How a Pivotal Loss Inspired Briogeo Founder Nancy Twine to Create a Clean Hair Care Brand for All
By Rakhee Bhatt
For Nancy Twine, clean beauty has been a passion that dates back to childhood, when she and her mother would create homemade natural products right out of their kitchen. They would use natural oils, butters, and extracts sourced from their local health food store to concoct a bevy of goods, especially those that would help Twine with her hair.
“I struggled with my hair because the products on the market weren’t hydrating and nourishing enough for my texture,” Twine tells thirteen lune. “At a young age, I discovered firsthand that it was possible to take simple, clean ingredients and create formulas that would effectively transform the hair, skin, and body.”
After graduating from college and working for a few years in the financial industry, Twine was dealt a devastating loss when her mother passed away. This inspired her to change directions, going back to her childhood roots of making clean beauty products.
“I began doing my own beauty industry research and discovered that consumers were seeking out clean and effective products, yet there was a huge gap in that market,” explains Twine. “From there, my idea for Briogeo came to life—a line of carefully crafted, clean hair care that offers solutions for every hair type, hair texture, hair need, ethnicity, background, and person.”
"Briogeo opens the door for people of all hair textures, hair types, and ethnicities to identify with one singular hair care brand as their own."
Twine came up with the name Briogeo as a means of describing the New York-based brand from the inside out. The name is a combination of two words: “Brio” is a noun derived from Italian and means “full of life, vibrancy, energy, and intention,” while “geo” is a Latin prefix meaning “of the earth or nature.”
Consciously created, Briogeo features a 6-free™ promise that leaves out the six most commonly used and controversial ingredients in hair care—harsh sulfates, silicones, parabens, phthalates, artificial dyes, and DEA—in favor of adhering to the beauty standards set by the European Union, which bans the use of over 1,400 chemicals in personal care products. Every single Briogeo hair care item—which ranges from shampoos and conditioners, to treatment masks and oils, to styling and finishing products—are vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free, and formulated for all types of hair.
Come along with us as we talk with Twine about her entrepreneurial journey, what self-care looks like for her, and what she thinks of diversity and inclusivity in the beauty industry.
GET TO KNOW — Nancy Twine
What was the impetus to start your brand?
I began my professional career working at a large financial firm in New York City. Almost halfway through, my world changed after I suddenly lost my mother. This loss was incredibly difficult and made me see that life is short, and that I needed work that ignited passion and positivity. I went on a soul-searching journey and, ultimately, I kept revisiting my childhood memories of mixing clean beauty treatments alongside my mother. It was then that I realized I had a deep desire to make a larger impact on the natural beauty world.
Do you have a beauty philosophy? What is it?
It all comes back to the basics. Stay hydrated, eat healthy, get enough sleep, and exercise. It’s the best, most permanent form of being able to maintain your natural beauty and youthfulness.
Where are you from originally? Where do you live now?
I am originally from Long Island, New York and currently live in Miami Beach, Florida.
What does self-care look like in your life?
Self-care has played a big part in my ability to tackle challenges and external forces outside of my control. I root myself in the truth that challenges are only temporary—having and maintaining an optimistic mindset is key. I have established proactive self-care practices such as meditation, yoga, and fitness to keep me stronger and balanced. I also make a point to prioritize the people and friends in my life who lift me up by scheduling after-work dinners or Facetime catch-up sessions. In the midst of these unprecedented times, it’s important that people find what kind of self-care makes them feel happier and healthier from the inside out.
What inspires you most about the beauty landscape and industry today?
When I first set out to create Briogeo twelve years ago, I knew I wanted to make conscious ingredient choices that give all hair types and textures healthy and vibrant results, while also benefiting the health of all people and the planet. I love to see that, across the board, clean beauty is becoming more of an expectation than just a category—meaning brands are prioritizing clean formulas, without unnecessary or harsh ingredients, and ramped-up sustainability efforts. Additionally, I’m thrilled to see a long overdue uptick in retailers prioritizing the diversification of their brand offerings for a more representative community.
What was the biggest challenge in starting your business?
When I first started Briogeo, I didn’t have a network in the beauty world. As I began the process of growing my team, I didn’t have instant access to a pool of well-qualified candidates to tap into, so I made some hiring mistakes early on. It was tough to hire top talent when my business was so small and I hadn’t yet proven myself. This led me to take on so much as the CEO (while also acting as the CMO, CFO, and COO) because I was working on putting the right team in place, which was a huge challenge. Once I scaled my business and Briogeo gained traction in the industry, great candidates started seeking out Briogeo on their own, instead of us having to seek them out.
What has been the biggest win thus far?
One of the most rewarding things about creating this brand has been defying the norms of the beauty industry. Briogeo opens the door for people of all hair textures, hair types, and ethnicities to identify with one singular hair care brand as their own. This has always been an integral part of who we are, so much so that it’s right there in our name. It’s an honor to be a first-mover towards acceptance and inclusivity in hair care.
What would you like to see more of in the beauty industry when it comes to diversity and inclusivity?
While exceptional Black beauty brands have existed long before the recent spotlight on Black-owned businesses, consumers are finally becoming aware and vocal about their desire for a diverse shopping experience. With that, retailers have finally begun listening to the unique needs of Black consumers and making shelf space for Black beauty brands and their powerful stories. As a founder and CEO, I know firsthand that working with large retailers is not a straightforward process, and many new brands may not have the corporate infrastructure to fulfill all those big-business demands. In order to keep inclusivity top of mind, it’s important that retailers support these incoming brands with more education, training, and resources to help ensure they’re set up for success.