“We are all naturally beautiful,” Julissa Bermudez, founder of republica skin tells Thirteen Lune. “My beauty philosophy has always been about enhancing and playing up your favorite features,” she says. This is the founding principle of the brand, which is also inspired by the Caribbean—specifically the Dominican Republic.

“Love the skin you are in and get playful with it. 

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An avid beauty and skincare lover raised in Queens, New York, Bermudez has always been acutely aware of how her skin is impacted by various changes in environment and travel. “I noticed the difference in my skin when I was in my native Dominican Republic, compared to the other harsher climates such as New York, which made my skin feel dry, flaky, and ashy,” Bermudez explains.

While in the Caribbean, her skin felt hydrated, nourished, and glowing, but she couldn’t find products in the beauty aisle that helped her achieve this complexion and texture when away from the Dominican Republic. From this predicament, the concept of republica skin was born—a skincare brand that embraces Bermudez’ roots and the way her skin feels while in the Caribbean climate.

“Our hero product is the Sugar Body Polish, with the primary ingredient being sugarcane, a natural resource found on the island, which will make your skin feel as if you are in the beautiful Caribbean all year-long,” Bermudez says. 

Now, Bermudez realizes the important role that republica skin plays in the beauty space, especially since brands have historically ignored a broad range of consumers when marketing and creating products. “Being a founder of color, I recognized that I wasn’t just making a product to represent my Latinidad, I was making a product that can be enjoyed by all ethnicities, because we are all deserving of great skin care for your face and body,” she says. 

“It’s important that the industry recognizes the beautiful diversity of our world today and make a conscious effort to include all skin tones whenever they launch a brand.”

GET TO KNOW – Julissa Bermudez

What were some of your first memories of beauty growing up? What are some early beauty influences?

It’s interesting that I am in the beauty space, because I grew up as a tomboy, surrounded by three older brothers. I always enjoyed watching my mom get ready whenever she left the house, and she was so good at always making sure she felt and looked her best, which inspired me to begin exploring my own beauty routines. Being in many hair and makeup chairs throughout my career as a television host and actress, I learned so much from these amazing makeup artists and I began experimenting and playing with my own makeup looks. As I began to share my beauty look of the day on social media whenever I was on set, I would always get asked about my skincare routine and makeup routine. Before I even realized it, I was building my influence in the beauty and skincare community. 

What does self-care look like in your life?

For me, self-care is a daily occurrence, whether it's putting products in my hair that nourish while also doing protective hairstyles, and using republica on a daily basis because it’s that gentle to keep my skin hydrated and glowing. Most importantly, self-care for me is about finding time every day to care for my skin. 

What inspires you most about the beauty landscape and industry today?

What inspires me the most is the advancement in technology, specifically in the clean beauty space, which I feel that growing up was not something I thought much about. It's exciting to see the effort that brands are putting in today towards sustainable packaging and sourcing quality ingredients at achievable price points.

What has been the biggest challenge in starting your business?

Making sure that whatever I was going to put my name behind was going to be of quality. So I spent so much time and care on the research and development of the ingredients, and above all I wanted to make a great product and not just slap my name on something. I spent a great deal of time looking for the right lab, the right partners that understood my vision for creating legacy high-quality products. 

What has been the biggest win thus far?

The customer feedback, such as when people write to me and say how much they love it and how much it’s transformed my skin. I have many customers that have shared their personal skin struggles, such as eczema, and it’s rewarding to know that they are able to use the Sugar Polish. As sensitive as their skin may be, they are able to enjoy republica skin all year-long.

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