by Cristina Rivera Earl on Aug 01, 2022
For our readers who may not be familiar with your brand, can you tell us a little about Unsun Cosmetics?
Well Unsun is a clean, cruelty-free, reef safe mineral sunscreen brand. I started the brand in 2016 after seeing a lack of mineral sunscreens for black people on the market. We offer a wide range of suncare products suitable for every skin type and color.
We've read interviews in which you talk about how oftentimes people with dark skin don't realize that sun protection is equally important for them as it is for everyone else. Have you noticed a change in the black community around sunscreen use in recent years? What would you say to people in the community who don't wear sun protection daily?
Absolutely. I’ve definitely seen a huge change in the community. Between access to more information via social media and climate change, I believe that many more people within the community are recognizing the importance of sun protection. In addition, the white cast issue that many of us faced years ago is no longer as big a problem because many more brands have changed their formulas to be more inclusive.
I would say to people in the community that don't wear sun protection daily, that our ancestors and the generations before us had the ozone layer, we no longer have that additional layer of protection.
You owned a construction company in New Orleans for upwards of 20 years. Why the 180-degree career change? (We love it, by the way!)
That’s the beauty of it! I just love it when we allow ourselves to be open to whatever changes the universe presents to us! I never imagined being in the beauty industry, but my passionate need for a clean, residue-free sunscreen created this opening and I jumped right in.
You've managed to create a really great, efficacious product that is both clean and cast-free. It's quite an accomplishment, especially in sun protection! How did you do it, how long did it take to perfect the formula?
The process started in 2013 and we were finally able to launch in early 2016. I was on a huge learning curve and had to learn a great deal along the way. The formula had two requirements early on; clean and blendable into my chocolate skin tone. This process had a lot of going back and forth because there wasn’t a precedent or reference we could pull from, but we came up with something beautiful.
We've also read that you were uncompromising about the fact that your sun protection products needed to be clean. Amen to that! What is your personal definition of "clean"?
My definition of “clean” is good for you, good for the community, good for the Earth. We all benefit from “clean” products.
Why is clean important to you, and why should it be important to others?
We have one life and one body, why tarnish a beautiful masterpiece? In the same way we have only one body, we have only one Earth and we have to care for it and protect it if we are to enjoy it for centuries to come.
You have THE most incredible skin. Besides Unsun, what products do you swear by?
Thank you so much. I love Goop’s products: GoopGenes All-in-One Eye cream, their Nourishing Face Cream, and GoopGlow Microderm Instant Glow Exfoliator. Kosas Wet Lip Oil Gloss and of course all the Unsun products.
We know firsthand how taxing running a small business can be. How do you unwind after a long week or day?
I’m very mindful about how to start my day because it forces me to be mindful about how I end my day. I have my Pilates class that I go to about 3x a week. And I make sure I’m offline no later than 6 pm most days.
If you could offer one piece of advice to female entrepreneurs, what would it be?
- Don’t let anyone else define what “success” looks like to you.
- Do the work. It will get you to where you’re going much faster than any shortcut would.