Behind the brand: Ava Estell

Yaw Okyere explains what gives Ava Estell the edge over other natural skincare lines and tackling skin bleaching empathetically.

Ava Estell

Founded by chemical engineer Yaw Okyere who formulated the products to treat his wife’s hyperpigmentation, Ava Estell has become the ground-breaking beauty brand made to support the needs of melanin skin. In less than three years the efficacious scrubs and creams have become viral must-haves amassing sales over £10 million.

What’s been a defining moment in the Ava Estell journey so far?

I would say there have been plenty of defining moments so far for Ava Estell. From our first two weeks of starting the brand and earning £10k in sales, and over approx. £10M in just two-and-a-half years to, most recently, our first ever UK pop-up event in London, which was a huge success. The whole experience of meeting customers in the flesh and hearing their testimonies was definitely a wholesome experience for myself and the team.

We’ve seen the before and after pictures from testimonies of customers – can we just say, WOW! How much has social media played a role in the success of the business?

We pride ourselves in always being transparent and authentic in our approach and social media has definitely helped us push that forward. Being able to show the customer we are serving the results helps to build trust and also assures our community that this is a product made with them in mind. On our various social media platforms, the focus is on sharing real unedited results so that it can serve as a ‘showroom’ for what our products are able to do, and so far it has been instrumental in the sense that we would not be where we are today without it.

What gives Ava Estell the edge over other natural skin care lines?

I would say Ava Estell is not just a natural skincare brand but more so a science and research-backed brand. We have looked at the skincare concerns that our customers, our audience and, predominantly, black people face, and we developed products using ingredients that are science-backed but in their natural form. We wanted to create something that had melanin in mind right from the onset (not an afterthought): natural ingredients that our community know and trust and are all research-backed, so that we are not just known as a natural skincare line by label, but by being efficient and producing products that actually work. Our goal is to continue to remain the market leader when it comes to providing solutions to problematic skin concerns amongst people of colour and serving this community in a way that is true and authentic to them.

The brand has received so many glowing reviews. What’s the best feedback you’ve come across?

That’s a tough one because there are so so many – it’s truly a blessing! From mothers who rave about our Magix cream helping their children who suffer from eczema and psoriasis, to everyday people sharing testimonies of how they have gained their confidence back because they no longer have to hide their scars, blemishes or spots with clothes.

You have a degree in Chemical Engineering and a Diploma in Formulation Science, which makes you an expert. Can you share with us the importance of using natural oils in your formulas?

Natural oils are very important in skincare products because they are often packed with essential fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants that can nourish the skin, each with its unique composition and properties. Their versatility allows us to customise our skincare formulations to target specific skin concerns like psoriasis, hyperpigmentation and eczema. For example, oils like jojoba and rosehip oil are known for their moisturising and anti-ageing properties, while tea tree oil has antibacterial and acne-fighting benefits. They are gentle, compatible with the skin and versatile for addressing specific concerns. Since we include essential oils in our products, we ensure that what is used is proportionate to the carrier oils it’s being diluted in. Being a part of production from the beginning to the end ensures that everything is done the right way and with our consumer in mind.

The Magix Cream is a hero product. How would you describe it in three words?

Definitely magic, and to put it simply – ‘Understood the Assignment’ – because it does just that!

Hyperpigmentation is something that a lot of people of colour experience and some will opt for skin lightening products to combat this issue. What are your thoughts on skin bleaching products?

Skin bleaching is not something we support at all. We understand some people do resort to it because often times, they may be frustrated with their skin concern, or struggling in silence, and may want a ‘quick fix’ when in actual fact, it can have long-term effects on the skin. That is why we created our products and strive to continue using natural ingredients that will not contribute negatively to our skin. We do not want people to feel like they have to bleach their skin in order to feel confident in themselves; we want our products to help them feel confident in their natural skin tone and help them achieve a more even complexion, naturally. We are advocates for safe and effective products.

What advice can you give to our readers to upgrade their skincare in 24 hours?

That would be to ensure they always have sunscreen on deck. If it’s a natural SPF, like our zinc oxide-based Summer Body Cream, that is even better. Sun damage not only affects the appearance of the skin but can also lead to long-term damage and health issues. By incorporating a natural sunscreen into their skincare routine, they can protect the skin’s health, integrity and barrier function, helping to maintain a balanced and resilient complexion.

You’ve also turned your attention to haircare with a growth treatment kit. Tell us more…

We have the know-how on formulation and we understand the active and key ingredients that can help promote hair growth, so when a lot of our customers were asking for hair care products, this was an opportunity to continue to serve our community and solve unique problems that they face, but at the same time listening to their core needs and formulating safe and effective products that would work for them. Essentially, listening to our customers and community allows us to cater to their every need, as and when they come up.

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