If you’re active on social media, you’ve more than likely come across one of Topicals’ products.
For one of its latest popular social marketing campaigns, the skincare company partnered with Black influencers for a brand trip to Ghana for “Detty December,” a time when people travel to Nigeria and/or Ghana to celebrate the holiday season.
@topicals 10s across the board. #topicalsgonetoghana #freetheyouth ♬ original sound – ROMAN ZOLANSKI
The mastermind behind the inclusive beauty brand founded in 2020 is Olamide Olowe. As previously reported by AFROTECH, the Nigerian-American founder and CEO raised $2.6 million in venture capital that first year.
By 2022, Olowe made history by becoming the youngest Black woman to raise $10 million in funding, according to Forbes. Led by CAVU Consumer Partners, the Series A round also included investments from Jay-Z’s Marcy Venture Partners, Kelly Rowland, Gabrielle Union, Yvonne Orji, Bozoma Saint John, and Hannah Bronfman, per a press release. What’s more, Topicals became Sephora’s fastest-growing skincare brand as it sold one product per minute in 2022.
In total, Olowe raised $14.8 million for Topicals before age 26, according to her LinkedIn page.
Following her own challenges dealing with acne, Olowe’s aim in founding Topicals was to support people who struggle with skin conditions such as hyperpigmentation and dark spots. According to a report shared by Skin of Color Society, over 65% of African Americans experience symptoms of hyperpigmentation.
“A couple of stats that encouraged me to address the market gap for skin conditions is: one in four Americans lives with a chronic skin condition such as eczema, psoriasis, hyperpigmentation, or acne,” Olowe told Vogue. “Around 50% of dermatologists and residents said their medical school training didn’t prepare them to treat skin of color. In addition, 75% of clinical trial participants are white, which means the vast majority of products on the market haven’t been tested for safety or efficacy on darker skin tones.”
Along with providing products that combat skin conditions, Topicals is big on advocating for mental health. In 2023, the company partnered with Change, a leading donation platform, to launch its mental health fund, per a press release. With the fund, Topicals partnered with Sad Girls Club, Hike Clerb, A Safe Space Mentor, NOLA Black Mental Health Matters, and WalkGood LA to provide access to free therapy and create a safe community that fights mental health stigma.
“I know the toll skin conditions can take on our self-image,” Olowe shared in a statement. That’s why Topicals is investing in organizations creating community-centric spaces via our Mental Health Fund. It’s important to us that we help those struggling with mental and skin health feel less alone and more supported in their journey towards healing.”
According to Topicals’ 2023 community impact report, it donated $50,000 to the mental health fund’s five featured organizations.