Prickly pear, mango butter, peppermint, maca root, palo santo: Brujita Skincare’s ingredients read like a list of things you’d actually want to put on your body. But maybe even more importantly, Leah Guerrero’s ethically-sourced line of cleansers and balms considers the types of bodies and skin colors, as well as the budgets, that big beauty brands often overlook.
The holistic esthetician hatched the idea for the affordable brand during one of her many visits to Mexico City’s mercados, which Guerrero still turns to for her sustainable, organic ingredients. Together with Yomahra Aquino, who you can thank for the brand’s Twin Peaks meets The Shining design vibes, Guerrero launched her witchy line, which operates out of Downtown L.A.’s Piñata District.
Brujita pop-ups started to grace local makers markets in 2017, but now you’ll need an alarm or a little bit of luck to nab one of the limited-supply drops: The Brujita Cult, as the brand’s followers are dubbed, swiftly snatches up the bespoke supplies. Those same customers helped Brujita to give close to $30,000 in mutual aid in 2020, notably to trans youth, undocumented food service workers and Black liberation advocacy.
A Q&A with Leah Guerrero
What do big beauty brands overlook about women of color?
The biggest overlook has been people with characteristic tattoos and bodies or features. Women of color have always been token to the beauty industry with very limited exposure. Being a misfit was something to talk about during “spooky seasons” and wasn’t celebrated everyday. I feel like the beauty industry still lacks personality and vultures off indie brands who make life real.
What positive changes have you seen in the skincare industry in response to holistic lines like yours?
There are brands like Vive Cosmetics, Beladoce Botanicals and XiCali Products who are making big waves in Latinx self-care—brands that have the same ethos as Brujita: celebrating each other.
Latinx self care is on the rise! Ingredients that celebrate our Latinx cultures, product names that are in Spanish or native languages, bilingual business owners, hiring friends because mutual aid is important in our communities—this is how we contribute, but not for the industry, it’s for our communities.
Are there any aspects of L.A. that influence the vibes of your products?
We specifically wanted our manufacturing studio to be in DTLA. All the action and productivity was something we wanted to be in the middle of. The magic and mystery of this city is felt in all corners of the studio. Having it in DTLA is something I never dreamed could happen—mostly because it’s so hard to make it in this city. Most of my rituals are done at the studio. That is where our main Altar is. This is where all the vibes are!
Our altar is packed with crystals, gems, personal totems, candles, seeds, nuts, hydrosols, incense and tarot decks. I like to think that all this magic combined is infused energetically into Brujita products.
What sort of other altruistic actions are you thinking about going forward?
Mutual aid will be forever ingrained with Brujita. We have a responsibility to all the communities who support us and buy from us. We are currently searching for land, land that is going to be home for all our businesses and outreach that we have in mind for the future like Brujitas Garden and artist residencies. This land will also be home to outdoor coworking spaces and art installations from POC. There are so many ventures we want to accomplish with this land. Brujita Skincare is just the beginning.
Who’s someone in your field we should be paying more attention to?
I love Millie Del Oro—an Afro-Latina star! This person is full of life. I love their content and what they’re all about and being unapologetically her. She launched her brand Tropical Touches, which features lifestyle goods and apparel.
Show your support: You can keep up with Brujita Skincare’s latest product drops on its Instagram account or online shop.