Founder of The Brown Crayon Project, a holistic hair/skin care line, Sudanese-American mother of two, Selma Idris aims to empower our youth, one curl, and ego at a time! Certified-organic and all natural, Idris’ line boasts lush, unique and hazardous free products designed for babies and infants of color; guided by the strictest standards and highest quality of ingredients; it’s the first of its kind on the market! After generating a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2015 (raising over $32,000.00) in a month, Selma and her team have since launched the line’s first system and is becoming a fan favorite. From the brand’s appropriately fun name to the universal social responsibility we all share as a community, Selma Idris weighs in on her budding, innovative company and its noble purpose.
What inspired you to create your line of certified-organic and holistic hair care and skin care products for babies and infants?
Motherhood. I needed them.
Why did you name your company “The Brown Crayon Project”? (I personally love the name, especially since it reminds me of how limited the color palettes were growing up as a child)
Thank you. I wanted the name to be simple, straight-forward and speak directly to our kids. The name is about our children ‘seeing’ themselves, drawing their own stories, being included and of course, it is a total bird-flip at the infamous ‘Flesh’ colored crayon of our youth.
There’s a dearth in black-owned business and therefore a dearth of products and services designed for us. So what is lacking in all of this is Us.
As a mother of two, what do you look for in skincare and hair care products for yourself, as well as your children?
I look for seals of accountability, certifications in safety measures and products that have simple ingredients. My family needs products that are packed with moisture-rich, protective natural-ingredients that have a nice texture and smell good.
Do you believe that hair care and skincare companies do not make organic products for babies of color? If so, why/what is the current offering lacking?
I believe that we don’t own enough companies ourselves to service all of our own interests. We cannot expect nor should we want someone else deciding what is best for us or our children. The US is now a minority-majority with African Americans having over a trillion dollars of buying power but making up under 10% of all U.S firms and less than a half percent of all U.S business receipts. There’s a dearth of black-owned business and therefore a dearth of products and services designed for us. So what is lacking in all of this is Us.
What values and qualities do you look for when it comes to these types of products for your children?
Honesty, Clarity, Ownership, and Integrity.
What ingredients are essential for the well-being of babies of color?
Intention, Attention, Excellence, and Love.
What are the products in your hair and skincare line? And what makes your products unique?
Our launch line is designed as a system, a foundation for the hair and skin care of babies, toddlers, and children of color. It is made by us for us and is certified to the highest possible standard. At launch we offer products for:
- Hair + Skin Bath, skin cleansing and hair conditioning
- No Rinse Skin Bath, gentle cleansing you don’t have to rinse-off
- Everyday Skin Whip, super luxe, lightweight face and body cream
- Everyday Hair Food, non-greasy hair love that literally made my girl go ‘whaaat!’ (and high five me till my hand hurt!)
- Wake-Up Hair Mist, our response to bed-head
- Sunday Oil, hair and skin oil for Sunday, you feel me?
Your site says that your products do not contain any sulfates, parabens, phthalates, paraffin, animal ingredients, artificial colors, and so much more potentially hazardous ingredients. How can these ingredients affect babies and infants?
Potentially hazardous ingredients have no place in products we put on our skin, let alone our children’s. Each ingredient is potentially linked to different harmful effects, for example, parabens are neurotoxins that have been linked to reproductive toxicity, hormone disruption, and skin irritation. We know the science and have the technology to source everything we need from nature and should commit to learning how to better reap the rewards of those accomplishments.
Can your products be used on mothers as well?
Of course. I know lots of moms that have added their children’s products into their daily regimens. I can totally relate, my husband and I have done so. A few of our Kickstarter pledges were from single friends who don’t have children but helped me test the Everyday Hair Food and fell in love with it. My husband needed the Sunday Oil in his life and if I’m low on samples, I’ll get dressed in the kids’ room without shame. So, absolutely. Grown-ups can use them too.
Did you wish to achieve any additional goals aside from raising funds after launching The Brown Crayon Project Kickstarter Campaign?
Ultimately, our goal was to begin to engage our community, announce our work, and validate our mission while taking the opportunity to present our children, in their beauty, in their natural state, so that folks could digest that for a moment. We are very happy it was such a success.
How did you feel when you realized that you are the very first certified-organic skin and hair care line for beautiful brown babies and toddlers?! I’m excited for you!!
Thank you. It’s a bit bittersweet. While honored to be able to serve my community, it reminds you of how much work we still have to do. But I’m optimistic and progress begets progress.