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As regular readers of this column will know, I’ve been writing (and enthusing) about various superfoods for quite some time. But perhaps because I’m a guy, and a chef, it never quite dawned on me that superfoods aren’t just for eating! Their benefits extend well beyond the culinary sphere, and superfood skincare products have proliferated in recent years. And with good reason—superfoods’ efficacy and natural gentleness make them a welcome alternative to traditional chemical-laden products that can be harsh and ineffective.
Which brings us to Priscilla Tsai and cocokind. Tsai spent her teens and early 20s suffering from serious acne. “My skin was extremely sensitive, and the medications I was on were clearly the wrong dosage—leading to both skin sensitivity and gut-health issues. Finally I decided I would do my own research about ingredients and simplify my routine.”
She started to create skincare formulas from superfoods and slowly found what worked for her, and not just in the physical sense. “I realized that healthy skin is also a mental exercise—it means understanding that flaws and occasional breakouts are totally normal. The definition of healthy skin looks completely different for everyone.”
Forging a Different Career Path
Leaving behind her Wall Street career, and with no prior experience in the beauty and startup worlds, Tsai founded cocokind to market a better breed of beauty product. “I created this brand to empower others to take control of their skin journey, like I had. We pride ourselves on being an anti-aspirational brand that is focused on helping our consumers nourish their skin, rather than aspiring to perfect or unattainable skin.”
From cleansers and toners to moisturizers and serums, Priscilla’s superfood skincare creations utilize what she calls “hero ingredients” to lavish the skin with tender care. Baobab seed oil, hibiscus flower acids, and blue sea kale extract are just a few of the naturally derived essences that may be found in her nourishing formulations.
A New Kind of Beauty Brand
But it’s not just the products that are revolutionary. “At cocokind, our goal is to build a better beauty brand—one that has higher standards not only around ingredients and formulations, but also around our impact on the environment and transparency with our consumers,” Tsai says.
So, unlike most conventional beauty companies, cocokind lists every single ingredient on its packaging—in a format that’s clear and easy to understand. Not only that, but a panel of sustainability facts for every product reveals the company’s commitment to transparency in every facet of its mission.
“We’re changing the status quo in the beauty industry,” Tsai says. “Whether it’s how we communicate, educate, or empower our consumer with information, or about how we create products, we are challenging beliefs and methods that no longer serve consumers.”
Leading Female Entrepreneurs to Success
But Tsai didn’t stop with creating a line of superfood skincare products that are a model of transparency and sustainability. She’s also on a mission to offer assistance to others like herself, who have a dream and a mission but not a roadmap or ready resources.
So Tsai is literally “putting her money where her mouth is,” as the saying goes. She founded the Cocokind Impact Foundation, which provides financial grants to female-identifying entrepreneurs in the health, wellness, and sustainability industries, who are focused on creating social impact through business.
The business model must have a greater social mission at its core. This could be a financial commitment to a social cause, working directly or indirectly on an issue through the business, or partnering with various social impact groups.
In addition to a cash stipend, each grant recipient also receives a Cocokind Impact Mentor—drawn from cocokind’s network of successful founders and leaders in the wellness space—for one year after receiving the grant.
Tsai wants to enlist more visionaries to join her in changing the status quo and creating lasting impacts in the way we treat ourselves and our world. So her foundation is just the beginning. “We’re just getting started,” she says enthusiastically. And there’s no reason to doubt that even greater things are coming.