My newest contribution to Okayafrica's Afropreneurs series -- Mozambican skincare line TSAKA. Learn about how entrepreneur Celmira Amade is making waves in the beauty industry by disrupting the market for women of color.
If there’s one thing England is famous for, it’s the country’s cool, rainy weather. Mozambican entrepreneur Celmira Amade discovered that the hard way when she moved to London to study international business.
“I was born and raised in Mozambique, where it was summer year-round. Winter for us is 22 degrees Celsius—a summer day in the U.K.,” she says. “When I moved, I started getting dry skin and blemishes. No skincare products worked. The only thing I could do to manage the changes was wear makeup because that was all that was available in mainstream stores.”
Frustrated at these temporary solutions, Amade began using her grandmother’s Mozambican skincare recipes handed down through generations of her family. After studying entrepreneurship at Cambridge’s Judge Business School, Amade began to consider turning her pet project into a full-fledged venture. Today, she is taking her family’s beauty secrets to the masses through new vegan skincare line—TSAKA. Meaning happiness in Mozambique’s Ronga dialect, TSAKA celebrates the natural beauty of melanin-rich skin.
“There has been very little change in the mainstream beauty market to address the needs of people with melanin-rich skin. While there has been some evolution in availability of makeup and hair care, skincare continues to lag behind,” Amade says.
TSAKA plans to fill that gap by developing an internationally-recognized inclusive beauty brand. In recent years, African beauty ingredients like shea butter and marula oil have gotten their fair share of hype. TSAKA hopes to add a new addition to that mix: Olacaceae extract. The flowering plants are only found in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Madagascar, and have anti-inflammatory properties that can help fight hyper pigmentation. In TSAKA’s signature face mask, the natural ingredient not only detoxifies the skin, but also minimizes blemishes. Launched in 2016, the beauty line is the first in the U.K. to exclusively use Olacaceae extract.
“I wanted to do something that created a community, and helped improve people’s self-image without changing it,” Amade says. “You don’t need makeup to look beautiful. There are simple ways you can enhance your natural beauty.”
From ingredients to application, simplicity is at the core of TSAKA’s ethos. To use the face mask, Amade recommends sprinkling some of the powder with a teaspoon of water before applying to the face for half-an hour. With a preservative-free formula, the mask can be a component of any beauty routine.
The formulation isn’t the only African feature—the brand’s gorgeous, colorful packaging also celebrates its roots through symbols and colors on its ankara-inspired lids. Yellow and brown symbolize the wealth of TSAKA’s active, natural ingredients, and purple highlights the premium nature of its products. Infinity symbols signify unlimited potential while four hearts represent a love of Mother Nature.
For now Amade is concentrating on building buzz about the face mask, but don’t rule out additional TSAKA products in the near future. “We may launch a face serum sometime soon as a next step in our skin care regime. Our face mask deep cleans and detoxifies the skin, but the serum will help restore moisture and leave you glowing.”