nyakio, a skincare brand based on ingredients sourced from Africa, recently celebrated its first anniversary. I have been wanting to write about the brand and try it out, and finally got around to it. The founder of the brand, Nyakio Kamoche Grieco, is a first-generation American of Kenyan descent. She spent summers as a kid in Kenya, where her paternal grandmother, who grew coffee and sugarcane, and maternal grandfather, a medicine man, shared their secrets for beautiful skin.
Nyakio, or Kio, as she is known, was nice enough to take a moment and answer some questions for me via e-mail.
What inspired you to create the nyakio brand?
One of my earliest childhood memories is a trip my family and I took to visit my grandmother in Kenya. After working outdoors during the day, she used to boil down Kenyan coffee beans with honey and oil, apply the grounds to her skin, then exfoliate using a sugarcane rod. My family’s beauty secrets and rituals, like this one, inspired me to celebrate the sophistication of Africa by creating a skincare line for all skin types and ethnicities.
How do African women view growing older and aging?
It’s hard to generalize all women’s views on aging since Africa is such an ethnically diverse continent. I do think there is simplicity in African beauty: it’s not about over processing your skin or overworking your skin. Rather, it’s more about eating right, taking care of your skin, getting rest, staying hydrated, and being happy.
I can’t speak for all African women, but I believe that growing older is a natural part of life, which I’ve tried to embrace. However, we can do many things to take care of ourselves. From a young age, my mother taught me the importance of staying hydrated; not just topically, which is important, but also by drinking water and eating water-rich fruits, like grapefruit. Staying hydrated helps eliminate dry, ashy skin and increases skin elasticity. I try to drink as much water as possible during the day, and eat as healthy as I can, and I encourage my children to do the same.
I’ve completely embraced my mother’s hydration philosophy, which is why I was so passionate about launching the Hydrating Kola Nut Collection.
What is the best collection for mature skin? The Kola Nut collection?
My skincare products cater to all skin types, all ethnicities, and all ages. My new Firming Baobab Collection, launching this August, is a targeted anti-aging skincare collection that provides immediate firming for a more youthful look. The collection was inspired by my medicine man grandfather, who introduced me to vitamin-rich Baobab Oil, from the African Tree of Life.
Baobab Oil is extracted from the seeds of the Baobab fruit, which grow on large, resilient trees that can reach 100 feet in height, live for thousands of years, and withstand extreme conditions. The Firming Baobab collection will initially launch with three products: Firming Eye Balm with Baobab Complex, Firming Face Serum with Baobab Complex, and Firming Face Gel Cream with Baobab Complex.
I’ll be on the lookout for it. I have been loving the Hydrating Face Oil with Kola Nut. It smells amazing, and your skin feels as soft as a baby’s behind. I love to slather it on before I take a nap. And I’ll bet the Kenyan Coffee Collection smells awesome, too!
nyakio Skincare is available online and through hsn. Will you give it a try?