Welcome to The Glow Up, Highsnobiety’s series examining the bathroom shelves of beautiful people.
Everyone has that one beautifully packaged face mask or serum proudly displayed in the bathroom. But when it comes to eczema cream or acne treatment, into the cabinet they go.
Topicals is changing the way we look at skin conditions and their treatments. Launched in 2020, the skincare brand specializes in stylish-looking products for dermatological troubles often accompanied by a sense of shame.
Growing up with post-barbae folliculitis, brand founder Olamide Olowe struggled to find treatments suitable for melanated skin. Back then, over-the-counter treatments overlooked non-white complexions — not to mention, the packaging was sterile and medical-looking.
Rewriting the script, Olowe developed a soothing eczema mask (Like Butter) and hyperpigmentation serum (Faded), housed in colorful, top shelf-ready tubes. Upon launch, both products quickly sold out — and demand hasn't waned.
Now, Topicals is branching out with Slather, a retinol body lotion. While retinol, a vitamin A derivative, is most commonly applied to the face to lessen fine lines and wrinkles, the exfoliating and anti-aging ingredient can also improve the appearance of bumpy skin, sun spots, scaly patches, and flakiness when applied to the body.
Slather isn't just a retinol product — as Olowe explained over e-mail, it's also formulated with urea and lactic acid, both of which help slough off dead skin cells that can cause scaly-looking legs and dry elbows.
Despite the product's science-backed ingredients, Slather is anything but clinical. Its pastel packaging and vibrant, Y2K-tinged campaign imagery — starring Baby Phat muse Ming Lee Simmons, Kimora Lee Simmons' daughter — make the lotion a joy to use and look at.
As Olowe awaits the launch of Slather on May 24 (head to Topicals' website to cop the cream before it sells out), the 25-year-old founder chatted with me about her skincare and makeup must-haves.
First-ever beauty purchase
Olamide Olowe: Clean & Clear Grapefruit Cleanser was the first beauty product I ever used because I had acne. I remember it so vividly because it had the most distinct fruity smell.
OO: NuFACE's facial toning device gets your face snatched in minutes, and also feels like a daily indulgence.
OO: Topicals' High Roller Ingrown Tonic soothes razor burn and irritation so quickly. This was always my biggest insecurity growing up, so I feel so proud to have made a product that younger me wish she had.
OO: NYX Professional Makeup Eyebrow Marker gives you the microbladed, hair-stroke look for under $10.
Best under-the-radar beauty brand
OO: Ami Colé lip oil is a hydrating lip treatment and gloss in on. I love the founder, Diarrha [N'Diaye-Mbaye], because she creates products inspired by her Harlem-Senegalese roots.
Beauty hot tip
OO: Oily skin is just dry skin that over produces oil. Make sure to double up on hydration and you'll see a huge difference in pore size and oil production.