If you’re an OG natural (pre 2009), then you know that Donna Marie is a beloved hair care brand that has been defining all of the curls and coils on YouTube since 2008. Periodically, I will browse online to check how the pioneer, entrepreneurial brands are faring with newer emerging lines and larger companies, as the market appears to be oversaturated. And when I saw Donna Marie announce they are releasing a skin care line in 2016, I had to share the news on Melanglow. For those who do not know, here is the face behind Donna Marie –named after her grandmother– and what she’s concocting in her lab.
Introduce yourself & why you do what you do.
I am a master at making beauty pure and simple. As a serial entrepreneur, cosmetologist, and CEO of Donna Marie, I envisioned a brand that would meet the unique beauty needs of women, naturally and sustainably, and without junk. Donna Marie initially began as a natural hair product line as a result of frustration with the lack of products that met the unique needs of textured hair. Annoyed with the lack of options offered by drugstore brands, I put on my “mad scientist hat” and began creating my own products powered by plant and superfood derived ingredients to boost their effectiveness. As demand for natural hair products grew, so did the demand for 100% natural products that solved the unique skin care needs of women, especially women of color. After two years of research and development, Donna Marie now exists to serve the unique, diverse hair and skin care needs of women around the world.
What inspired you to expand from hair care to skin care?
The original plan for Donna Marie was to create both hair and skin care products. We just waited for the right time to expand. With many more women embracing natural skin care, the time couldn’t be more ripe to launch.
Describe what sets Donna Marie apart from other skin care brands.
Every product we make is powered by real plant and superfood extracts that we handmake in our home studio. We incorporate fresh ingredients that are grown in our herb garden or source fresh herbs from local farmers, if possible. We also make our own extracts to ensure the potency and effectiveness of every product. We believe that plants and superfoods power your body both inside and out.
What do your skin care products entail and what skin concerns do they address?
We’re launching three skin care collections: Pink Rose, Manuka, and Matcha. Pink Rose –powered by rose essential oil and turmeric– addresses the unique needs of dry/sensitive skin. Manuka –powered by manuka essential oil and blue yarrow essential oil– helps calm inflammation, reduce excess sebum, and brighten oily and acne prone skin. Matcha –powered by matcha green tea and kale– contains antioxidants known to help prevent aging conditions, including hyperpigmentation, age spots, and sun damage.
What are the benefits of using superfood powdered ingredients?
Just as superfoods like kale, quinoa, and baobab help power your health internally, the same philosophy is applied to topical use. Your skin is porous and your largest organ, thus, treating skin conditions and hair using the same foods that you consume to enhance the total overall health and beauty of your body.
Let’s talk quality standards. How do you define “natural” and what do you consider harsh ingredients?
Since there is no industry standard definition of natural, natural can mean many different things. The term natural refers to any ingredient that is derived –in whole or in part– from nature. Not all things that are natural are good for you. For example, poison ivy is a harsh plant we would not promote for skin care. Harsh ingredients are any ingredients that can cause bodily harm if used once or continuously. Studies have shown that certain ingredients, such as parabens, phthalates, and petrochemicals are linked to possible carcinogenicity, as well as an estrogenic effect after continued use. We err on the side of caution and stay away from using harsh ingredients in our products.
If you were to categorize Donna Marie skin care products by seasons, where would they fall?
Donna Marie skin care products can be used year-round. We’re launching Richie Butter, a non-pore clogging shea and hemp seed oil concoction for super dry skin, which will tend to have more use in the winter months, as the lack of humidity in the air can wreak havoc on dry skin.
Getting into the Mix
Pink Rose Clay Mask: How often can this be used?
The Pink Rose Clay Mask is great for dry and sensitive skin types. As with all clays, I suggest using this once per week to help detox the skin and remove impurities.
Pink Rose Softening Toner: Toners seem to be absent from the current skin care conversation today. Why do you think they’re necessary?
Toners with alcohol have been known to dry out the skin. 100% natural, plant based toners are a necessary alternative to moisturize and balance skin tone. Our toners do not contain any alcohol; instead we use floral waters that naturally maintain balance, gently remove impurities, and moisturize the skin.
Pink Rose Softening Serum: How do you use this product?
Our Pink Rose Softening Serum gives your skin a bright glow and seals in hydration. If you have dry, sensitive skin, this will be the third step in your skin care regimen. Use this after misting your face with Pink Rose Softening Toner.
Tell us about the Matcha collection for dry skin.
Our matcha collection, powered by matcha (green tea) and kale, help prevent the effects of aging in the skin and balance combination skin. Matcha is high in antioxidant content and is very powerful at removing free radicals from the skin to help prevent age spots, dark spots, and discoloration. Kale is also a super antioxidant and anti-aging superfood packed with supreme levels of vitamins A, C, E and K.
How do your customers inspire you?
My customers are just like me. They want to live their best lives and thrive. I created Donna Marie to help people take control over their beauty and health using truly natural and organic ingredients. My customers are confirmation that I am empowering women to celebrate their beauty naturally.
Share your skin care regimen.
I have dry, sensitive skin and I absolutely love the Pink Rose line. Every morning I wash my face with our Coconut Milk Face Wash, followed by the Pink Rose Softening Toner, and seal in the moisture with Pink Rose Softening Serum for a soft, dewy glow.
What’s on your vanity and what’s in your purse?
Vanity: Pink Rose Collection, bareMinerals Pure Brightening Serum Foundation, Bare Minerals Gold Shimmer Eye Shadow, Flowerbomb perfume, and a coconut based lip gloss I’m developing for the Donna Marie line.
Purse: Donna Marie Pink Rose Softening Serum, Donna Marie Vitamin Sea Hair Mist, Quick Twistout Balm (from our sister company Outdo), Almay lipgloss, and Sephora Smart liquid eyeliner (because I suck at the cat eye).
What are your favorites?
I love all my Donna Marie babies, but if I had to pick my favorites it would be:
Skin: Coconut Milk Face Wash and Pink Rose Collection
Hair: Vitamin Sea Mist, Super Buttercreme, and Repair and Shine
Where can we expect to find Donna Marie skin care products?
Donna Marie can be found in about 25 boutiques across the country and we are also carried in international stores in France, Ghana, West Africa, and the Bahamas. We’ve got our eye on Whole Foods and Urban Outfitters, and plan to launch in a few locations in the UK.
What skin care tip do you live by?
Self-care is a must, so always “treat-yo-self.” Whenever life gets crazy, I run a bath, add a few drops of my favorite essential oil, and coconut milk powder. The result? Total relaxation and soft, smooth skin.
Anything else coming soon?
Yes! We’re working on 100% natural lip balms, bath bombs, and body butters featuring more of your favorite plants and superfoods.
Donna Marie Skincare is scheduled to launch Mar. 25 so stay tuned!
Follow Donna Marie here: