advice I’d offer anyone aspiring to run their own company is to take the time to learn how you want to lead when getting started and then be bold enough to come as you are.

Us: Your brand is all about wellness and self-care through clean skincare. What does wellness mean to you personally?

Keisha Young: Wellness holds a profound significance to me. It encompasses physical, mental, and emotional well-being. However, wellness extends beyond the physical realm for me as well. It means cultivating healthy relationships, managing stress, and prioritizing self-care. Also, emotional well-being, embracing self-compassion and fostering resilience is crucial.

Every day, I’m striving for a balanced lifestyle, finding time for hobbies, relaxation, and meaningful connections. Ultimately, wellness implies empowering myself, embracing self-love, and acknowledging the uniqueness of my journey. It is about embracing holistic health, finding harmony, and living a fulfilling life in all its facets.

Us: ‘Clean’ is such a buzz word in the beauty industry and so many users roll their eyes when brands claim they’re ‘clean’. What’s your perspective on this?

Keisha Young: We’re committed to clean beauty and providing transparency on the ingredients used to formulate our products.  Clay and Olive Skincare puts an emphasis on mindful, kinder skincare routines that include fruit enzymes and other anti-inflammatory ingredients that strengthen the skin barrier – which is much better for the skin.

Us: What’s your star product and why would you recommend it?

Keisha Young: Our vitamin C serum, the Anti-Aging Super Elixir has recently become our hero product.  We formulated it using a powerful trio of ingredients – vitamin C, vitamin E and ferulic acid. This amazing product brightens your complexion, improves texture, and hydrates your skin. Our lightweight serum also delivers advanced environmental protection and improves the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and loss of firmness.

Us: What’s next in the pipeline for the brand? Will you be expanding?

Keisha Young: We have a bunch of fun partnerships and collaborations with like-minded creators and brands on the way as well as new social content creating mindful skincare routines. We also launched a new blog this year on our website. Check it out for educational content. Subscribe using code: WELCOME and receive 10% off your first order.  

 Us: Where can our readers shop your products?

Keisha Young: Readers can find us online at  You can also find us online at Melanin Grace and in their Dumbo Brooklyn store.

Us: And to wrap up, so we can get to know you a little bit more, we have a fun little activity for you! This or That?

Keisha Young:

  • Cat or dog: Dog. I have a two-year-old black poodle named Barry. He brings my family so much joy.
  • Makeup item you can’t live without: Red lipstick has been a mainstay in my life. Today I’m loving a red lip paint by Fenty Beauty.
  • Favorite day of the week: Friday is my favorite day but I’m conditioning myself to be excited about every day because every day is a blessing.
  • Movies or books: Books. I’m currently reading Obviously Awesome by April Dunford and Kindred by Octavia Butler. I recently watched Kindred the TV series and loved it. I know I’m late in the game, but I had to get the book. And yes, the book is better.
  • Favorite music artist/s: George Benson. Period.

Us: Any final thoughts?

Keisha Young: Support black-owned businesses!

Clay & Olive is the newest black-owned brand on the block to watch. And, frankly, it’s a worthy contender in the skincare scene. Visit their website to view their product range – free U.S shipping on orders over $60.

About the brand

Clay & Olive offers a range of premier and inclusive skincare products designed to help you discover a balanced and healthy relationship with your skin.

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