Red lipstick, big hoops, and a full makeup face are the norm for many of us and when it comes to skin care we also have preferences including aloe vera for burnt or burnt skin. dry. But this love of beauty isn’t just a cultural norm for Latinas, it translates into money spent where Latinas buyers make up 18.5% of their income in the United States, according to NIelsen. Still, Latinas-owned beauty brands, especially in the clean skincare arena, are few in number at major beauty retailers. There are several small Latinas owned skin care lines, however, including the Vamigas clean skin care line, launched this year and founded by Ann Dunning and Christina Kelmon.

Kelmon has paternal roots in Oaxaca, Mexico, and Dunning immigrated to Los Angeles from Chile when she was nine. Vamigas, named after their daughters with a nod to “amigas”, is a labor of love inspired by their heritage. The line came together after these jefas met through an investor network, Pipeline Angels, where they were both investing in BIPOC startups. Kelmon is one of Silicon Valley’s few Latino investors and CEO of makeup brand Belle en Argent. Working with other Latinas has only opened their eyes to the importance of representation and its absence in the beauty industry for Latinas.

“No one is targeting Latinas right now and yet the market is huge,” Dunning said. HipLatina. “Clean skin care products are very expensive, avoid marketing to Latinas or don’t understand how to market us at all. “

They combined their heritage and business skills to develop a brand with plants from Latin America, many of which are used by locals for welfare purposes. “The background for wellness ingredients has basically been erased. Brands don’t use things like chia and Rosa Mosqueta without any reference to where they come from, so consumers have no idea what they’re using and how powerful Latin America is.

Rosa Mosqueta is originally from southern Chile and was traditionally used for burns and dry skin among indigenous people in the Araucana region. This information is shared on their website in the “Ingredients” section where they explain the history, background and use of ingredients in their products, which strengthens their mission to amplify LATAM plants through Vamigas. Rosa Mosqueta is known for its ability to reduce hyperpigmentation and signs of aging and is available as an organic oil for the face and body. Dunning says Rosa Mosqueta is the product that she believes embodies the brand because it “transcends generational boundaries and also national boundaries.”

Vamigas oils
Photo courtesy of Vamigas

Their other products include Olinda Clarifying Cleanser with Acai, Chia, Prickly Pear, Pampas Balancing Face Mist with Yerba Mate, Acai, Witch Hazel and Aloe Vera, and Luz De Sur Oil with Eight Herbal Fragrance Free. Products range from $ 24 to $ 34, and in addition to their website, they’re also now available on Nordstrom, Thrive Market, and HSN.com. perfumes and their prevalence in beauty products. They cite studies that show a potential correlation between phthalate exposure and brain damage in babies. This is part of what made them pay attention to what they put on their skin and they figured other Latinas would be interested in cleaner options with ingredients they might already know.

“For us in clean skin care, part of the problem is this current trend to use ingredients from South and Central America like Rosa mosqueta, Maracuja, etc. in a way, he takes those ingredients from other territories and enjoys them with no benefit to the people of those countries, ”shares Dunning.

Vamigas skin care set
Photo courtesy of Vamigas

A Women’s Wear Daily report on Nielsen’s results found that Latinas outnumbered the general beauty market by 30%, even amid the pandemic. We represent 14.1% of beauty buyers, but are responsible for 18.5% of beauty spending and this is the market Dunning and Kelmon tap into. But for Dunning and Kelmon, it’s about really bringing up LATAM and Latinas in style. Kelmon explains that often when Latinas are included in the wellness space they are “almost symbolic” and with Vamigas the foundation of the brand is to honor the ingredients of LATAM while helping Latinas to feel at home. comfortable in their body.

But it’s more than a list of ingredients, they are raising awareness through their website, especially through their “Vamigas” section with articles like “Latina Skincare Secrets Only Your Abuela Knows”. With products and a digital platform for Latinas, the two founders share that being by and for Latinas is a powerful thing, especially when the brand is fully self-funded.

“We like to say that we want to decolonize the ingredients by owning a piece of that market and encouraging other Latino entrepreneurs to do that as well, but also to encourage own brands to add cultural context around the ingredients they use.” , explains Kelmon. “These ingredients have a powerful history and come from powerful inhabitants of the earth. It’s as easy as understanding that, sharing that knowledge, and honoring the cultures you have inherited.


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