At Because, it's been our mission to champion the brands that may have gone under the radar in the sea of stuff available to us. In light of what's been happening globally over the last few months, we've noticed this is needed now more than ever, and have been wondering how best to continue this. 

Hence the start of our latest feature, Pass the Platform, where we'll be sharing a selection of interviews who would have been picked by the interviewee prior, starting a thread and community of brands that are doing good within the fashion and beauty worlds. We hope this will bring attention to different voices that aren't always heard within these realms, as per our pledge to do better. Starting off the domino effect, is the Founder of A Complexion Company, Nomshado Michelle Baca, who've been creating clean beauty and wellness products for black women, whilst incorporating and honouring African holistic ingredients.

What is special about the ingredients that you use? 
Our debut product is our Raw Organic Moringa Oleifera beauty superpowder. It is an ingredient that has been used by the indigenous people of Southern Africa for its medicinal properties both in and on the body. When I was recovering from multiple nutritional deficiencies (which at the time, came as a surprise to me because I was vegan and believed I ate enough highly nutritious food), I found myself taking several supplements to bring my deficits up to a normal level for someone of my genetic make up. The use of multiple supplements, most of them with suspicious bulking agents and animal fats was both expensive financially and time consuming to learn and find the right dosage.

My mum cooks a lot of our native food and we eat these ingredients often, most of which I don’t know the English name but Moringa was easy to identify and utilise. Pretty soon it was my sole form of supplementation. I was able to maintain a high level (and diverse offering) of nutritional intake without drastic changes to my diet. There was also the added benefit of experiencing clearer skin, higher energy levels, better sleep, noticeable hair growth. The bio-active and bio-available nature of our Moringa powder meant that I was using a potent source of nutrition which my body could readily utilise. To make it even easier to use, we have a second version of our product in a pressed format to make it easy to take for the woman on the go.

How do you honour these traditional techniques and make products that are relevant for Black people that have different lifestyles all over the world?
Much of my knowledge is intimately woven into who I am as I learnt these lessons from the matriarchs in my family and those whose duty is to teach the stories of our origin to the new generations like myself. I am fortunate to be at the front line of such a depth of history, I wasn’t just born on the continent of Alkebu-lan (Africa’s pre-colonial name), Alkebu-lan is in me no matter where I go in the world.

Designing from that place means the engagement of UBUNTU – the belief of an eco-community in which human, animals and nature exists in a sacred bond that must be honoured. This affects everything from how I design the packaging, to the ingredients source to the final presentation to the afterlife of the product once the consumer is finished with it. The process is circular and incorporates everybody and everything.

What needs to happen for the beauty industry to become more inclusive of Black people and their beauty needs?
I am encouraged by the dialogue that is currently happening in the industry – I think this is a very promising starting point. I think the next step is perhaps a universal playbook of best practice to be shared and long term development goals. There's a need for more scientific research into dark skin composition, African genome and epigenetics, Afro hair types (etc.) with the goal of all beauty verticals having access to this information in order to make better decisions for inclusivity. I think what needs to happen now is the work. 

What do you want A Complexion Company to achieve? 
Our ambitions are to be a 360 eco luxury African Wellness and Clean Beauty brand for the modern African woman. Our product offering will remain highly curated and solutions focused whilst the brand provides a holistic brand experience, one comparable to being the Hermes of Beauty. This is the beauty brand of the future – high performance, eco, luxury and heritage.

What have you got planned for the rest of 2020?
We are experiencing a lot of growth in the next five months – my focus is on internal operations. As more capital is being made available to us we are refining a lot of our processes and doing some product development (which is my favourite part). I have eight new product formulas/solutions in my product development vault which I cannot wait to introduce to the world, but at the moment we have to work on perfecting our internal systems to better serve a growing community of customers. 

What brand would you like to pass the platform to?
Sana Jardin

Shop A Complexion Company products here.

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