Urban Skin Rx is entering another phase with launches, new distributors and a philanthropic initiative.
The brand, which was founded by aesthetician Rachel Roff and caters to deeper skin tones, is debuting two new SPF products on Friday in tandem with a Juneteenth initiative. Called the Shineblock Oil Control Moisturizer SPF 30 and the Sheerglow Even Tone Daily Defense Mineral Moisturizer SPF 30, prices are $20 and $34, respectively. They are first launching on the brand’s website.
On Juneteenth, Urban Skin RX will be donating 100 percent of net proceeds of the sunscreens to the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Engineers.
Roff said that formulating the sunscreens posed challenges, being that mineral sunscreens typically leave white casts and therefore are inaccessible to Black consumers. The hurdles she had to overcome to create a sheer mineral sunscreen, she said, inspired the donation. Black consumers have historically been overlooked by sun care manufacturers, which has led to a recent crop of options for them, such as Black Girl Sunscreen.
“This donation is important to me because I genuinely think if there was more diversity in the cosmetic chemistry industry, it wouldn’t have taken me 10 years to find a partner committed to figuring out how to make mineral sunblocks sheer,” Roff said. “If there were more women and men of color in cosmetic chemistry, it wouldn’t have taken that long.”
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The search, she said, has even come at a high expense. “Last year, I walked away from over $100,000 of inventory, because what I approved as the final sample of these sunscreens was not what was made. I had to keep fighting because sunblock for all skin tones is where the market has fallen so short,” Roff continued. “I’ve worked with over 50 labs, tested over 300 formula samples. People throw around the term ‘all skin tones’ so loosely and don’t realize how deep skin tones really get. Just because a sunblock works on you or your employees doesn’t mean it works on the full spectrum.”
The brand knew it had winning formulas after testing products around the office. “Our team has really played a key part,” Roff said. “We are over 50 percent Black employees, and we do all of our efficacy testing in-house.”
Hoping to better serve her consumers, Roff recently introduced The Melanin Experts, a program to better educate and serve consumers of color.
“We also hired a team of licensed medical estheticians to run our customer service department, because so many of the questions we get from consumers are how to use the products, what’s happening with their skin. I really wanted estheticians to be the core of our customer service department,” Roff said.
Roff recently inked a distribution deal with Walmart, which joins Ulta Beauty, Target and CVS as a distributor of the brand. Industry sources anticipate the brand’s net sales to reach between $30 million and $35 million in 2021.
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