The founder of the vegan, cruelty-free brand wants us to remember the science behind the beauty.
ForHer Cosmetics founder Alyssa Space is all about transparency when it comes to her budding beauty brand. Space ensures that her customers – her #ForHerBabes – are familiar with each natural ingredient used in their vegan, cruelty-free lipsticks, eye shadows, glosses and highlighters.
“People understand when they hear shea butter or castor oil. These are things their moms and (grandmas) have used on them since they were younger, and they know the benefits of these things,” Space says. “I think being very transparent and simple helps people who aren’t really into chemistry and beauty education and skin care education understand what they’re using.”
This transparency is a part of her overall mission to produce high-quality natural cosmetics for women of all shades and backgrounds. Recently, her work has focused on stimulating young girls’ curiosities about STEM. “Chemistry in Cosmetics” is a partnership between the YMCA and ForHer to teach third through 12th graders how to create their own lipsticks and lip glosses through hands-on experience.
“Chemistry in Cosmetics was created to increase the retention of children, especially girls, in STEM related fields through alternative exploration,” says Space. “When you create an environment for girls to explore and see a woman of color who looks like them, it makes the impossible possible. Our community needs representation, and I’m here for that exact reason.”
The program consists of entrepreneurship and self-esteem workshops, team building, critical thinking and the opportunity for children to act like scientists. Children learn the basics of starting and running a successful business. Space also touches on four major topics including marketing, accounting, networking and scaling a business. She also teaches students the basic science behind the ingredients used in ForHer Cosmetics and how they work to benefit the skin.
“Children have the opportunity to create all-natural vegan and cruelty (free) products that I retail to my everyday customers,” Space says. “My program is gender neutral so we allow children to choose between creating a lipstick, lip gloss or lip balm. The children also get to take home information on the business side of the program for future use when starting their own business.”
Space got a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Michigan State University in 2016 and launched ForHer Cosmetics in 2018. She says being a chemistry major came with its own challenges, from not being picked for group projects to feeling alone when it came to tackling class assignments. Amidst her struggle, she found her purpose, which is to encourage young black women like her to go into STEM.
“In college, I never felt like I belonged so that’s sort of tied into why I do chemistry in cosmetics. A lot of times, women of color are, especially, told to change their major,” Space says. “I don’t know how many times I was told that science was not for me. So, I can’t imagine how it is now for girls in school.”
FHC understands the importance of inclusion in the beauty realm by merging science and cosmetics into one. Science and cosmetology have always gone hand-in-hand, but ForHer is bringing science back to the forefront. “(We) have a unique mission that sees beauty not only on the outside but within one’s mind. FHC is a beauty and education brand like no other,” says Space.
“As a very open and transparent company, I am very straightforward about my practices and ingredients. For the lipsticks, I use (six) main ingredients along with mica to add pigment. (We use) shea butter, castor oil, vitamin E, jojoba oil and candelilla wax. I love all these ingredients because of the benefits they offer to our skin.”
Catch ForHer Cosmetics at the 2019 Forbes Under 30 Summit at the Masonic Temple in Detroit, Oct. 27-29.