This Afro-Puerto Rican-Owned Vegan Nail Polish Brand Is For Women Of Color Who Dare To Live Without Shame

credit: Angela Hill, CGH

Afro-Puerto Rican business owner Regina Bultrón Bengoa is bringing a much-needed pop of color to vegan beauty products with Selenia Beauty, a hand-made, cruelty-free nail polish brand for women who dare to live without shame.

Motivated by her grandmother’s love for poppin’ nails and a desire to “be as free as possible,” she launched her small, Brooklyn, New York-based beauty company on May 12 with the goal of offering “non-conformist, disruptive, provocative and supportive” women of color with a healthier nail polish brand that celebrates them.

Selenia Beauty’s six vibrant summer-ready colors aren’t toxic to your nails, because all of its products are 10-free, meaning they don’t contain harmful ingredients like formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, camphor, formaldehyde resin and xylene and don’t have parabens, fragrances, phthalates or animal ingredients.

“With Selenia, I want to honor the unf*ckwithable tribe of sisters I’ve earned throughout my journey and all the other​ ​warrior​ ​womxn that have paved the way for us to​ ​enjoy our birthright to BE,” Bultrón Bengoa notes on her website. “By creating each nail polish one by one, and utilizing the least chemicals possible, Selenia aims to promote a beauty culture centered in​ self-love and self-care.”

(Photo Credit: Angela Hill, CGH)

While some vegan nail polishes can cost up to $25, Bultrón Bengoa is intentional about offering clean products that are also reasonably priced — each polish is just $12 — so that her community can enjoy them.

“Our people are constantly denied access to healthier options in this country. We see it all the time when our communities are systematically deprived of healthy and nutritious foods. I will always make sure Selenia’s Beauty products are accessible, especially to my communities that have supported me and inspired me since day one,” Bultrón Bengoa, 32, told FIERCE.

Affordability, beauty and quality packaging are so important to Bultrón Bengoa that she actually mixes all the colors in small batches and bottles them up herself.

Bultrón Bengoa’s love for her community and dedication to creating products that are safe and affordable is also a way to honor the namesake of her company, her grandmother Selenia.

(Photo Credit: Angela Hill, CGH)

“My grandmother Selenia was a Black Puerto Rican that, just like all her siblings, were devoted to style, neatness and fashion. My grandmother was very special to me. She was my best friend. We were cómplices. She would take me everywhere and would hook me up with my favorite candies behind my mom’s back. I want to honor my grandmother and promote a wave of fearless womxn that are not afraid to not conform to what society expects from them,” Bultrón Bengoa told us.

With no formal industry training, Bultrón Bengoa’s passion for beauty and creating is a familial characteristic. “Some of [my grandmother’s siblings] became seamstress and tailors, so they could make each other fashionable and unique clothes,” she said. Channeling her ancestors, she got to work, researching the nail polish field in order to launch a brand she was proud of.

“I learned online, reading one book that was available, and asking one or two nail polish makers that were kind enough to share their knowledge with me. Then at my workshop, I experiment and create the recipes for my colors, mixing different micas and concentrates until I get the colors I have in mind,” she said.

The line includes colors like “Bachata Rose,” one of the hottest pinks you’ll see this season, while “Unbothered” gives all the Celia Cruz vibes with its beautiful attention-grabbing yellow hues. “Thickums” is a bright orange that guarantees to make the undertones of your melanin pop under the searing sun, while the ocean-like teal of “La Eufemia” reminds us of a refreshing piragua on a hot summer day — whether you’re strutting down the shores of Playa Luquillo or running to catch your train, this one will assure you the summer is yours.

(Photo Credit: Angela Hill, CGH)

Being an Afro-Latina business owner in a homogenous market like vegan beauty products can be intimidating, but Bultrón Bengoa truly believes that “fear is a misuse of your imagination” and that calling on your own personal history and giving back can be huge sources of motivation.

Bultrón Bengoa’s hopes for Selenia Beauty are “to be able to provide an opportunity for womxn to have relevant and empowering conversations through my nail polishes. That when you cross paths with a Selenia Beauty nail polish bottle and you read the name or the story behind it, you see yourself somehow, and you walk away with something that adds to your own personal journey.”

You can read more about Selenia Beauty and see all of their summer-perfect hues at www.seleniabeauty.com and on Instagram.

Read: This Cubana-Owned Eyeshadow Palette Has All The Tropical Shades You’ll Want To Rock This Summer

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