When Dorian Morris founded Undefined Beauty in 2018, she wanted to make what she calls "plant magic" accessible to everyone. Clean, natural formulas are known for having higher price tags than their synthetic counterparts because they're often made by small brands in small batches. Without the economies of scale that larger brands benefit from, products tend to be on the pricier side. But Morris has figured out a way to offer an entire line of under-$30 plant-based skin care formulas that feel far more luxurious than their affordable price tags imply.
"My mission with Undefined is to truly democratize beauty and destigmatize plant-based solutions, like adaptogens, but do so in a way that feels really fresh and unapologetic," she says. "For me, it's really about undesigning and rethinking what beauty and wellness looks like, because historically, it just had one face, and that face was skinny, blonde, affluent, and white. We all deserve access to high-quality products that don't cost your firstborn child, so Undefined was created to bridge that gap and elevate some amazing plant wisdom, but accessibly priced."
Getting into the plant magic
"Undefined is about this clean-ical approach, which means I take this ancient plant wisdom that Mother Nature blessed us with, and I pair it with known performance-driven actives so that way you don't have to compromise," says Morris.
She started her journey with plant magic back in 2018. At the time, she owned a brick-and-mortar store in Oakland, California that had a CBD and cannabis tincture bar. "It was almost like a wine bar. People could walk up and sample all of the tinctures and understand the notes from a flavor profile and where the hemp was sourced, in kind of this artisanal experience," says Morris. And that actually educated me moving into ingestibles on the CBD side."
Then, she learned about the administrative hurdles that come along with CBD and shifted her focus to mushrooms. "Adaptogenic mushrooms actually can do very similar things that CBD can do without all the regulatory nonsense that unfortunately the industry still has," she says.
The brand's inaugural line, R&R, harnesses the power of these adaptogens and mushrooms into topical and ingestible products. "R&R is really about the power of these mushrooms to rest and repair, reset and replenish your skin barrier. But at the end of the day, it's really focused on skin health and giving you tools to tackle modern-day stress," says Morris of the topicals. The line is also designed to "just simplify your routine because, for me, it's not about this 20-step cream skin-care regimen. It's really about having your core foundational skincare element that you're building a routine around," she adds.
“The cleanser is a detoxifying and brightening cleanser. What makes it special is that it’s a three-in-one. It cleanses, it tones, and you can also use it as a mask,” says Morris. “It is also sulfate-free, it has a gel texture, and it has this really nice wild mint scent profile.”
“This is my brightening and pore refining one-stop-shop for your daily moisture and brightening needs,” says Morris. “There are a million vitamin Cs on the market. What makes this special is that, in addition to vitamin C, it also has Alpha arbutin and kojic acid, which are two really powerful actives to help with hyperpigmentation and brightening the skin, as well as some plant-based solutions that do similar things, like the licorice root and the Kakadu plum. So it’s really packing the best of both worlds to really brighten and help to tackle some age spots and hyperpigmentation.”
Undefined Beauty’s night serum is based in bakuchiol, an ingredient that’s often touted as a retinol alternative. “Let’s be clear: it does very different things to your skin, but it’s a nice alternative for those that maybe have sensitive skin or they’re pregnant or nursing,” says Morris. “It also incorporated other ingredients, like moth bean, which is an amazing antioxidant,” which works well with bakuchiol, “as well as carrot seed, macadamia, and borage, which has this amazing ability to help to repair and protect the skin.”
“It’s a lightweight moisturizer, and it’s silicone-free—I don’t operate with silicone, so all the products are silicone-free,” says Morris. “This is really passing into peptides and ceramides to really help strengthen your skin barrier and protect it against transepidermal water loss. From a plant-magic story, it does have prickly pear, which is a beautiful ingredient, as well as Tremella and shiitake mushroom, which actually is naturally high in kojic acid, so you do get the brightening benefit there, as well.”
“This is a magnesium-based spray,” says Morris. “Most people are magnesium deficient, and so this is actually a way to get transdermal penetration of magnesium. And what’s nice about that is that, as it’s penetrating, it’s taking all the ingredients along for the journey, and so you’re actually getting accelerated hydration from a mist format. It also has Kakadu plum, as well as niacinamide. And one of the other key ingredients in this one that only lives in this product is sea kelp, which does a lot of really amazing things to help soothe the skin, especially if you have irritation and redness.”
“This is a very powerful 10 percent acid treatment, so it’s got AHAs, BHAs, and PHAs,” says Morris. “You have the three different acids, which do different things, and they penetrate at different levels, so I wanted to make sure that I had all three of them checked. And it also has kombucha as well as ginseng.”
“My newest child, this is a 100 percent mineral SPF 50 that has skin-nourishing benefits,” says Morris. “It has niacinamide, it has jojoba, it has raspberry seed, which actually is a beautiful antioxidant that naturally has sun protection abilities. What makes this special is that, although it’s 100 percent mineral, it is tinted, so it has this universally flattering tint.” This tint is provided by iron oxide, which also helps prevent damage from visible light.
Morris has stayed true to her roots by offering ingestibles alongside her topical products. The latest addition to the line, the R&R Bar, has a coconut flavor and is available in two formats: Unmistakeable, which contains beauty-focused adaptogens like ashwagandha, schisandra and chaga; and Unstoppable, which contains immunity-boosting adaptogens like cordyceps, maitake, reishi, shiitake, turkey tail, and royal sun blaze.
Undefined's focus on inclusivity
Undefined Beauty's accessible pricing is only one of the ways the brand exemplifies its commitment to inclusivity. "Although I am a Black founder, I want everyone to feel welcome within my family," says Morris.
Each product displays an illustration of a different person, spanning race and gender. For example, the cleanser features an illustration of an Asian woman. "From an ingredient story standpoint, it has Gotu kola, it has green tea, and it has shiitake mushroom, which has its heritage in traditional Chinese medicine, so it's really giving a nod to that community that has brought forth this wisdom," says Morris.
She's also intentional about her supply chain, making sure she's actively contributing to the communities she wishes to uplift.
"Conscious capitalism is one of my four pillars, which means across my supply chain, I partner with female-founded, minority-owned, LGBTQ-owned businesses because I'm a strong believer that business empowers business," she says. "So I, as a small entrepreneur, can go with my dollar to elevate other like-minded business owners across my supply chain so we can all win together."
Overall, she wants people to see her product on shelves or in their Instagram feed, and feel that they're included. "Representation matters," she says. "I get so many DMs of people that discovered me at either Whole Foods or Target, and they feel like it's the first time that someone is actually talking to them. The way that I've thought about inclusivity, it's really multifaceted, so from a diverse illustration piece, I'm very intentional about choosing illustrations that tie back either to the ingredient story or the end benefit."
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