How Coffee Beans Inspired a Cult Beauty Brand

Nyakio Grieco is far more than a beauty maven—her passion for natural skincare goes back to her Kenyan grandmother’s love of exfoliating with coffee beans, and her grandfather’s rich knowledge of healing oils to treat the skin. Her eponymous skincare collection, nyakio™, is inspired by these traditional beauty secrets and more. “As a young girl, I spent a lot of time in Africa with my family of medicine men, farmers and educators,” says Grieco. “My favorite memory is of my grandmother teaching my mother and me to crush coffee beans and rub them on our skin using a piece of sugarcane to remove dry skin. I discovered that memories like these are shared by women around the world. Cultivated global beauty secrets and traditions are brought to you through friends, family and travel for naturally ageless beauty.” It’s no wonder that native African ingredients are the center point of nyakio’s products. “Restorative cold pressed oils are at the heart of the brand. The Maracuja & Yangu Soothing Oil is a skin saver that helps to alleviate dryness, irritation and redness. Additionally, I use it for cuticles, fly always and even as a highlighter or to refresh the skin over makeup. Another personal favorite is Baobab Oil,” continues Grieco, “which is a main ingredient in the Baobab Youth-Infused Daily Defense Crème and Baobab Lip Balm. The baobab tree, referred to as the ‘African Tree of Life,’ is a superfruit that helps to fight free radicals and helps to maintain skin’s elasticity.” It doesn’t take more than that to convince us that Grieco knows not just her products, but also the women on the other side of each bottle. “I worked in the entertainment industry,” says Grieco, “but found very quickly I was more interested in the fashion and beauty aspect. I felt many cultures were underrepresented in the world of prestige beauty, so I set out on a path to share beauty secrets with all.” And create an inclusive path of beauty, she has! Check out Nyakio Grieco’s top five beauty swears below (including some of her favs from the line)—and if you end up loving the product? Go ahead and swear by it, too!

Shani Darden Texture Reform Gentle Resurfacing Serum

For those that might be sensitive to retinol like myself, I use this “gentle sister to retinol” on my neck and décolletage every night to prevent fine lines and wrinkles because I am a side sleeper.

SPACE.NK Apothecary Smith & Cult Shining Lip Lacquer

The Smith & Cult glosses are so hydrating, so your lips never feel dry. Although this lacquer is a gloss, the pigment is excellent so you can maintain great color without drying out your lips.

Nyakio Marula & Neroli Brightening Oil

This oil is lightweight and my skin just drinks it up. Marula is known as “Africa’s Miracle Oil for anti-aging,” and Neroli helps to brighten the skin. I love using this first thing in revitalize my skin and give it that glow that takes me through the day.

DryBar Detox Dry Conditioner

This dry conditioner is great for your ends that might get oily between washes.

Nyakio Tamanu Firming Face Balm

Tamanu oil also has anti-inflammatory benefits and is loaded with anti-oxidants; it’s the foundation of my Tamanu Firming Face Balm, which can be used all over the face and décolleté, as well as other areas that need anti-aging care, such as the hands, cuticles, elbows, back of the arms, knees, thighs, and feet.

We think you deserve to buy only awesome things. We've asked the most discerning women out there to share what they honestly, truly swear by so you can get on with life and find your next favorite product, faster (and without all the sponsored BS).