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Eadem Jess
Photography William Ukoh. Courtesy of EADEM

Eadem is the skincare brand fighting industry bias for melanin-rich skin

Founded by women of colour for women of colour, Eadem’s first product Milk Marvel Dark Spot Serum fights hyperpigmentation without lightening overall skin tone

“When we say melanin-rich it’s not about the colour of the skin necessarily,” explains Marie Kouadio Amouzame, one half of the pair behind Eadem, a new skincare brand on a mission to celebrate women of colour and provide them with products to help them feel good in their skin. “It’s more about how the skin behaves. If you can tan without burning, then we consider the skin melanin-rich.” 

Founded by Alice Lin Glover alongside Kouadio Amouzame, Eadem came to be after the two met while working at Google and bonded over their shared struggle to find beauty products that were effective for them as women of colour. Deciding to do something about it, they set out to create a brand that would cater specifically towards skin rich in melanin and correct the long-held bias in the beauty industry towards paler skin tones. “We knew we were onto something early on when we spoke with countless women of colour and all of them were saying the same thing: it's difficult to navigate, products don’t work, and I don’t know what to do for hyperpigmentation,” says Kouadio Amouzame. 

Following the launch of their lifestyle blog in 2020, which looks at the global beauty industry from the perspective of marginalised identities, last month they released the first Eadem beauty product: Milk Marvel Dark Spot Serum. A dark spot correcting serum packed with niacinamide, vitamin C, and algae, Milk Marvel works to decrease and prevent without lightening the overall skin tone like many conventional spot treatments do on darker skin.

With Milk Marvel, Eadem, which means “all” or “the same” in Latin, joins the ranks of new brands – from Tracee Ellis Ross’s Pattern and Sharon Chuter’s Uoma to Black Apothecary Office – working to address the historical need for beauty products for Black people and POC. We spoke to Kouadio Amouzame and Lin Glover about the brand, the different needs of melanin-rich skin, and what being “clean” means to them. 

What is your first beauty memory?

Alice Lin Glover: I have very early memories of my mom meticulously applying her skincare and beauty products – she is my forever guru, and so many of her rituals have been passed down to me! She always stressed the importance of caring for your skin from both the inside and out, using herbs and broths from her extensive knowledge of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

What did you think was missing from the beauty market that you wanted to address with Eadem?

Alice Lin Glover: For years I used ingredients like hydroquinone to address my hyperpigmentation without knowing the harmful side effects (including ochronosis) from prolonged use. And that is just one example of a product more likely to be used by women of colour. 

Because women of colour have historically been an afterthought in beauty, we’ve had to completely break from the “norm” and start from scratch with Eadem. Eadem is our way of centering women of colour and their beauty. By introducing Smart Melanin Beauty, we are creating skincare uniquely formulated for skin of colour. To achieve this, we worked with highly-qualified professionals who understand skin of colour to create custom formulas designed for melanin-rich skin. From formulation, to testing, to creative, everything needed to be challenged and overturned to make women of color the priority. No token beauties here.

You call yourself a clean beauty brand – what does that word ‘clean’ mean to you?

Alice Lin Glover: “Clean” has become a trendy, even controversial word, especially given that everyone has their own definition and it’s not regulated. For us, it’s an important distinction because research has shown that compared to white women, regardless of socioeconomic status, women of colour have higher levels of beauty product-related environmental chemicals in their bodies — often because of an European-centric ideal of beauty that’s been marketed to us. 

Our products adhere to US, EU, and Canada regulations to make sure our formulas are gentle on the skin. We even went the extra mile to test our products for efficacy, safety, and stability – which are surprisingly not required by the FDA.

How do the needs of melanin-rich skin differ?

Marie Kouadio Amouzame: Our dermatologist Dr Ann Brewer explains it as this: darker skin types have the same number of melanocytes (pigment producing cells), but they function differently. Skin of colour depends on key differences in the production of melanin into different sizes, amounts, and ratios of melanin. Melanocytes are very sensitive to stress/inflammation/heat which leads to both hyper and hypopigmentation after cell injury. 

You launched with the Milk Marvel Dark Spot Serum which treats dark spots and hyperpigmentation. Why did you want to start with those particular concerns? 

Alice Lin Glover: After years of research, Marie and I came to realise that we weren’t the only ones dealing with post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation – it’s actually the number one reason people of colour visit the dermatologist!

With melanin-rich skin you need to be much gentler to avoid inflammation and cause more hyperpigmentation. That’s why when melanin-rich skin is exposed to injury (think acne, bug bites, ingrown hairs, harsh ingredients) the skin heals in response but produces excess melanin pigment, which results in dark or pigmented spots. Because of this, it's absolutely vital for us to protect and treat our skin with kindness and gentle ingredients — not just because we deserve it, but because we need to on a cellular level!

You also have an editorial arm of the brand. Why is it important to you to have that side of things? 

Alice Lin Glover:  Our intention with Eadem was to give women like us a platform to share their unique stories and experiences. “Eadem” comes from the Latin word meaning all or the same, and our brand is truly rooted in those crucial connections we have with one another – while we may seem very different from the outside, there are so many commonalities that bond us together. One of the most important things in building a brand for women of colour was to really listen to the voices in our community and create a place where they felt comfortable in their own skin. 

What are the biggest issues facing the beauty industry at the moment?

Alice Lin Glover:  I think in order to make actual change in the industry, we need to first and foremost have more people of colour on internal teams and in positions of power in the industry in order to create products for a diverse audience. 

Tokenism, colourism, fetishization-sexualization-exoticism, cultural appropriation, reducing all minorities to a single image/stereotype, these are all things that we see time and time again in the beauty industry. We were tired of watching brands treat diversity as just a marketing play and not actually do the work – a real impetus for us to start Eadem as a way to deal with these issues head on.