Leah Sparks went looking for personal care products that didn't harm her skin or her wallet. When she didn't find something she liked or could afford, she made her own.
Leah Sparks
Credit: Courtesy

The founder of Lujo Skin, Leah Sparks, created her own beauty line after she went looking for products that didn't damage her skin or her wallet without much luck. "I started Lujo for myself after looking on the market for organic skin care products. I did research on different ingredients and realized that a lot of products that are sold in stores contain either harmful ingredients or they're just ridiculously expensive," she tells People CHICA. "I decided to start making my own organic skin care [line] for myself and eventually ended up giving some samples and passing [them] along to family and friends. I got really good feedback. From there it kind of just blossomed into what it is today."

Sparks' enterprise got a boost when she showcased her products alongside her artwork in a 2019 show in Boston. "I used the money I made from selling those products, reinvested it into getting logos and stuff and then just seeing how the next round sold," she recalls. "Once they started selling, I kind of [said:] 'Okay, I think more can come of this'. I set a budget for myself to invest into the business, made an official website and had more inventory... and [today] continue to grow the product line."

Her favorite is the Sparks Serum ($18), which is her first product and still a best seller, for people who suffer from eczema, psoriasis and acne scars. The serum includes ingredients like hemp seed, jojoba, rose hip and avocado oils and turmeric powder. Other popular products are the Diamante Eye Brightening Elixir, the French Pink Clay Facial Exfoliant and the CLEANSE Face Wash. All products (priced between $16-$22) have ingredients like aloe, frankincense, glycerin and castile soap base. As she continues to expand her line, Sparks hopes to add other products for her customers to incorporate into their skin care routines. "I'm actually working on changing the clay face mask — changing the formula to improve it," she says. " I always wanted to do a jelly mask, like a gel-like substance for hydration, so I'm working on that right now. It's going to be hopefully coming by June and I'm really excited about that."

Having to do it on her own has been a process for Sparks, who has learned to listen to any feedback she receives in order to improve the line. "Now that I'm more in tune with the business side of it and [with everything related to] customer feedback and target audience, I definitely put in a lot more time and thought into the products," she explains. "The ingredients have always been at the forefront, quality ingredients. But now when it comes to marketing on Instagram or even just on the website, I take a lot of time to test the products and do small focus groups to get customer feedback."

Sparks also proudly embraces her Puerto Rican roots, a pride she uses to fuel her drive to grow Lujo Skin. "I'm very proud of my culture... showing that a Latina can do it" she says. " It's nice to come full circle, to come from where I do and be successful and be that role model for other young Latinas. It's definitely motivated me to keep going to be a role model for others like myself. Also just knowing the wage gaps for Latinas in our country makes me want to work harder, to be more independent and do my own thing and make my own money for myself."

The Massachusetts native is growing her business while working a 9-to-5 job as a youth counselor and hopes to make Lujo Skin her full-time gig some day. "I just want for my business to be self-sustaining, to be able to work for myself and make my own money and reach out to more communities like mine to share my story," she says. "I still want it to stay true to it being a smaller, local business. But eventually, I want it to grow a little bit and be out there in the world."