Klur Founder Lesley Thornton Shares Her Story

I’d first love to start by talking about your background as an aesthetician and why you decided to create your own brand.

I became a licensed aesthetician in 2010—which was well over a decade ago. When I was seeing clients, I essentially could not find the products I needed because I had various clients with different needs. I was in Los Angeles, in Hollywood at the time, and I felt like I was starting to see a segment of women (and men too, but mainly women) who were coming out of those teenage years, approaching their 20s and 30s, where they could not use the same skincare. They couldn’t use Neutrogena anymore, couldn’t use Clean & Clear anymore, but they were still struggling with hormonal imbalances and acne. They were also wanting to work their way into [using] some anti-aging [products]. They would say, “I don’t want to use benzoyl peroxide, but I want to jump into retinol.”

So when I decided to create Klur as a brand, it was a few years into [doing] treatments. I realized that there wasn’t really anything that was sophisticated enough that felt like a grown-up skincare brand. It needed to meet the clinical needs of what you could get from an aesthetician or dermatologist with high-performance ingredients as well as contain the soothing botanicals of a natural-care product. It really clicked with me in 2013 that after I had been seeing clients for a few years that there were no Black aestheticians with a skincare line on the market at all—not one. I just took a step back and said, “With all the knowledge that I have, the education I have, and my real life experience with people, I think I can do this. I think I should at least try to put a line out, even if it’s just sold in my spa. I can just sell it to my clients.”

That’s how it began; it actually just began focusing mainly on selling it to my clients. Eventually, I was called by Urban Outfitters in 2014, and that landed us on shelves. Very quickly, we did very, very well. This was my first foray into anything retail. I had no clue that there had never been a Black professional skincare line on the market. I’d never known that there wasn’t a Black aesthetician who’d ever had a product on a shelf, on a major retail shelf. I had no clue—I was just kind of going. At that point, I decided to close my spa and stop juggling all these things and just solely focus on building as a brand. Two years later, after a really good run and being in 200 stores, I voluntarily pulled out of Urban Outfitters to take care of my own health because I felt like I was compromising it by running a facial studio and trying to build the line. So I took two years off to rebrand and relaunch the line.

What would you say is the core ethos of Klur, and what is your brand mission?

As a founder, I believe that my personal mission is the same as the brand mission, and that is to inspire, educate, and guide individuals into making healthy decisions. Not only just skincare decisions but healthy decisions living holistically and showing them that by using skincare as a catalyst to inspire and cultivate a healthy lifestyle using holistic tools.

It’s so great to see so many women of color creating their own brands now—especially ones that champion holistic practices and ingredients! Would you say treating melanin-rich skin is different than treating those with lighter skin tones?

People of color come in all different skin tones, which is fantastic because speaking clinically, there is a difference in melanocyte activity. Some people have very robust melanocytes, which means they’re much darker, and then some people have melanocytes that are not as active. That’s one reason why we actually get hyperpigmentation is because the melanocytes rush to that one area and then they darken. They act as a sort of healing mechanism to the skin, and it ends up healing darker in an area. When we look at dark skin versus lighter skin tones, I think one of the main things is (besides all the science-y stuff), there is some thickness in the skin. I think that people don’t realize with darker skin, you must treat it quite gently.

Having that experience working with dark-skinned women and being a Black woman, of course, I realized that, for the most part, skincare brands were catering to lighter skin or white skin before they would cater to darker skin. We reversed the scale and actually made sure that we put dark skin at the forefront of the science, and we realized that fair skin actually can also take a gentle approach. There’s not a single person with skin that can utilize a harsh skincare routine. You don’t have to be sensitized or sensitive to have a gentle routine. It’s actually really, really important that all of us practice that gentle consistency. I think with dark skin, somehow people have believed that you can take this aggressive approach, and you really cannot, because the skin does hyperpigmentate. When you understand that, though, that’s actually really beneficial to all skin.

2023-02-25 10:09:00 ,

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