The Affordable Haircare Brand That's Celebrating All Hair Textures In the Latinx Community
"Latinas spend more than 30% more on beauty products than the average consumer, so let's create a space for them," says Botánika Beauty founder Aisha Ceballos-Crump.
Thankfully, Ceballos-Crump achieved the goal she set when founding the brand in 2015. Now Botánika products can be easily picked up at Walmart or Target stores across the country, in addition to online through the brand's website.
Combining botanical ingredients rooted in her culture with the science from her background as a chemical engineer, the line features high-performance products that celebrate and cater to the wide range of hair textures in the Latinx community.
Ahead Ceballos-Crump shares why Botánicas served as the main inspiration for her brand, which product from the line will benefit all hair textures, and what she hopes to see in the future of the haircare space.
What personal experiences inspired you to start Botánika Beauty?
At the root of all my business ventures is the young Puerto Rican girl that was born and raised in Gary, Indiana. Throughout my life, I always struggled with whether or not I was Latina enough, even though in my home we ate Puerto Rican food, listened to salsa, and had the culture. However, the outside world looked at my hair texture, my southern dialect because I'm from the Midwest, and my name my mom gave me because it's Arabic and not a traditional Latina name. So my entire life from childhood to college, people questioned my culture and heritage to the point where I started questioning whether I was Latina enough. And then in media, you just see one type of Latina: a woman who has a certain hair type or texture and a strong accent. My husband is African American and I have three Afro-Latino children. My kids would even question why my hair was different, and sometimes people didn't believe they were Puerto Rican because they have Black skin, so they were my inspiration. I realized I needed to take my years of expertise to create an amazing collection of products that really showcase our culture, heritage, and the beauty of Latina women, and the fact that we're all different.
How do you go about creating products that will cater to the wide range of hair types and textures in the Latinx community?
That was me doing my kids' hair in the kitchen in the morning, dealing with three different textures and buying so many products to cater to them. That was really the inspiration. For me, it's all about the science. I'm a chemical engineer. I studied engineering and I worked at a corporation where we studied the fibers of the hair, so everything I do is backed by science. I figured out a way to take the best ingredients to deliver the maximum results. I wanted to use natural and botanical ingredients that will be beneficial, regardless of your hair texture. While a product might help to soothe and volumize the hair, someone with curly hair could use the product too too. It was really about tapping into ingredients routed in our culture, the science, and understanding the true science behind the fibers of the hair and texture.
What is the importance of Botánicas to the Latinx community and how have they influenced the brand?
It's such a big part of the brand. When I decided to pivot, I had already been in the beauty space with my first brand Honey Baby Naturals and I knew I wanted to create this line. I knew it was time for Latinx representation. I was in Humbodlt Park neighborhood of Chicago and the first place I wanted to do ingredient research was a Botánica. When a lot of Afro-Caribbean people came to this country, we couldn't afford healthcare, so the Botánicas are stores rooted in Latinx communities where we would go for our healing ingredients and wellness. When I walked in on of the local Botánicas and started researching ingredients, I had that aha moment where I knew the line had to be inspired by ingredients in our culture and really speak to our customer who understand the importance of the Botánicas in Latinx communities.
Everyone's hair needs are different, but what is one product from the line everyone can benefit from incorporating into their routine?
Our Goddess Collection blesses you with herbs and healing and ingredients that are going to seal and protect your hair, but what's at the basis of it is healthy hair. The Mender Protein Treatment is the goddess of choice and it's great for all hair textures. It's a pre-mixed protein treatment that helps with shedding, breakage, dryness, limpness, and your curl pattern. There are a lot of protein treatments out there that are very expensive but I wanted to reach the masses with this mending product. It's our number one seller and when you pair it with our Revitalizer, which is a butter-like deep conditioner, you're going to have a great hair day every day — no matter your hair texture.
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As a brand founder, what do you hope to see in the future of the haircare space?
When I quit my corporate job in 2015, it was because I wanted to change the face of beauty. I jumped all in with my 15 years of experience because I realized the market was still void and didn't speak to our consumer. I wanted to change the stereotypical way I wish I looked as a child seeing only certain Latinas in the media. I wanted to have better representation, uplift our community, and uplift our voices.
I want Latina and Black women to feel pride when they see the brand on the shelf because it was created by a woman that understands us and our hair concerns. I'm very involved with the Global Beauty Alliance and I sit on the Target Small Business Council because I want to change the industry as a whole. I want there to be representation in retail, on retail shelves, and investment opportunities. These are things I look to change and it's far more than just one brand, it's a community and a collective of minority business founders who are using their voices and platforms to uplift and increase our share.
Shop Botánika Beauty Haircare Products
The Enhancer Mousse
Use a little bit of this mousse and a diffuser to boost volume or add a little bit more to define curls. The choice is yours.
The Mender Protein Treatment
Is there anything this multitasking treatment doesn't do? The answer is a hard no. Apply it post-shampoo and pre-conditioner once every month or so to help repair damage, dryness, limpness, and enhance your curl pattern.
The Protector Styling Gel
All hold, no crunch, this styling gel is versatile. Run it through curls and air dry for extra definition, apply it and diffuse for volume, or combine it with a curl cream for extra hydration.
The Stimulator Oil Serum
Warm the oil treatment up in your hands and run it through your hair to boost shine. Alternatively, it can be used to help loosen up gel and detangle hair to prevent breakage.
The Definer Light Curl Cream
Bay Leaf, marshmallow root, and moringa oil provide hydration and nourishment in Botánika's lightweight curl cream, which can be used alone or as part of a cocktail. The brand suggests its Enhancer Mousse or Protector Gel.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
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