Get To Know: Topicals Skincare

Get To Know: Topicals Skincare

Last Updated on November 12, 2022

By going where other skincare brands weren’t, Topicals Skincare took the market by storm!

Finally, the conversation surrounding skincare is transitioning away from the traditional “flawless skin” goals. Rather, brands like Topicals are now reshaping people’s views about their skin.

When two young women of color with chronic skin issues founded Topicals, they set out to completely change the way people think about skincare. In short, they wanted to associate treating skin problems like eczema and hyperpigmentation with luxury and exciting self-care.

Find out more about Topicals, a skincare brand that believes that you shouldn’t have to feel inferior or settle for products that don’t work for you. Also, discover how they empower the skincare community with their message.

Topicals’ origin

The motivation for Topicals skincare

As many as one in every four Americans suffer from long-term, debilitating skin conditions for which they have to learn to “manage.” Even though Topicals didn’t start until August 2020, this need birthed the brand.

Olamide Olowe, the CEO of Topicals, is well aware of this because she had post-barbae folliculitis as a child. Unfortunately, she had difficulty finding treatments for this condition for her dark skin. This is because at the time, over-the-counter remedies didn’t consider the fact that some people had darker skin tones. Plus, the packaging of whatever treatment was available was boring and medical-looking.

As a result, she spent her childhood using creams that didn’t do anything for her; none of these worked properly to treat her skin’s condition. Even though this led to her being interested in beauty, she didn’t know that it could be a career. 

So, since her dad was a doctor, she decided to follow in her family’s footsteps and do something in the medical field. She started with dermatology after getting a full scholarship to UCLA. Eventually, she quickly realized that what she wanted was a mix between medical school and skin care dermatology.

The power duo

As luck would have it, she met a young woman named Claudia Teng. They met by chance through a mutual friend. And in 2019, they started working on what would become Topicals.

Even though both founders were in their early 20s, they had years of experience in business. As an undergraduate student at UCLA, Olowe co-created a beauty brand called SheaGIRL. She’d made this for tweens and later sold it to Shea Moisture. She also got a glimpse of the company’s mission: “do well by doing good.” This inspired her to start her own business with a similar mission.

On the other hand, Teng worked at Stanford University’s Department of Clinical Research while in high school and college. She studied things like non-melanoma skin cancers, eczema, and a rare genetic disease called epidermolysis bullosa. She’s also an avid published author in medical journals.

I noticed how terrible the disparities were for access to healthcare,” Teng says in an interview with Instyle. “When I was at Stanford, we did not enroll a single Black participant in any of our clinical trials. I voiced that frustration to a mutual friend of ours, and he connected me to Olamide, because he knew she was trying to build this science, medicine-backed, skincare brand. We really hit it off.

Finding investors

Having gained knowledge, expertise, and interest, getting funding was their next step. Investors had been interested in the beauty industry for a long time, but women were still having a hard time getting them. (Especially women of color, like Teng and Olowe, who are Asian American and Black, respectively.)

As a result, Olowe pitched the Topicals idea to investors for two long years. She was finally accepted into the Dorm Room Fund, which helped her look more trustworthy to other investors. In the end, the brand got $2.6 million.

The two set out to make an affordable line of products to help women of all skin tones deal with common skin problems like eczema, hyperpigmentation, psoriasis, and more.

With high-profile black women like Netflix’s CMO Bozoma Saint John and DJ Hannah Bronfman on board, Topicals created an inclusive community around honest, constructive, and authentic debates about skin. Since launch, they’ve also attracted high-profile black women like Issa Rae and Yvonne Orji as investors and supporters.

Olowe and Teng used the growing number of aestheticians and beauty influencers on Twitter to help spread their message to consumers. They also use Twitter to find out what people think of their products.

The Topicals Skincare philosophy

Topicals make skincare products for people with chronic skin conditions. Their goal is to change how people feel about their skin. And, they do this by making effective products and advocating for mental health. 

Related post:  Get To Know: UOMA Beauty

Topicals offer mental health resources on its website to fully serve its customers with long-term skin conditions. Plus, 1% of profits go to organizations that help people understand how the way you feel affects how you think about your skin. 

But Topicals is about a lot more than just making the skin look good. It’s also about changing how we feel about skin and redefining beauty through a more realistic lens. Their products are backed by science and approved by dermatologists. They also look ridiculously good.

The goal is to make products that people with chronic skin conditions will be proud to use. Particularly, they seek to make products that are effective, affordable, and luxurious. Their hope is that it’ll make living with a chronic skin condition seem more normal and maybe a bit more fun.

Topicals’ product range

Topicals released two new products in August 2020 with the slogan “Funner Flare-ups.” They created these products to treat skin conditions like eczema and hyperpigmentation, which affect women of color more than white women.

Topicals gives users the power to do something good for their skin. The brand invites them into a community wherein they talk about how all skin is good skin. They continue to create even more amazing products. Below is their skincare range at the time of this article.

Topicals Like Butter Hydrating Mask

Like Butter Hydrating Mask 1.7fl. oz (50ml)

Like Butter is a serum mask that helps to calm flare-ups. This cream helps people with dry, sensitive skin prone to eczema. It contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatories like green tea, turmeric, and ginseng. Not only that, but it also has fatty acids and ceramides that help keep the skin moist.

Topicals Brightening and Clearing Serum

Faded Brightening & Clearing Serum 0.5fl. oz (15ml)

Faded helps treat hyperpigmentation. People call it a “stinky legend” as Topicals never uses artificial scents to make their products smell good. It’s an excellent product for people with dark spots, uneven skin tone, and melasma. It also has a great texture.

Topicals Slather Exfoliating Body Serum

Slather Exfoliating Body Serum 5fl. oz (150ml)

Slather is a body lotion containing retinol. Retinol is a vitamin A derivative usually used on the face to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. However, you can also use this exfoliating and anti-aging ingredient on the body to improve the look of bumpy skin, sun spots, scaly patches, and flaky skin.

Topicals High Roller Ingrown Tonic

High Roller Ingrown Hair Tonic 1.7fl. oz (50ml)

This easy-to-use liquid mix calms the irritation you get from shaving. It also gets rid of razor burns and prevent bumps from ingrown hairs, leaving the skin feeling smoothed, softened, and calmed. It’s made with urea and lactic acid which help to get rid of dead skin cells so as to prevent the legs and elbows from looking rough and scaly.

Where to buy Topicals Skincare products

You can shop Topicals exclusively from Sephora and the brand’s website,

5 reasons to shop Topicals Skincare

So far, it’s clear that Topical is a brilliant idea that was executed flawlessly. Seeing a young WOC run a thriving brand excites us, especially one equipped with the knowledge, skills and passion needed to do so. We are happy to support a brand that matches our beliefs.

So, here are some reasons why you can also be confident to shop Topicals:

  1. Topicals gives back: They donate a portion of their earnings to mental health organizations. These include Therapy for Black Girls, Five Girls Foundation, and Fearless and One Hundred.
  2. Topicals creates a healthy community: Topicals is now well-known because it continues to create a community where people can talk about their skin in a real, positive, and honest way.
  3. Topicals’ message is inspiring: There is no preachy “positive thinking” about your skin. Instead, the brand is about working with what you have and making the best of breakouts and flare-ups, regardless of what society says you should do.
  4. Topicals’ packaging stands out: Say goodbye to boring skincare and hello to bomb Instagram-worthy packaging. It looks super cute in any bathroom!
  5. Topicals’ quality products: In the world of skincare, Faded gel and Like Butter mask are almost like collector’s items. Even though Topicals is a relatively new skincare brand, it has quickly gained a cult-like following and is rarely in stock on its website and other stores.

Wrapping it up

Topicals has no doubt set itself up for long-term success as a brand. Their products are not only pretty, but they do the tough job their founders created them to do. Whether it’s fading hyperpigmentation or treating ingrown hair, Topicals is now a staple in the skincare community.

Plus, they have an interesting backstory, a clear vision, and an overt passion for their cause. Topicals Skincare focuses on more than just selling products and actually strives to impact the world.

For more black-owned founder stories in skincare, check out: Get To Know: Buttah Skin.

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