Khadidja Toure has a lot to be proud of, including the fact that she’s a successful entrepreneur and a biomedical engineer by day. But at one point, there was something Toure wasn’t so proud of that greatly altered her confidence: her skin.
“I struggled with horrible acne for most of my teenage years and most of my adult life. It was something that made me self-conscious,” she said to us over email. “While everyone else was phasing out of the teenage acne years, I was still suffering from horrible skin as an adult. I reached a point where enough was enough.”
Looking to have enviably smooth skin, Toure tried to create a routine for herself by defining her problems and going for whatever products were recommended to address those issues.
“I wanted to start investing in my skin, so like many people, I started buying products that were advertised for my skin issues. For years, my skin did not improve,” she said. “I became more obsessed with getting results, which ultimately continued to foster my insecurities.”
But aside from making her uncomfortable with her skin, Toure found herself also inspired. She did her research and traveled the world seeking out some of the best products for her skin type, and that of others.
“This journey inspired me to launch my skincare line to help people find comfort and confidence within their skin,” she said.
And that’s how she ended up launching her line, Kubra Kay Skincare, launched last summer, which has something for everyone — including men. Following the release of her latest product, the Purifying Duo cleanser ($14.99), we talked to Toure about the inspiration behind Kubra Kay, the mission, and why a biomedical engineer is the best person to formulate beauty products for our community’s complicated skin.
MadameNoire: First and foremost, how does a biomedical engineer delve into the beauty industry? What is your day to day like balancing your work with your skincare line?
Khadidja Toure: My background as a biomedical engineer brings a unique perspective to the beauty industry. My understanding of chemistry and the human body helps me to make informed decisions with skincare ingredients and product formulation. I also like to think that my background allows me to look at the industry, not through the eyes of a beauty guru, but as an everyday consumer looking to solve problems for everyday people.
Do you plan, no matter the success of Kubra Kay, to continue your work as a biomedical engineer?
My goal would be to work on Kubra Kay full time, but It is hard to part with the work I do as an engineer.
What’s the inspiration behind the name?
My mom came up with the name Kubra Kay. Kubra in Arabic means “the great.” This honorific was given to Khadīja bint Khuwaylid who was known for her kindness, strong business acumen, and her love for giving back. What she stood for is a true inspiration and since we share the same name, I decided to name the business with that sentiment in mind. Kay is my nick name!
How did your own journey with your skin play into how you went about formulating the ingredients in Kubra Kay Skincare?
I decided to take a new approach. Instead of blindly trusting reviews, recommendations, and advertising, I started researching ingredients. This research led me to travel the world. I went to over 25 countries to learn about different ingredients and skincare practices that I could incorporate into my routine. By changing small things in my skincare routine, I was finally able to achieve the results that I had wanted for years! I wanted to share this knowledge with as many people as I could!
Can you speak to the travels you took before launching your line last year and the role they played in how you’ve decided to execute your line?
Traveling the world and learning about different skin practices and methodologies changed how I approach and look at skincare. Traveling has expanded my understanding of how best to maximize ingredients by how they are formulated and applied. This knowledge has allowed us to deliver products made from quality ingredients, focused on maximum absorption, for the utmost benefit of our consumers’ skin.
You’ve started with a cleanser and makeup pads. What’s next?
The next project launching is a full-body game changer – stay tuned for more!
As more beauty lines continue to come out, including Black-owned ones, what sets Kubra Kay apart?
What sets Kubra Kay apart is our mission and purpose. In everything that we do, these pillars remain as the foundation for what and how we deliver: Kubra Kay is a people-inspired skincare company, with a hyper-focus on improving the perception of beauty and its effects on people’s confidence. Our purpose is to improve people’s confidence by empowering them to care for and feel confident in their natural skin. Skin expectations are often measured against the filtered and edited online world where skin has no texture, pores, and pimples. Kubra Kay is working to shift the perception of what healthy skin looks like. We are committed to helping consumers improve the health and appearance of their skin in the real world. We also strive in educating people to make the right buying decisions based on their skin. Skincare is complex. At Kubra Kay Skincare, we aim to educate our community in skincare techniques and ingredients to simplify their buying decisions, and improve the outcomes of their skincare routines.