When traditional healing methods hit the mainstream market the most noticeable change is the price tag. Once clays and plants that have been used for centuries are “discovered” it becomes inaccessible. It’s a playing field that Leah Guerrero is passionate about leveling with her affordable, organic and ethically sourced skincare brand, Brujita Skincare. “I was named brujita by one of the vendors at the mercado in D.F. and that name ‘brujita’ just gave me new life and a new purpose in skincare and also healing the community,” she tells HipLatina.
We don’t tend to look at skincare as an overall health issue but in reality, any product made with synthetic materials has the potential to impact people’s health. Many fail to realize that when clean products carry a high price point, those who cannot afford them are left using creams, serums, and masks that are filled with harmful ingredients. And even higher end products are not always healthy for the skin. “The reason why commercial products are at a high price is because they’re filled with synthetics and they’re filled with parabens and a lot of other chemicals that are pretty expensive. That’s why they just mark up the prices,” Guerrero told HipLatina.
As a small batch skincare provider, Guerrero wants her customers to think more critically about the commercial skincare model as a whole. It seems reasonable to want a product that we’ve spent big bucks on to last a long time. But Guerrero reminds us that when it comes to what you put on your body’s largest organ, freshness matters. “Normally commercial products have a shelf life of about 5 years. That’s completely gross if you really think about it. So you can use this cream that you’ve had at least a year or two or you can have an affordable crema that lasts 3 months,” she said.
It has been thoroughly documented that commercial beauty products for Black women and women of color contain more dangerous chemicals than those made for white women. And in a way, Guerrero’s mission poses the question: Is access to green beauty and natural skin care a social justice issue? When we consider the fact that commercial beauty products for BIPOC have been linked to fibroids, cancers, and other life-threatening health issues, the answer seems pretty clear.
As a licensed esthetician, Guerrero’s interest in organic skincare came when she realized that many times the products she recommended did more harm than good. “I recognized after my first year that I wasn’t really getting the results that I wanted to for my clients. They would say that their face was itching or that it [was] burning, that the products don’t help, that the products are actually aggravating their acne. And when you hear that you’re like ‘am I a bad esthetician?’ And no, it’s the products,” she says.
Her dedication to using only the best nature has to offer also comes with the responsibility to educate people about the importance of our connection with nature. “We are chemically connected to the earth so when you’re using earth products, there is just no other way to go. I’ve definitely seen what natural products can do so introducing that is super important to me.” Her masks, cremas, and hydrosols combine ingredients like prickly pear oil, honey powder, and maqui berry. As well as red and white clays, she brings directly from mercados in Mexico City.
Her goal to make quality natural ingredients accessible is closely related to her desire to heal the Los Angeles Latinx community through many of the traditional ingredients from our heritage. “When I started Brujita my demographic was LA. I really wanted to be the LA brujita and I wanted the community to trust me and to come to me with all their skin issues, so I could help them.”
In just one year Guerrero’s passion project has gone from LA mercados to the pages of Teen Vogue. Her releases sell out in hours, and the 4-star reviews are backed up by hundreds of loyal customers who wait patiently for the release of their faves like the Purple Reina Facial Scrub ($30) and Hechizo Facial Serum ($25). “People are becoming more aware of natural ingredients. They’re going back to their ancestry, their roots, and reconnecting with Earth. These are from our lands and we are so deserving of them and we deserve them at an affordable price. It’s been in our culture for so long and being reminded of that and knowing that these are accessible more than you think. That’s my message,” she concluded.
So what’s next for La Brujita de Los Angeles? Aside from continuing to convince people to break up with commercial skincare, she’s got a new business on the horizon. Everyone should be on the lookout for the Los Angeles Bath Company that will focus more on body products and body lotions. Until then, you can find Leah on Instagram here and you can check on her product releases at her website here.