On Feb. 6, Vamigas, a Latina-owned and clean beauty skincare brand launched at over 600 Target stores nationwide. The brand has become known for decolonizing skincare by reclaiming natural and ancestral ingredients in their formulations like yerba mate, maracuja, rose mosqueta, babassu, pataua, nopales, and chia sourced from Latin American countries like Chile, Mexico, Peru, Brazil, Ecuador and more. The founders, third-generation Mexican-American Christina Kelmon and Chilean Ann Dunning have been using their brand as a way to inform Latinas about the harmful ingredients behind a lot of today’s beauty products, while also democratizing and creating access to clean and sustainable formulas for Latinx communities —and now their products are available on Target.com and at a Target store near you.
Before launching Vamigas, Kelmon and Dunning met as they had become moms and were both embarking on their wellness journeys. “I had just gone through IVF and had a loss, and then got pregnant again, and Christina had a health scare after having her baby,” Dunning shares with POPSUGAR. “We both switched to more natural beauty ingredients because we found worrisome statistics around Latinas’ health and problem ingredients.”
As a result, the two started leaning into their cultural heritage for answers and discovered ingredients from their homelands like rosa mosqueta (rosehip) from Chile. “Our inspiration was the fact that these botanicals are part of our “patrimonio,” which literally means valuable things passed down for generations. It’s our heritage — our generational wealth,” Dunning adds.
In fact, Dunning grew up using rosa mosqueta in her beauty routine while Kelmon was exposed to healing ingredients like aloe and oatmeal. “I always used rosa mosqueta because it’s just very common in Chile, so it’s passed down to you,” she says. “Interestingly, when I was very young we would use rosehip oil on scars or tiny burns daily and the women in my family used it for manchas (aging spots) because you really would notice a difference. In Chile, they would sell rosa mosqueta at all pharmacies, long before it was trendy here in the states or Europe because it was used as a powerful healing serum.”
The line includes their hero product Rosa Mosqueta ($25), an organic Chilean wild rosehip oil, the Luz de Sur Face Oil ($25), that’s formulated with acaí, chia, maqui, cactus, and papaya, the Olinda Cleanser ($25) which serves as both a cleansing oil and a makeup remover in one, formulated with acaí, chia, and cactus, the Pampas Face Mist ($25) with yerba mate and acaí and the Rosa Mosqueta Face Mist ($18) with rosehip oil and aloe.
Vamigas is currently the only indie Latina-owned and led skincare brand right now in the Target Clean section. All their ingredients are sourced from Latin America and the founders are very intentional about focusing on the Latina experience.
“It’s important to us because we notice there is a wellness paradox in the fact that many of the raw ingredients that are pillars of the wellness community come from Latin America like acaí, chia, rosehip, maqui, and much more,” the two founder share. “So, it’s eye-opening that the Latin community has been kind of casually left behind.”
As far as the brand’s mission is concerned, Vamigas believes that wellness should be accessible to everyone regardless of race, ethnicity, class, and economical circumstances. “Our mission is to strip down this idea of wellness and remind people about our abuelita’s idea of wellness, which is also affordable wellness,” Dunning says. “This means moments of tranquilidad (tranquility) built into our day . . . I think this is why the señora era has been trending so hard on TikTok because essentially señora era is wellness and self-care for Latinas.”
With toxic ingredients in beauty products particularly impacting Black and Latina women, Dunning and Kelmon felt it was important for them to create a brand that is safe for Latinas and won’t lead to serious health issues in the long run. In 2020, the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology (JDD) released a study showing that because Latinas are considered some of the heaviest skincare buyers along with being the fastest-growing ethnic beauty market segment, they are also disappointedly exposed to harmful hormone-disrupting chemicals. A UCSF study found that Latinas had the highest rates of hormone-disrupting chemicals in their urine when tested during pregnancy. And last month new research showed the use of potentially toxic ingredients in beauty products is actually spurred by racist beauty standards. A 2021 Pew Research study found that 59% of US Hispanics believed that having lighter skin would “help them get ahead” living in the U.S.
“Our philosophy is to do the easiest and most sustainable, affordable thing possible: to rely on our ancestral señora secrets,” Kelmon says. “We think the simplest, most natural beauty routines are those used by our grandmothers and the women before them.”
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