S’able Labs: Championing African Ingredients in Skincare

8 February 2024

Sabrina Dhowre Elba’s skincare label blends African ingredients with contemporary science to create genderless products for melanated skin.

Sabrina Dhowre Elba, co-founder of S’able Labs, has always been fascinated by the natural powers of baobab, an ingredient she first learned about during family trips to Kenya. Now, she has incorporated baobab and other African ingredients into her skincare line, creating genderless products specifically designed for melanated skin. In doing so, Elba not only harnesses the beneficial properties of these ingredients but also reconnects with her ancestral traditions and champions the people and industries that source them.

Reclaiming Ancestral Traditions

Elba, who is of Somali descent, saw using African ingredients as a way to reclaim and showcase her ancestral traditions. By combining these ingredients with contemporary science, she creates highly effective skincare products. The incorporation of African ingredients also allows her to feel ownership over these ingredients, which have often been appropriated by others. In championing African ingredients, Elba is not just promoting skincare; she is highlighting the heroism of African people and supporting smallholder farmers in the agricultural sector.

The Power of African Ingredients

S’able Labs’ initial lineup includes five products: Qasil Cleanser, Black Seed Toner, Baobab Moisturizer, Qasil Exfoliating Mask, and Rooibos Micellar Water. Each product harnesses the power of African ingredients. Qasil, sourced from Somalia, is transformed into a natural brightening soap with antimicrobial properties. Baobab, a vital ingredient, offers numerous benefits for the skin. Black seed, rooibos, and other botanicals are also used to benefit melanated skin. Despite being designed for melanated skin, the products are suitable for all skin types and genders.

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A Journey of Education

For both Elba and her husband, Idris Elba, the creation of S’able Labs has been an educational journey. The couple embarked on this venture during the pandemic, a time when many people prioritized wellness. Through their research and development process, they have gained a new perspective on skincare and its importance. Idris Elba, in particular, has come a long way in his own skincare journey, now understanding the benefits of different ingredients.

African Beauty Rituals

S’able Labs is not the only brand inspired by African beauty rituals. Clean beauty brand 54 Thrones pays tribute to the diverse cultures and beauty traditions of Africa through its range of oils, soaps, and body butters. Líha, founded by friends Liha Okunniwa and Abi Oyepitan, draws inspiration from their Nigerian heritage, crafting indulgent vegan oils, butters, and candles. Epara Skincare, created by Oxford graduate Ozohu Adoh, incorporates ingredients from Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, and Madagascar to nourish and protect the skin.

Conclusion: S’able Labs, founded by Sabrina Dhowre Elba and her husband Idris Elba, is making waves in the skincare industry by championing African ingredients. Their genderless products, specifically designed for melanated skin, not only harness the natural powers of African ingredients but also support smallholder farmers and highlight the heroism of African people. Through their journey, they have gained a deeper understanding of skincare and its impact on overall well-being. As more brands embrace African beauty rituals, the industry becomes more inclusive and diverse, celebrating the rich heritage and traditions of the continent.

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