The idea for a skin care line from Unilever, one of the world’s largest beauty companies, began two years ago when two of its Black female executives wanted to create solutions for those with darker skin tones. Their goal was to give melanin-rich skin the attention it deserves by celebrating and elevating people with black and brown skin. In doing so, the goal is to create equity in the service and treatment of this demographic.
A collective of dermatologists of color, and a community of influencers and skin care enthusiasts, aided in the development of the range. Products are formulated with a science-first approach, catering to the needs of melanin-rich skin — they address dark spots, uneven skin tone, moisture imbalance and sun damage, among other concerns. In addition, the collection is free from parabens, alcohol, mineral oil and sulfates, and is formulated without phthalates.
Connecticut-based Melé dermatologist partner, Dr. Mona Gohara, explained its specific need in the marketplace.
“From the beginning, there was a passion that drove the project which was rooted in need,” Dr. Gohara said. She explained that the origins of the brand came about because of the big vacancy of offerings when in products for those with melanin-rich skin. There was also an initiative to push this line forward by women of color executives at Unilever, she added.
The brand also offers a skin care diagnostic on its site to help consumers choose the best regimen depending on their skin care goals. For the quiz, “there are a series of questions, very thoughtfully constructed, asking about retractions to inflammation, sun, scarring, and skin needs and preferences,” Dr. Gohara said. After consumers complete the questions, products from the Melé line are recommended accordingly to suit their skin type and needs.
Dr. Gohara said that the amount of science that was put into developing the products and the emphasis on empowerment, education, and accessibility differentiates the brand in the skin care space. “Niacinamide is a big hero ingredient for me,” Dr. Gohara noted. The team stayed away from formulating with hydroquinone, which is a skin lightening ingredient, Dr. Gohara added. “This ingredient was actually recently announced as being pulled from over the counter products by the FDA and only will be allowed in prescriptions,” she said.
How exactly does Melé address the skin concerns specific to melanin-rich skin? “For dark spots and sun damage, Melé’s Even Dark Spot Control Serum includes non-hydroquinone ingredients such a retinoid derivatives and niacinamide, which work together to fade down spots,” Dr. Gohara explained. “There are also cosmetically elegant sunscreen formulations in the Dew the Most Sheer Moisturizer SPF 30 that blend beautifully into black and brown skin that are an essential part of the regimen,” she added. Last, the sunscreen contains ingredients that also offer protection against blue light, another source of light which does damage to black and brown skin, Dr. Gohara said. She predicts the Even Dark Spot Control Serum and Dew the Most Sheer Moisturizer SPF 30 will be best sellers for the brand.