LXMI, pronounced “luxe-me”, was created by founder Leila Janah out of a personal need for high-impact skincare that could compete with her on-the-go lifestyle and insatiable appetite for adventure. And then it became so much more.
Janah, a serial entrepreneur and change agent is helping to reinvent the beauty industry’s supply chain for good. Her commitment to sourcing Nilotica Reserve, the ultra pure form of nilotica (a fatty acid-rich type of shea butter) used in LXMI‘s two products from the Nile River Valley in Uganda, and paying above scale wages, is helping to shine the spotlight on responsible sourcing and changing the economy of a community that deserves a higher standard of living.
Transparency into the supply chain and ingredient list isn’t commonplace in beauty…yet. Beauty brands often tout marketing ingredients that are added in such small concentration ,their effect is next to nothing. Not so with LXMI. Their Pure Nilotica Melt is safe enough to eat thanks to it’s undiluted form. So while other brands swerve towards the sizzle, Janah (pictured below with Ugandan producers) stays the course with simplicity, high standards and a focus on transparency in product and in practice. What could be more beautiful than that?
Leila, can you tell us where your passion for skincare began?
As my role with my first company, Samasource, requires frequent public speaking and
interviews, I became concerned about taking good care of my skin when I started seeing
signs of dryness (such as texture and fine lines) on camera. I haven’t always put my skin
first (my love for outdoor adventure sports and extreme travel means that my skin is put
through the wringer), so I had to make up some ground. When I started to look for
effective, clean skincare to match my lifestyle, I was struck by how few natural/organic
brands felt luxurious. Just because I don’t want to apply petrochemicals to my face
shouldn’t mean that I’m denied an elegant experience! For this reason, when I
discovered Nilotica Reserve™ in rural Uganda, I knew that it could be the birth of
The model you’ve created to help elevate the lives of the women behind the
production of Nilotica in Uganda is incredible; can you give us more insight into
This community is one of the most resilient groups of women I’ve ever encountered.
The vast majority of them are war widows, raising children and making livings on their
own. Despite the few economic opportunities in front of them, they are optimistic
leaders setting examples for their kids. They recognize the potential of an ingredient like
Nilotica Reserve™ – which only they have access to – to change their lives for the better.
They can make 3x the salary harvesting and processing our ingredient versus any other
job in the region. So I realize it sounds a little bombastic to say that skincare can save
the world…but in the case of these women, it’s the truth.
Creating socially responsible brands is essential to building the future of the
beauty industry. What advice can you offer to other brands looking to set up a
supply chain in the same spirit as LXMI?
Two things: 1) I believe what we call ‘impact sourcing’ is one of the next waves in luxury
categories in general. We have data that 9 out of 10 millenials will switch to brands with
causes they believe in. Although LXMI is an outlier today, we hope that we are creating
a new standard in the industry, inspired by new generations’ priorities. 2) Luxury used to
mean the four P’s: provenance (where a good comes from), properties (what’s in it),
presentation (how it comes across), and public (who uses it). I think today’s version of luxe includes two more: purity (safe, clean ingredients), and positivity (does it actually
create good in the world?) It’s no longer enough to not do bad – do good.
Your “No No” list is pretty extensive; can you share more about your
commitment to transparency in ingredients and if you see that list expanding in
This topic is close to my heart. With food, I find consumers have a new appreciation for
the best versions of simple but amazing ingredients. Examples range from heirloom
tomatoes, to extra virgin olive oil, to small-lot coffee beans. Yet most skincare product’s
ingredient listings are miles long with unpronounceable chemicals. I am constantly
challenging the LXMI labs to simplify. We are fortunate that our Pure Nilotica Melt has
such a unique, beautiful texture with just one ingredient…a rarity in the industry. So yes,
I can see the list expanding in the future.
What are some of the ways LXMI connects with its customers today- we love the
videos you share on your site?
We make it our mission to connect with our clients across multiple touch points, mainly
Instagram, via our newsletter, and yes, on youtube. But one of my favorite ways is
Facebook Messenger – we are one of the first beauty brands to create a Bot to teach
about our brand, our mission, and our products. Shoot us a DM on Facebook to
experience our lady Bot’s sass for yourself. I laugh out loud every time. She’s amazing.
Experience LXMI for yourself in Sephora, on QVA and direct, via their website.