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Aveeno and ESSENCE Announce Winners of Skin Health Startup Accelerator

In December 2020, Aveeno announced a new program dedicated to helping create a more diverse, inclusive and equitable skincare industry. The brand worked in partnership with ESSENCE, a leading media, technology and commerce company serving Black women. They announced Alodia Hair Care founder, Dr. Isfahan Chambers Harris, as the first ever recipient of the Aveeno Skin Health Startup Accelerator. Dr. Isfahan will receive the tools and funding necessary to grow her business. This includes a $100,000 grant and ongoing mentorship and a feature in ShopEssence, ESSENCE’s e-commerce portal.

A text graphic for the Skin Health Startup Accelerator

Accelerator details

Aveeno created the Skin Health Startup Accelerator program to create opportunities for Black women entrepreneurs in the skincare and hair care industry. The accelerator provides access, education and resources to help grow their businesses. Recognizing the power of the solutions these entrepreneurs could provide to the industry, Aveeno and ESSENCE set out to support women who are determined to make a profound impact on the health and beauty of all skin.

Alodia Hair Care

As a trained PhD Scientist, Dr. Isfahan has used her expertise to research human diseases as well as personal experience with damaged scalp and broken strands to launch Alodia Hair Care. The brand offers science-based hair and scalp products made from ingredients inspired from nature.  After speaking with hundreds of people about their hair care regimens, she saw a consistent trend surrounding textured hair types and scalp disorders, such as seborrheic dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, and dandruff.

“I’m honored to be the first Black women entrepreneur Grand Prize winner of the Aveeno Skin Health Startup Accelerator program,” Dr. Isfahan said. “This is substantial in helping my company grow our business. We fill a need that Black women consumers are searching for when it comes to scalp health. The support and recognition from industry-leading brands like Aveeno and Essence is powerful. It’s so important in building a more inclusive industry, which I’m grateful to be a part of.”

Support offered by the Skin Health Startup Accelerator

The Startup Accelerator program has also awarded finalist Ariane Turner, founder of Look Good Live Well, a $100,000 grant in addition to mentorship session with both partners and a feature on ShopEssence. “I’m excited to use the $100,000 to collaborate with a team of creative Black women freelancers. We can catapult my business to the next level,” says Turner.

“This is only the beginning,” Aveeno Senior Director, Suzanne Goldstein says. “There is unlimited potential surrounding the impact we can make within the skincare industry and for Black consumers, specifically. The passion Black women have for changing the course of representation in beauty is inspiring and our brand is proud to be able to support their journey.”

“At ESSENCE, we believe that providing purposeful platforms for access, capital, and expertise is vital. It ensures that Black women and communities aren’t just surviving, but are thriving. The creation of generational wealth is the ultimate goal.  This is why our partnership with Aveeno is such a valuable opportunity for Black women entrepreneurs,” said Latraviette Smith-Wilson, ESSENCE Chief Strategy & Engagement Officer. “For 50 years, ESSENCE has been committed to highlighting the achievements of our community. We are thrilled to celebrate Dr. Isfahan Chambers Harris and all of the finalists for their innovation and creativity.”  

Future plans

Looking towards the future, Aveeno and ESSENCE plan to continue the Skin Health Startup Accelerator. The program brings forth opportunities for Black women with the desire to create meaningful change within the skincare industry.  Visit their website to learn more about Alodia Hair Care and of Look Good Live Well, as well as more about the Skin Health Startup Accelerator.

About Aveeno

For the past 70 years, dermatologist-recommended Aveeno has unlocked the power of science and nature for healthy, beautiful skin. Aveeno is committed to developing breakthrough product formulations with new and existing natural ingredients, many of which deliver clinically proven results. The Aveeno Brand offers products for face, body baby, hair, and sun protection. For more information about the Aveeno Brand and its product offerings, visit aveeno.com or follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Aveeno or Instagram at Instagram.com/AveenoUS.