Humanrace Focuses on Easy, Sustainable Wellness When It Comes to Taking Care of Your Skin

By Rakhee Bhatt

Simplicity is the key that can unlock a lot of the good things in life. For Humanrace, it’s this philosophy that is the brand’s cornerstone when it came to creating a gender-neutral skincare line for the face and body that is accessible to all.

Founded by Pharrell Williams — record producer, rapper, singer, and songwriter extraordinaire as well as soon-to-be Louis Vuitton mens creative director — Humanrace was born out of his own wellness journey and the belief that taking better care of oneself in mind, body, and spirit can teach us how to take better care of each other. Launched in 2020 with his longtime dermatologist of over two and a half decades, Dr. Elena Jones, Humanrace focuses on how their products make people feel when they use them, wear them, and see them in their homes just as equally as the function and quality.

“My first memories of beauty were watching the matriarchs of my family (my mother, grandmother, and aunt) take care of their skin,” says Dr. Jones. “They followed simple routines of cleansing and moisturizing, and they wore little to no makeup.”

Taking this simple approach, Pharrell and Dr. Jones wanted to make it easy for people to commit to their personal well-being. By utilizing formulations that are vegan, fragrance-free, cruelty-free, and made without the 1,300 skincare ingredients deemed unsafe by the European Union, the duo started with a three-step facial comprised of a cleanser, exfoliant, and moisturizer. From this essential foundation, they grew the brand to include body care, sun care, and home good products.

A key component for Humanrace is rooted in sustainable packaging that is refillable and recyclable, thereby helping to reduce packaging waste. Such incremental methods that the brand employs include adopting a foil-sealing process that eliminates 1,200 single-use plastic caps per hour during production.

Here, we chat with Dr. Jones, who is board certified, on what it’s like formulating Humanrace with Pharrell, her beauty philosophy, and where she likes to go to for some self-care.  

Get To Know – Dr. Elena Jones

How did you get involved with Humanrace?
Pharrell has been a patient of mine for more than 25 years. He approached me about five years ago wanting to capture his skincare routine and skin health philosophy in a line of his own. 

Do you have a beauty philosophy? What is it? 
My beauty philosophy is to love yourself, for beauty comes in all hues, shapes, and sizes. And simplify your skincare routine and focus on your skin health.

Where are you from originally? Where do you live now?
I am a New Yorker (Harlem). One who left NYC for college and med school, but one who returned to be close to family. I presently live in New Jersey.

What are some early beauty influences?
My early beauty influences were my mother, grandmother, and aunt. They were simply elegant, classy, and always the best dressed in the latest fashions of the time. I grew up during the era when the mantras "I'm Black and I'm proud" and "Black is beautiful" were not only loudly professed but also truly embodied in lifestyle and fashion, but unfortunately lacking in skincare, makeup, and access to dermatology.

What does self-care look like in your life? 
Self-care for me is being able to take a moment to pause, reflect, and escape to a pristine white sand beach with clear turquoise water.

What inspires you most about the beauty landscape today? 
Inclusivity and diversity of product lines is what inspires me most about today's beauty landscape.

What has been the biggest learning in being a founding member Humanrace?Being a founding member of Humanrace has afforded me many opportunities to learn. My biggest learning has been watching the line grow from an idea, to the many iterations of testing and adhering to strict EU standards, to the finalized product line. I am a detail-oriented person, but we have been beyond detail oriented in ensuring that we create the most efficacious and effective products.

What has been the biggest win thus far?
Creating a line that is for all genders, all skin types, and all hues where people see a beneficial difference in their skincare is the biggest win.

What would you like to see more of in the beauty industry when it comes to diversity and inclusivity?
The beauty industry needs to continue to include, promote, and hire equally in every aspect of beauty —from cosmetic chemists, manufacturers, distributors, marketers, advertisers, influencers, and proprietors. It’s important that the industry reflects the diversity we are celebrating.

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