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, 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.”

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