For Nyakio Grieco, co-founder of beauty retailer Thirteen Lune, caring for her hair and skin isn't just a hobby—it's a lifestyle. In addition to founding her own eponymous skin-care brand, she's tried an endless amount of products and is always curating new offerings for her store, which serves as a destination for shoppers to find products from founders of color. All this expert-level knowledge comes with personal perks, giving Grieco the intel she needs to craft her perfect personal routine.
I recently chatted with Grieco while she was traveling in New York City, thousands of miles away from her arsenal of skin and hair products in her Los Angeles home. Without missing a beat, she was able to rattle off with ease the many products she's loving right now and the active ingredient benefits of each and every one of them. These aren't per se her "favorite" products—"obviously it's hard to pick because it's like choosing between all your babies," she says—but they are products that she keeps in constant rotation. Learn about 16 of Grieco's beauty babies below.
Grieco refers to herself as a self-proclaimed “vitamin C preacher,” but this one is her absolute favorite. “Especially when I’m traveling, it seems to really adapt to whatever weather I’m in,” she says. “If it’s really not outside, it’s not too thick, but even if it’s really cold and dry it’s got just enough hydration. It has an amazing price point and is gentle enough for everybody who is just starting to explore using vitamin C, which helps with hyperpigmentation and discoloration, helps to even out the skin tone, and, fun fact, it also helps sunscreen to work better.”
Grieco is a huge fan of nourishing her lips with this gloss-balm hybrid. “It’s like a lip quencher, but also really gives you just enough shiny gloss that you can wear it under makeup or you can wear it alone,” she says. “It’s also got this little minty tingle to it.”
“This oil is made with pressed coconut and then infused with tuberose, so it smells like summertime,” says Grieco, who calls it “the greatest oil” and uses it from head to toe. “It’s amazing as a body oil but I also love to put a little bit of it in my hair in between washes. It’s almost like a natural conditioner, and it’s great because it comes in this sort of solid form, but then when you rub it together between your hands it becomes this really luscious oil that just smells delicious.”
“This face mist is really great at protecting the skin from environmental pollution,” says Grieco. “It just really helps to protect skin—especially melanin-rich skin—from an accumulation of super damaging pollutants that could often cause irritation, which would then cause breakouts that could lead to discoloration.” Pro tip? Leave it in the fridge for a nice, refreshing spritz throughout the day.
“I’m in love with the new Ami Colé mascara,” says Grieco. “It’s one of those mascaras that feels very soft and conditioning on the lashes, but also definitely gives you length and doesn’t get clumpy or sticky throughout the day. It has really great wear and doesn’t bleed.”
“This formula is like a mud mask and an exfoliator in one, and it leaves your skin so glowy after you use it,” says Grieco. “It feels like you’re giving it this really yummy, homemade treatment.” It contains bentonite clay, raw oats, rhassoul clay, marshmallow root, and a blend of essential oils.
Grieco originally bought this cleanser for her husband, but one day she ran out of her own, grabbed it, and fell in love. “It is one of the best cleansers I think I’ve ever used,” she says. “And so even though the line was formulated to really speak to men, I’m now taking over and using my husband’s cleanser. It just feels like it completely removes any excess dirt. I’m always about double cleansing, but my skin just feels so clean and balanced as soon as I use it.”
Grieco’s go-to is this liquid lipstick in a brown shade called Hussle. “Often I realize as a black woman, sometimes I’ll go and reach for red lipstick from a brand and when I put it on my darker pigmented lips, it comes off a little orangey,” she says. “But Bossy founder Aisha Fatima Dozie has perfected red and brown shades within her collection, so they work with all skin tones. And I just love the names, like ‘Hustle’ and ‘Power,’ because you feel empowered just by popping a little color on your lips. “
This cream from Skot Beaute is rich in vitamins A and C and contains complex microscopic lipid spheres made of purified natural safflower, which blanket your skin to deliver active ingredients that focus on cellular health. “It’s a super hydrating cream, but is really focused on aiding cell regrowth in your skin,” says Grieco. “It helps to prevent premature signs of aging and boost your collagen.”
“Anytime I deal with a breakout, I run to the Papaya Bright Face Mask,” says Grieco. “It usually helps to not only stop any breakouts in their tracks, but it also helps to clear them out before they lead to scarring.” This mask contains vitamin C-rich papaya extract to gently exfoliate and brighten the skin.
“I was always really intimidated about doing my own lashes, I didn’t even like to put strips on by myself,” says Grieco. “And then I discovered the Lash It Kit by D’Lashes, which makes it so easy to apply your own lashes. It comes with the perfect tool to pick them up because tweezers just don’t work.” The kit includes three sets of lashes, the applicator tool, regular lash glue, and an eyeliner-lash glue combo.
“I believe that we should all wear SPF 365 days a year, and I’m really into the EleVen by Venus Williams Unrivaled Sun Serum SPF 35,” says Grieco. “I love the fact that it’s a sunscreen, but in serum form so it’s hydrating. The skin just absorbs it, and it gives you protection without any of the purple haze or white cast that often happens with sunscreen. And if I’m wearing it under makeup, it gives me enough hydration that I don’t have to add a lot of other oils and serums over it. Plus, I can reapply it and it doesn’t cause the makeup to slip off of my face.”
“I have hereditary dark circles, so I’ve always been into eye products that help me to brighten the under-eye area so that it’s not so dramatic,” says Grieco. “Ron Robinson, the founder of BeautyStat, is a chemist, and this has the perfect balance of vitamin C to help to brighten the under-eye area and give you that sort of bright-eyed, refreshed appearance.”
“I use this oil all over my hair a couple of times a week, but I also use it daily on my edges. I wear a lot of protective styles, so I deal with traction alopecia and hair breakage, and it’s really helped to nourish those hair follicles,” says Grieco. “I’m starting to see a little bit of regrowth, even though it’s not meant to be a growth serum per se. Because of the coffee seed oil and the castor oil, I think it’s really helping to stimulate growth.”
“We talk a lot about how our hair doesn’t maintain hydration, especially for someone with textured hair who wears a lot of protective hairstyles,” says Grieco. “What I love about this product is that it’s a nourishing water that helps to balance out your hair pH. When you have to wet your hair a little bit to style it in between washes, if you do it with this it won’t strip your strands of the moisture you’re trying to retain.
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