Created by Sasha Alexander, Inaygia is an organic and vegan formulated make-up line. Inaygia was born out of the paucity of make-up for women of colour. “I couldn’t find my shade in BB creams at the store," says Alexander of her challenges finding make-up for her skin. "They only came in three shades, and they were lighter shades.” Alexander even took the extra step of studying organic formulation at Formula Botanica, an online teaching institution for organic formulation and independent beauty entrepreneurship. "I wanted something more healthy for my skin, and this seems to be the direction the beauty industry is going,” explains Alexander.
After formulating a line of make-up for herself, she surmised that this was maybe something other Black women would want because when it comes to makeup, many women of colour have trouble finding their shade. As a result, she decided to launch Inaygia in 2019 for all skin types. Alexander started on Etsy, creating and growing her platform through product sales at events for the Black community and online word of mouth, eventually culminating in an online store. Though new to the beauty business, Alexander is passionate about making a positive and healthy alternative to commercial make-up products. “My products are organic because I was on an organic transition when I first needed a cream base for my face.” When asked about the origin of the name and what it means to her, Alexander, who has a degree in broadcasting and public relations along with two diplomas in organic formulation, says the name just came to her. “I was sitting around thinking about it and it just came to me...it's a Greek name that means holy and dawn.”
Though Inaygia products are organic, Alexander keeps them affordable. “I felt it was important to make it affordable because I feel like everyone should have access to essential things,” she says of her product line. Inaygia gives customers the option of customizing their make-up choices with three easy steps.
1-Sample: An opportunity to test out ready-to-wear or custom shades
2-Swatch: Mix and match the samples until you find your perfect shade
3-Stir: Add your perfect shade to a base and stir
Inaygia also offers a virtual make-up counter where you can book either a 15 or 30-minute appointment session via zoom.
Though offering organic alternatives, Inaygia did have a rocky start when it launched. “I had a lack of capital to use and as a result, I've been bootstrapping,” Alexander confides. Apart from the lack of financial startup, Alexander discovered that although it was organic, it was difficult for people to transition. “It's hard to get people to transition to organic make-up if they are used to a full face of cakey make-up,” she says, recognizing that most people are more comfortable with what they know and love.
This, however, is not going to stop Alexander from achieving her dream of making Inaygia a name brand beauty line that leaves no skin type or shade out. “I would hope to be able to provide a streamlined process for colour cosmetics for inclusiveness, and it would be for every imaginable skin tone so it would be an easy process to get your perfect shade of make-up,” the founder confidently asserts. Alexander believes that as Black people we should be involved in every business sector, and should not want to leave it up to other communities to design products for us, which could leave us as an afterthought.
“I think it is important for us to cater to our community and build capital for ourselves so that we are not depending on other people.”