When it comes to skincare, you deserve the absolute best. From facials and lotions, to washes, mists, and everything in between, your skin is meant to feel soft, healthy, and glowy all the time. There are so many different skincare products out there claiming to offer these results but feature ingredients that you’ve never heard of, can’t pronounce or have no idea if they actually work. There has to be an easier way to figure out which product is right for your skin needs, right?
That’s where Pholk Beauty, the Black-owned, natural, vegan skincare line that’s rightfully been dubbed as “soul food for the skin”, comes in. Founded by African diaspora historian turned activist, Niambi Cacchioli, Pholk Beauty was born out of Niambi’s challenge in finding an inclusive beauty brand that addresses the specific skincare needs of women of color. Niambi drew inspiration from her academic travels with the Africa Centre and UNESCO as well as skincare practices across the African diaspora to create Pholk Beauty, fusing her products with ingredients sourced from “small cultivators” across the United States and Senegal. The Jersey City-based vegan line offers a range of 10 products including face oils, masks, toners, and cleansers, all at an affordable price.
We recently caught up with Niambi about the creation of Pholk Beauty, the benefits of use, and some of her favorite Pholk Beauty products. Check out our exclusive interview with the founder below.
HelloBeautiful: What was the inspiration behind creating Pholk Beauty and its products?
Niambi Cacchioli: Pholk is inspired by the folk beauty secrets of the African Diaspora. I’m a historian, an esthetician, and a fifth-generation gardener from Kentucky. I spent years researching, traveling, and telling the stories of how Africans and their descendants have infused the globe with beauty and healing. No matter our circumstances. Beauty and nature have always been at the heart of our cultures. But when I walk into a natural skincare store, I often see that our ingredients like hibiscus, moringa, hemp, and aloe are disconnected from their cultural roots. Likewise, I was frustrated that much of the face care products were too heavy for my oily / combination skin. Pholk is my way of welcoming women with melanin-rich skin into the natural beauty space.
HB: Can you explain the health benefits of using Pholk Beauty?
Niambi: Pholk’s vegan collection is, quite literally, soul food for the skin. We skip harsh and drying ingredients that put melanin on the defense so that our customers can enjoy healthy, balanced, glowy skin. And since we only use natural botanicals, you also get the mood-boosting and stress relief benefits from their aromas.
HB: What do you hope consumers will take away from using Pholk Beauty products?
Niambi: The beauty industry often addresses melanin as though it’s a problem to solve. But melanin is magical. It protects against aging UV rays and plays a part in the skin’s immune system. So our goal is to move beyond just addressing dark marks and hyperpigmentation by teaching how to nourish the skin with healthy skin foods. And by sharing the cultural roots and histories of our ingredients, we invite consumers to connect with the generations of healing and beauty expertise of Black folk.
HB: Do you have any favorite Pholk Beauty products? If so, what are they?
Niambi: I love our botanical water face mists because they are so versatile and gentle. They also feature botanicals like honeysuckle, rose, and aloe that grew in my mother and grandmother’s gardens. So when I use them, I feel like they are right there with me. The Werkacita Balms are very personal to me because I began making them just for myself years ago when I was living in Paris. Whenever I felt homesick for Kentucky, I’d whip up a batch for myself and offer it to friends. At some point, one of my friends insisted on paying for her balm. Until then, it had never occurred to me that I could sell something that I made with my own hands. Just like the womenfolk in my family are always working on perfecting their soul food. The fluffiness and nourishment of the Werkacita balm are 20 years in the making.
HB: Can you share your skincare routine?
Niambi: I do most of my beauty at night. If I’ve been wearing makeup, I gently break down my eyeliner and mascara with the Werkacita balm. It just slides right off, so I don’t irritate or pull my eye area’s delicate skin. Then I wash my face with the Glow Replenish Face Wash. I always follow up with the Aloe Lemon Balm Face Mist. I spray until my skin is dewy, and then, while it’s still moist, I pat in a couple of drops of face oil. I love using the mist with oil because it helps distribute the oil evenly over my skin and prevents breakouts. If my skin is dehydrated and stressed, I’ll use the Rose Gardenia SkinNectar. But if I’m having a breakout – usually happening around my cycle – I’ll switch to the Featherlight SkinNectar. In the morning, all I have to do is refresh my skin with the Honeysuckle Rose Mist and a few drops of face oil. I keep my Aloe Lemon Balm Face Mist and cotton balls with me at all times because, as a mask-wearer, the mask struggle is real. That way, I can keep my pores clean throughout the day.
For more on Pholk Beauty, visit pholkbeauty.com.