One of my very first scent memories is being slathered with the calming, soothing Agua de Violeta baby cologne, a staple in many Hispanic homes. It’s a memory I share with a large portion of our population. While we may come from a variety of different countries, there are some Hispanic rituals that are universal among us. As a mother, I didn’t hesitate to douse my own son with the intoxicating perfume, largely in part to it’s delicious scent, but also to pass our tradition and fragrance history on to the next generation.
Today, the LatinX landscape is growing and for many of its brand founders those shared customs inspired them to create products that give a nod to our traditions. To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month (which runs from September 15 to October 15), we’ve asked LatinX beauty, wellness and fashion brands to share how their cultural upbringing helped shape their vision.
“The brand name Valdé is the Latin term for very and pays tribute to my mother’s lineage from Peru. Her last name is Valdelomar and her uncle, Abraham Valdelomar, was a famous poet in our country. The sculptural inspiration, like the curved shaped vessel of our Armor refillable lipstick case, also pays homage to the artistic roots of my mother’s family lineage. The golden tones in my branding are inspired by my country’s importance to the metal since the time of the Inca empire. The overall richness of the brand celebrates my culture and the aesthetic elements that completely influence how we shape the brand.” — Margarita Arriagada of Valdé Beauty
“Being from an Ecuadorean household, beauty was first taught to come from within by being respectful, kind and always having a great attitude because that resonates through to the exterior. My mother instilled in us to be ‘Bien arreglada porque como te ven, te tratan.’ That means they treat you how they see you. This goes hand in hand with our beauty and makeup routines and it’s what my sister and I abide by to this day. Starting Shades By Shan Cosmetics together, we’ve always put our best foot forward and intertwined our cultural approach into our brand.” —Shan Berries, cofounder of Shades By Shan
“I grew up in Venezuela, a country known for its beautiful women and a societal obsession with all things beauty, alongside its social and economic inequalities. Regardless of socio-economic position, all women, poor or rich, wanted to look as beautiful as they could. Whether they were able to buy expensive, imported makeup or simply have their neighbors do their nails, the women I grew up with all invested in beauty to whatever degree they could because they intrinsically understood the connection between self-care and self-confidence. That’s why, when I developed Better Not Younger, I wanted to create an inclusive beauty line, in this case empowering women in their 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond.” —Sonsoles Gonzalez, founder and CEO of Better Not Younger
“My sister and I were raised in San Antonio, TX, where the Mexican culture is deep-rooted in our hometown. When we were younger, our Latina/Chinese mother never put a big emphasis on makeup. She always told us to embrace our natural beauty and reminded us we are beautiful inside and out! Our makeup routine evolved over time, as our Abuelas and Tias introduced us to new makeup styles. While our day-to-day look is minimalistic, we love to wear bold colors on special occasions. Mixing simple beauty products and adding nods of bright colors are a reflection of our heritage.” —Toni Lee Jimenez, cofounder of Chica Beauty
“My Colombian grandmother was a natural beauty inside and out. For her, it was all about simplicity: hydrated skin and a pair of earrings and she was good to go. She always looked to natural ingredients for solutions. That’s where I first saw whole aloe leaves and chamomile flowers. Through her, it was clear that what was from the earth was better. This stuck with me over the years and inspired my approach to Kura Skin.” —Katrina Moreno Lewis of Kura Skin
“My mom is my strongest influence. She always urged me to take care of my skin, from using daily sunblock to deeply moisturizing in the evenings. Also, when my mom was little, she would walk to the corner store to buy a cube of cocoa butter to use a lip balm. I love this story because I use organic cocoa butter in our Rose Lip Balm and Head-to-Toe Beauty Butter.” —Patricia Fonseca of Tap Tap Organics
“My father left Cuba at a very young age and overcame many obstacles to become a successful pillar of the community. My mother is Puerto Rican and was able to share her culture with me as I grew up on the island for most of my formative years. Puerto Rico has endured many natural challenges and the people have become stronger and fiercely proud. Antedotum provides the remedies that make me feel confident, secure and beautiful. If I can inspire Latino youth to be their best selves and reach for their dreams, too, I can continue the legacy of my parents.” —Karina Perez-Marconi of Antedotum
“Growing up in a Cuban household, my mom has always been into beauty and fashion. Her makeup bag was always full. During my childhood, I also adapted certain beauty rituals and traditions and one of these is baby cologne before bed. No matter how old I get, I will always dab on some Agustin Reyes Royal Violets perfume before hitting the sack. It’s what my mom did and what her mom did before her. I brought those elements into my brands which are inspired by my own experiences growing up in Miami as a Latina and the heritage my family has passed down.” —Kathleen Fuentes of Lights Label & Lights Lacquer
“My grandmother owned her own beauty salon and taught me that when you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like work. My company is a tribute to my Cuban roots and was inspired by and named after her, who I credit with instilling in me a love for entrepreneurship, a passion for jewelry and a deep admiration for the story each unique piece tells. To honor my culture, I launched Hispanic Heritage Month pieces inspired by the cities in Cuba my family left behind. Each piece holds nostalgia and love for the home so many Cubans in my family were forced to leave.” —Ylette Luis of XIO by Ylette
“My Brazilian culture is highly invested in beauty and wellness and this influence has definitely helped to shape the process of creating OneSkin. When visiting Brazil you will notice that in all types of communities there will be many beauty salons and barbers. Feeling good, looking good and living a joyful life is a strong trait of our culture. At OneSkin, even though we are a scientific-led brand, we want to bring that inherited warmness and joy in the way we communicate.” —Dr. Carolina Reis Oliveira, CEO of OneSkin
“In Mexican-American culture, there’s a running joke about how Vick’s VaporRub cures everything. At least according to our Abuelas! It was the answer to everything—a headache, sore muscles, dry skin, even a broken heart! As I grew more conscious of what gets absorbed through my skin, I stopped using Vick’s VaporRub and looked to more natural solutions. When I started tinkering around in my kitchen lab, one of the first things I felt inspired to create was a universal salve that could inspire the same kind of ‘cure-all’ faith, but made with truly natural and skin-loving ingredients you could feel good about putting on your skin.” —Marisa Quintanilla of Wildland Organics
“I can attribute my love of color and texture to growing up in a vibrant, culturally rich community such as the one found here in the Rio Grande Valley, where Miami Fitwear is currently based. The Latin American art movement thriving in many indigenous Mexican communities like ours is one of my biggest influences. My mission is to empower self-expression by creating a product that is bold, fun, unique, and most importantly, inclusive.” —Raquel Ponce, founder of Miami Fitwear
“Growing up in Mexico, my grandmother and mom had daily beauty rituals. Every day started with a face cream, curlers and makeup, regardless of whether they’d be leaving the house or having guests. It was a discipline; a routine they found joy in. A nightly moisturizer was also very important. Passing these rituals on is why K-Beauty resonated with me so much. It reminded me of how much I enjoyed seeing the women in my life getting ready for their days. With Aloisia Beauty, we want to provide effective, clean skin care you incorporate into your skin-care routine and pass on to your loved ones, just as my mom and grandmother passed them on to me.” —Veronica Konecke, cofounder of Aloisia Beauty