Meet Nyakio Grieco: How Kenyan Beauty Secrets Inspired Her New Line


After a recent partnership with Sundial Brands, Nyakio Skincare has launched a brand new skincare line featuring ethically-sourced ingredients and targeted at a global demographic. Founder Nyakio Kamoche Grieco, a first generation American of Kenyan descent, says the inspiration for her eponymous brand came not from celebrities or models, but from her grandparents.

Nyakio Grieco

“When I was eight years old, she taught me to take Kenyan coffee beans, boil them down, add oil, and use sugarcane that grew on her farm,” says Grieco of her grandmother, a coffee farmer. “And that was for the exfoliation cream.” Her grandfather was a medicine man who extracted oils, sparking Grieco's lifelong love for using essential oils in skincare products.

Originally sold on HSN, the beauty line has recently switched to Sundial for ethical sourcing, launching its new line on March 7th.

“I really wanted to have an alignment around community commerce, clean and green ethical sourcing as well as partners whom I felt very aligned with in the way of our similar history," Grieco says.

“I was originally in a licensing deal, and when time came for the license to expire, a lot of the people I was working with were moving on," the entrepreneur says. "At the time I was still selling exclusively my line on HSN, and I was really interested in finding my transition with Sundial and taking my brand to a new home.”

In addition to its all-natural ingredients, another aspect the brand prides itself on is representing the global demographic; it boasts ingredients from 30 countries around the world.

“When we say things like ‘Spanish almond oil,’ that gives the customer the experience that ‘this speaks to me,’ because someone will fall under that heritage from that part of the world,” Grieco tells SWAAY.

The new line, now available on Ulta.com, comprises of 16 products with prices ranging from $22 to $49. And though it features key anti-aging items, it’s marketed for all ages and skin types. The process consists of five steps: restore with nutrient rich oils, cleanse with sweet almond and shea oils, exfoliate with kenyan coffee and chinese rice, moisturize with baobab and red ginseng, and treat with african black soap and chamomile. The company also recently introduced a discovery kit, which consists of a firming face moisturizer, a cleansing oil balm, and a face polish exfoliator, all for an affordable $36.

“I always say, ‘for every 100 noes, you’ll get a maybe, and then maybe a yes.’”

Once, when Grieco was in Greece, she visited a black sand beach, where she ended up storing the black sand in a ziplock bag. “I took it back to my room and used it as an exfoliant, to see if it works,” the founder reveals. And worked it did, eventually becoming an integral part of the skincare line as an exfoliant. Such is the process for the development of the all-natural, ingenious products that comprise the Nyakio skincare line.

The meaning behind the name “Nyakio” is “woman who works hard in the sunshine, and considering her love for travel and dedication to applying herself to her business, is a fitting name both for herself and her brand. While Grieco herself lives in LA, the brand itself is based in Long Island, New York.

Though Sundial represents all the values dear to Grieco's mission, the transition wasn’t without its hurdles. “It was hard, challenging, and it was scary,” says Grieco, a mother of two. But she persevered.

Grieco had to juggle the stresses of family life with managing a business, but she did so gracefully and seamlessly. “I had to pull myself up from the bootstraps, and there were some tears, there was some anxiety. But I knew that if I stayed the course, the right company would find me.” Evidently, she was correct in the prediction. Her brand is flourishing, and has been named by Ulta as one of its bestsellers.

“It’s all about storytelling. Everyone has a story, and my inspiration comes from learning people’s stories and sharing beauty secrets."

“Making this has been a tough experience, but tough experiences make you stronger.”

The company is now in the process of partnering with Girls Inc, a nonprofit organization established to help girls be strong, smart and bold, through afterschool programs on topics in economic literacy, sporting chance, and healthy sexuality.

“As a little girl, I always felt like boys were better at science and math, and to grow up and start this entrepreneurship journey, and realize that I’m actually really good at science and math, it’s an eye-opening experience,” the founder says, and hopes that her success as a female entrepreneur will set a valuable role model for her girls and children around the globe. “I have a little girl and a little boy, and I want to show them that you can figure out what you want to be when you’re 8 and somehow manifest into a career.”

Sweet Almond Cleansing Oil

Looking forward, Grieco has her eyes set on great ambitions. “The world is our oyster,” the bold entrepreneur says. “We have our exclusivity with Ulta in 2017, but I’m really interested in new and innovative ways. Whether that’s going back to selling this brand on TV, or something really different, we’re exploring it all.”

5 min read

3 Healthy Ways to Relieve Stress Each Evening (Instead of Reaching for Another Cocktail)

When we envision a person who is suffering from substance use disorder (SUD)—defined by having a history of past misuse, experiencing increasing mental health symptoms, or having a family history of addiction—we often picture someone waking up and instantly grabbing their first drink. However, in my experience working with those battling SUD for nearly a decade, I've learned that everyone's relationship with alcohol looks different and having a few too many drinks at night can be just as dangerous.

The time of day, amount, or type of alcohol one drinks doesn't define if they suffer from SUD or not—it's the compulsion to drink. By focusing on healthy stress relievers and implementing them into your daily routine, you aren't just avoiding another glass at night, you are curbing any inclination for SUD that you may have.

While you may feel the desire to reach for another drink after dinner and putting the kids to bed to relieve some of the stress you incurred that day, there are other things that you can do that are much more beneficial to your mental health and wellbeing.

Risks of Reaching for Another Drink

Reaching for another cocktail or glass of wine can feel like a great way to relieve the stress of the day at the time, but over time it can actually lead to the opposite. Excessive drinking is known to lead to increased anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders such as increased risk of family problems, altered judgment, and worsened sleep quality. These can all lead to increased stress and create a continuous cycle I have seen in many of my patients, which often prove difficult to break.

Increased alcohol consumption can directly impact an individual's mood and temperament, too. In my patients, I've seen a connection between increased alcohol consumption and irritability, fatigue, and loss of interest in activities that previously brought that person joy—activities that people should always put time into, especially right now during the pandemic.

While drinking in moderation doesn't have serious implications for some, others are already at increased risk for SUD. One drink per day is considered moderate for women, while eight drinks or more in a single week is categorized as heavy drinking. It's important to monitor your intake—whether you are at increased risk for SUD or not. It is all too easy for one glass to become another, and then another. And if you keep reaching for just one more drink, you can start to build a tolerance, as it requires more and more alcohol to achieve the desired effect. This can result in dangerous, addictive habits that will alter your life, and the lives of those who care for you.

Three Healthy Ways to Relieve Evening Stress

Stress relief from alcohol is short-lived, but choosing healthier, alternative stress relievers can provide long-lasting benefits for both your mental and physical wellbeing. At Wellbridge, our team not only focuses on treating addiction but also on teaching healthy habits to support ongoing sobriety. And many of these learnings can be implemented to avoid addiction by handling stress better as well!

Below are three healthy stress relief ideas you can implement into your routine:

  1. Mindfulness exercises can be a powerful and mentally stimulating stress reliever. Throughout our therapeutic program at Wellbridge, we provide different opportunities to cultivate mindfulness. For example, breathing exercises, such as box breathing or diaphragmatic breathing, mindful walking, and progressive muscle relaxation. If you're looking for entry, guided meditation, check out this YouTube channel where experts post mindfulness exercises each week.
  2. Human connection is invaluable. Whether it is your spouse, your children, a friend, or even a therapist, connecting with someone else can be a great way to relieve stress. The additional perspective that another person provides can also help us feel that the anxieties and stressors we are experiencing are more manageable. If you are feeling increased stress from loneliness or isolation, reach out and schedule a Zoom coffee hour with a friend, or call a loved one to check-in and chat.
  3. Physical activity is an excellent stress reliever as well, for so many reasons. Not only can it help us get our mind off of stress, it enables our bodies to release endorphins and provides long-lasting physical health benefits. Physical activity doesn't need to be a full-blown workout if you don't feel up to it, or simply don't have extended periods of time to dedicate to a longer exercise regimen. Even a short walk or some stretching can go a long way towards improving your mood. I enjoy following guided, online yoga practices for both mindfulness practice and physical activity.

Despite my years working in this space, I am no stranger to giving in to stress. However, I've learned that by allotting myself a little time each morning and evening for activities that set a positive tone in my life—like meditation, journaling, and exercise—I've been able to better manage my stress and feel more prepared for heightened periods of stress. Do I manage to set aside personal time every morning and evening? Definitely not—life happens! But by doing our best to take regular time out for ourselves, we're all certain to be in a better place emotionally and mentally.

Putting Your Mental Health & Wellbeing First

It's important to also recognize that it isn't just stress that causes us to reach for another drink at night. With the added pressures and responsibilities of women in today's world, having another glass of our favorite drink at the end of the day can often seem like a quicker and easier option than other healthier ways to relieve stress.

However, it's essential to put your mental health and wellbeing front and center in your priority list—something that many women struggle with. But just like the oxygen masks on an airplane, you can't take care of others if you don't take care of yourself first. By focusing on implementing small, healthy habits and making them a seamless part of your daily routine, you ensure that you can show up in all aspects of your life and for all the people in your life.

If you are struggling with increased stress, be specific and honest with your support system about your need to preserve your mental wellbeing. Prioritizing your needs will help you be there for other people you care about in your life.

I always refer back to a quote from a Dar Williams song—a song about therapy no less! "Oh, how I loved everybody else when I finally got to talk so much about myself." Talk about your needs with others and find time to develop healthy coping habits. And if you feel as though you've already created an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, discuss that relationship with a medical advisor to learn if advanced treatment is the right option for you.