Photo: Courtesy of Nude Sugar
One of Toni Braxton’s earliest memories is the smell of Odyssey, an Avon perfume that smells like ylang-ylang and tuberose, wafting through her home in Severn, Maryland.
Her home was stocked with other Avon products like mists and body creams. Her mother, Evelyn Jackson, would constantly remind her to take care of her skin: “Don’t forget your knees, don’t forget your elbows,” Braxton remembers her saying.
But now, at 53 years old, it’s been hard for her to find products for her skin, especially as a woman of color. She would layer different products in order to get the desired consistency and hydration that she wanted. Eventually, it felt like too much work, so she created her own: Nude Sugar, a vegan body-care line of nine products with a warm vanilla scent, including a whipped body lotion formulated to hydrate the skin; a creamy, yet foaming shower gel to cleanse and moisturize; a thick cream that improves the texture of the skin and treats discoloration and redness; and other hydrating creams and serums. Braxton wanted to tackle issues like discoloration and hyperpigmentation, but in a way that felt like self-care.
There was one specific part of Braxton’s body that she really wanted to treat — her derriere. She attributes her recent confidence to flaunting thongs and less material to her body-care routine with her products, specifically her restoring Elixir, a brightening serum blended to deeply moisturize the skin, and her soothing Splendor, the luminous cream that soothes out the skin to seal the deal of the serum. “I consider my body to be a Maybach — I have to keep it shiny, keep it clean, keep it in the shop,” she said.
Braxton wanted products that made her skin glow, but also made her feel good. It was important that the products were vegan and formulated with experts who cared about making beauty sustainable. Each product is made with 100 percent sugarcane-derived squalene to hydrate, and there are healing ingredients like plum-seed oil. Not only are the products blended with a mix of sugarcane, but the packaging is also derived from sugarcane, a sustainable crop which helped to create more environmentally friendly products.
Braxton wants women of all ages to fall in love with the products. So she called on her friends and family members of all ages to come together and talk about their skin and the products they would want.
Her sister, Tamar Braxton, wanted to solve a particular problem: the smell of burnt hair that is left after a salon visit. “We spend a lot of time and money on our hair making sure we always look good, but the smell just isn’t always favorable,” Toni said. So she developed a hair mist, a warm aroma of vanilla and honeyed musk, formulated for a light spritz for tresses. A spritz or two of her mist is putting an end to that scent. It can be used on all hair from wigs to weaves to natural hair.
Whether it’s her hair mist or soothing cream, Toni is going to do everything she needs to take care of herself, and she expects other Black women to do the same. “We only get one body, our Maybach, and self-preservation and keeping the skin as youthful as possible is the goal.”