Briogeo Hair Care founder and CEO Nancy Twine is a leader in the “green beauty” space and the youngest African-American woman to launch a product line at Sephora. It’s no surprise that this inspiring pioneer of clean beauty has an equally inspiring past that has profoundly influenced her personal and professional life. Having lost her mother unexpectedly, Nancy pivoted from her career in finance to live her life to the fullest. During this life changing period, Nancy embarked on a soul-searching journey where she uncovered her passion for clean beauty and married it with her passion for hair care. In 2013 Nancy started her clean, natural and powerful hair care line – Briogeo.
Brio meaning full of life, vibrancy, energy and intention and Geo meaning of earth or nature, Briogeo was founded on the principle of celebrating everyone’s authentic beauty with clean and effective ingredients at the forefront of their formulations. Nancy uses Briogeo as a platform to encourage embracing your unique hair type, color and texture without compromising the environment boasting environmentally friendly efforts like recyclable packaging and the removal of all plastics in their hair care kits. Celebrating inclusivity by empowering “different hair individuals” and helping them feel confident and beautiful, regardless of their hair journey is also rooted in Briogeo’s mission.
Read on for Nancy’s Q&A with Miranda to learn more about Briogeo and the inspiring woman behind it…
MK: What was your inspiration behind Briogeo?
NT: Growing up, I struggled with my hair because the products on the market weren’t hydrating and nourishing enough for my hair texture. My mom and I took matters into our own hands and began making our own natural beauty products in our home kitchen from scratch. That’s when I first discovered that it was possible to take simple, clean, ingredients and create formulas that effectively transform the foundational health of your hair.
Fast-forward a few years, I began my professional career working my way up at a large financial firm in New York City—but almost halfway through my finance career, my world was turned upside down when I suddenly lost my mother. This tremendous loss made me see that life is short and that I needed to fill my life with work that ignited passion and positivity. I went on a soul-searching journey and ultimately, I kept revisiting my childhood memories of mixing clean beauty treatments alongside my mother—and it was then I realized I had a deep desire to make a larger impact on the natural beauty world.
I knew I wanted to focus on hair care because of my personal struggle with not being able to find what I needed on the shelves growing up, and at the time (circa 2010), I felt like some of the biggest market voids existed in hair care. From there, my idea for Briogeo came to life: a line of carefully crafted, clean hair care that offers solutions for every hair type, hair texture, hair need, ethnicity, background, and person. Briogeo was always about more than just me—Briogeo is about everyone. I wanted to create better products and offer clients a wide range of product options that spoke to their personal needs.
MK: In an interview with InStyle you talk about the importance of inclusivity. What practices should brands and retailers within the beauty industry adopt so they’re doing their part?
NT: Retailers must commit to putting a positive, deeper level of focus on diversifying product assortments in the retail community. For instance, Sephora continues with their 15% pledge, and has inspired other retailers to follow suit—these types of initiatives are so important as we make strides towards fulfilling the dream of inclusivity and progress. Retailers also need to offer thoughtful, holistic business programs for brand founders that focus on important topics like marketing, product development, finance, operations, and fundraising. Inclusive curriculums will give all founders the meaningful education needed to successfully scale their brands in large retail spaces.
For brands and fellow founders, it’s imperative to keep an “abundance” mindset and to continue to lift each other up. You don’t need to be cut-throat in order to survive—every brand has its own unique story and products, and there is room for everyone in this space. I’m so grateful for my diverse group of female beauty founder friends because we support each other, share advice and perspectives, and promote each other’s products.
MK: You’re the youngest African American woman to launch a product line at Sephora. What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs who want to follow in your footsteps?
NT: Launching a brand and following your entrepreneurial dreams is so exciting, but it takes a level of discipline and balance to prevent rushing or impulsive decision-making. I continued to work full-time at my finance job while I learned the beauty industry and wrote a business plan for Briogeo after-hours. Though it took a lot of late nights and hard work, not worrying about how I was going to pay rent allowed me the headspace to be more thoughtful about my approach; it also made me more confident in my decision (and timing) to eventually leave my job to focus on Briogeo full-time. It’s tempting to get so excited by our own ideas that we feel an immediate need to rush them through, but slow and steady wins the race!
Also, success is never found alone and it’s important to create a diverse network of like-minded allies and mentors for yourself to gain support, share advice, and learn new perspectives on your entrepreneurial journey. Remember that you will face challenges, but that doesn’t mean you should stop doing what you’re doing—you just need to get creative and figure out another way. I wouldn’t be where I am without embracing and accepting failure, learning to be resilient, and tapping into my diverse network.
MK: Clean hair care is a staple of your brand. Why is clean beauty important to you?
NT: Clean care for all people and the planet has always been an integral part of our brand DNA.
Many people have the misconception that “clean” can’t go hand-in-hand with “effective,” but that’s not true at all. When I set out to create Briogeo, I knew I wanted to continuously make beneficial ingredient choices that still gave all hair types healthy and vibrant results.
Our 6-free™ methodology means we always say “no” to unnecessary ingredients that may have side effects we aren’t comfortable with, like harsh sulfates, silicones, parabens, phthalates, DEA, artificial dyes, and other questionable ingredients banned by the EU. Research and studies have shown that these controversial ingredients can have potentially detrimental effects on both our health and environment. Instead of formulating with potentially harmful ingredients, we always seek out safer alternatives—all Briogeo products are naturally derived with our NOVA Complex®: our signature healthy hair blend of natural oils, vitamins, and antioxidants that fortify, nourish, and effectively support long-term hair health.
We’re also thrilled to be ramping up our sustainability efforts and recycling programs. Now, we’re committing to even more clean-planet resources, which will allow us to better educate our community on our earth-friendly initiatives, as well as what they can do to contribute with us!
MK: Which KORA Organics product is your favorite?
NT: I absolutely love the Noni Glow Face Oil, which I use every morning and night with my moisturizer. It’s rich with protective antioxidants and nourishing vitamins that give my skin that healthy “glow-from-within” look.
We at KORA so admire Briogeo and are excited to shine light on a brand that prioritizes inclusivity, clean ingredients and natural beauty. We too strive to uplift, spread positivity and encourage everyone to embrace their true, authentic selves – and of course we love a clean ingredient/sustainable moment. Healthy hair and skin is the most beautiful hair and skin, shop Briogeo and KORA today!