In This Issue
It seems like a new beauty brand pops up every day. The popularity of skincare has risen so much within the last few years, especially since the pandemic—which halted everyone’s bustling lives and really put an emphasis on self-care. Actor and humanitarian, Idris Elba, and his wife, model Sabrina Dhowre Elba, with their brand S’Able Labs, are some of the many celebs to recently tap into this market. However, through the introduction of any new brand, there will always be an impact on the environment and the global community. So, what makes the Elbas' line different?
Well, the core of S’Able Labs is community, partnership, sustainability, and a word the Elbas coined called “coupledom.” Coupledom, for them, is “the realm of shared experiences between two partners in life or business, creating extraordinary outcomes.” It is also the name of their Audible Original podcast where they connect their audience with inspiring partners or duos. In other words, the brand is inspired by the Elbas' “coupledom,” as it is their guiding star and the desired outcome for everything that they put their minds to—whether you are wearing, listening to or reading their products.
Moreover, the inception of S’Able Labs was influenced by Idris and Sabrina becoming UN Goodwill Ambassadors for the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), an organization which works to invest, empower and increase food security in rural people by helping them build their income sustainably through agriculture. As proud first generation Africans (Sabrina’s family is East African, from Somalia; and Idris’ family is West African, from Ghana and Sierra Leone), the power couple connected with the organization to give back to the Mother Continent .
Their award-winning beauty brand is more than a skincare line; it is a range rooted in purpose that breaks down the exclusive, elusive and gendered barriers of the wellness industry—an industry that is noticeably lacking in Black stakeholders and, until recently, hadn't really made an effort to include communities of color in the narrative.
At the moment, the line consists of 5 vegan skincare products—a cleanser, toner, moisturizer, exfoliating mask and micellar water—that can be used by any gender. The eco-conscious regimen, packaged in post-consumer materials, features highly-effective ingredients that are meaningful and abundant on the African continent. "I grew up watching my mother mix up various lotions and masks, indulging her skin with techniques and ingredients that had been passed down from generation to generation," explained Sabrina. "I wanted to incorporate some of this knowledge into our skincare range."
And through the brand's partnership with Farm Africa, the ingredients are sustainably-sourced using small farmers around the continent, whom the couple are able to speak with directly. “[Farm Africa] helped us throughout our search in East Africa by just connecting us with farmers, letting us know who’s farming what, what is actually sustainably farmed, as opposed to us including an ingredient and then finding out, 'oh, that’s actually awful for the region that it’s coming from.' [They also educated us on] what are the things that are more drought resilient,” added Sabrina.
As the couple have noted, when you look good, you feel good, which will help you do good. And what better way to support that philosophy then by starting from the source, and implementing "good-for-you" material in their collection to help you look your best.
Below is a cheat sheet of the natural, high-impact ingredients sourced from the Mother Continent featured in their A-Beauty skincare range:
Qasil, a Somalian beauty staple, has been revered for centuries because of its ability to protect and repair skin that has been exposed to extreme weather conditions. Harvested from the leaves of the Gob tree, which is indigenous to the region, the super-ingredient contains twice the antioxidant level of vitamin C and anti-inflammatory properties, resulting in a skin boosting brightening effect. It also naturally contains saponins, a gentle cleansing agent, that won't strip skin of its moisture or disrupt its protective barrier.
Black Seed Extract
Used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years, black seed extract comes from the seeds of the flowering Nigella sativa plant, which can be found in North Africa. Rich in vitamin A, amino acids and antioxidants, the extract's natural skin-calming benefits helps reduce inflammation, which is one of the leading causes of hyperpigmentation in melanated skin.
Baobab is a fruit that is derived from the African baobab tree, more commonly referred to as the “tree of life.” This star ingredient is rich in linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid with potent anti-inflammatory super powers that help reduce sebum production and acne.
Mongongo oil is one of the key ingredients in the brand's new Exfoliating Mask. Derived from the fruit of the South African manketti tree, it is particularly rich in vitamin E and linoleic acid. High in polyunsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants, it helps lock in moisture, repair cells, calm inflammation as well as maintain a heathy skin barrier.
Rooibos extract, the hero ingredient in S'Able Labs Rooibos Micellar Water, is derived from the fermented leaves of the South African Aspalathus linearis plant. Because of its combination of antioxidants, alpha hydroxyl acids and zinc, it provides natural soothing, healing and anti-aging benefits.
Shea butter can be found in the line's Qasil Cleanser and Baobab Moisturizer. Hailed for its skin-softening properties, the antioxidant-rich lipid—derived from African shea tree nuts—is a rich emollient and emulsifier that helps guard against dryness and soothe irritation.