Beauty secrets come from everywhere, as Nyakio Grieco, founder of the newly launched skincare brand, Nyakio, can attest to. She has taken advantage of her Kenyan heritage and created a line of products that literally bottles up her family’s healthy skin secrets. The 16-piece range is chock-full of indigenous ingredients ethically sourced from 13 countries around the globe.
Sources sat down with the burgeoning beauty maven for an exclusive chat on Kenya, coffee beans, a delicious (and edible!) DIY face scrub, and, of course, her namesake collection, Nyakio.
What’s the story behind Nyakio?
Nyakio Grieco: I’m a first generation American of Kenyan descent. I learned my first beauty secret when I was eight years old visiting my grandmother, a coffee farmer, Nyakio, in Kenya. She taught me how to use Kenyan Coffee Beans and sugarcane to exfoliate my skin. She inspired me to create the Nyakio Kenyan Coffee collection (including a Kenyan Coffee Lip Polish ($24), Kenyan Coffee Face Polish ($32), and Kenyan Coffee Body Scrub ($35)).
TLLC: For people who have access to farmer’s markets and cultural grocery stores here in the US, is there a simple DIY or an ingredient we can include in our skincare routines that we are overlooking or underestimating?
NG: I believe coffee beans have many benefits for energizing and exfoliating our skin. My grandfather was a medicine man, and I learned from my family about the restorative power of oils to treat our skin. I love mixing organic oils I find at my local farmers market, like coconut oil, and adding drops of citrus fruits (like tangerine) to brighten my skin. I was inspired to create Nyakio Marula & Neroli Brightening Oil ($42) because of my love of using cold-pressed oils to achieve radiant skin!TLLC: What are your top tips to keep skin in peak condition when traveling?
NG: Hydration is the key to younger looking skin. Traveling can tax our skin, especially on airplanes. When flying, I always apply Nyakio Chamomile Sleep Mask ($35) to soothe and intensely hydrate. The mask goes on like a moisturizer and is clear, so it may be worn in public. I find that when applying this mask when traveling it doesn’t take my skin two days to recover from the dehydration that happens due to flying. You can also wear the mask under makeup on the plane.
TLLC: If someone could travel anywhere in the world to receive the most powerful anti-aging treatment, what country and what treatment would you recommend and why?
NG: I ethically and sustainably source ingredients from 13 countries around the globe, so that’s a tough one! Obviously, I must mention Kenya because of the powerful, anti-oxidant rich, and energizing power of Kenyan coffee and ties to my family beauty secrets. But, I also have to include China, where we source our red ginseng and Chinese rice powder. In China, women often use the leftover water after boiling rice to treat the skin. The rice ingredient helps to smooth and brighten skin. Red ginseng is used in China to help increase collagen and firm the skin. I have included these natural ingredients in our Nyakio Red Ginseng Eye and Lip Cream ($39) and Nyakio Chinese Rice Powder ($26).
TLLC: Since so much of your brand is focused on indigenous ingredients, what are some of the best ingredients from around the world and what are they good for?
NG: I have found many incredible ingredients that help us achieve ageless beauty from around the globe. I love quinoa, known as the Mother Grain, as it’s often farmed by mothers and grandmothers, which is a key ingredient in our de-puffing and firming eye cream. Peruvian quinoa works as an anti-inflammatory, and also helps to minimize fine lines and wrinkles. African black soap, featured in our Purifying Mud Mask ($35) (sourced from Ghana), is amazing for detoxification. I firmly believe we should all detoxify our skin at least once a week.
TLLC: What is the one must-have product that everyone should own and why?
NG: Tamanu oil is an amazing anti-aging ingredient that comes from India. We use tamanu oil in our Firming Face Balm ($45), and I use it nightly for anti-aging on my face and neck. I also learned that tamanu oil is great for after sun soothing, and I continue to use this balm on other areas of my body like my cuticles, elbows, and heels. The revitalizing power of our Firming Face Balm helps to achieve ageless beauty!
TLLC: What’s your go-to DIY recipe for glowing skin?
NG: Kenyan Coffee & Coconut Face Scrub for Glowing Skin
3/4 teaspoon of organic unrefined coconut oil
3/4 teaspoon of organic Kenyan coffee grounds
Juice of 1/4 slice of lemon.
Mix paste together. Apply in a circular motion (leave on for 5 minutes).
Rinse off and add moisturizer. Admire your glow!