Beauty Uniform: Emily Cunningham of True Moringa

By Mary, CN Body Care Buyer & The Naturalist Contributor

If there’s one thing I can’t live without it’s oils. Maybe I’m exaggerating, maybe I’m not. Be it olive oil on all of my food, argan oil on tired hair, or rosehip oil on my face, I require lots of this silky goodness. Even more so during the harsh New England winter, when the wind off the Charles wants to whip away all the moisture on my face with each harsh gust.

Earlier this month, I interviewed Emily Cunningham, co-founder of True Moringa, an award-winning clean beauty brand powered by cold-pressed moringa oil. Moringa oil can penetrate very deep into the skin to support moisture retention and strengthen hair health.

True Moringa works directly with over 2300 farming families in Ghana to increase incomes by 10x, and has planted over 270,000 trees to prevent deforestation and malnutrition. Read on to learn more about Emily’s beauty rituals and the start of this amazing company.

How did you first become interested in using more natural beauty/body care products?

My co-founder Kwami Williams and I first learned about the moringa tree when we traveled to Brong-Ahafo, Ghana in 2012 through a program at MIT called D-Lab. NGOs had encouraged farmers to plant the moringa tree for its nutritional value (gram-for-gram, the dried leaves have more iron than spinach, more calcium than milk, and more protein than eggs!). However, there wasn't really an economic incentive to cultivate the tree, so communities were losing interest. I studied development economics, and my co-founder Kwami had studied aerospace engineering, and together with the farming families in the community we worked to turn the oil seeds (rich in antioxidants and moisturizing fatty acids) into an all-purpose hair and skincare oil that we could introduce to the global market. To be honest, we didn't know much about the world of natural beauty and body care until then! Once I was back in the states learning more about the industry and the properties of natural oils and natural ingredients, I learned how harmful common beauty and body care products can be, and how backward our thinking is about oils. It completely transformed my skincare routine.

What’s your daily skincare routine? Does this change with the seasons?

I try to keep it fairly simple - I wash my face with True Moringa Simplicity All-Purpose Facial & Body Oil (no soap or cleanser) and apply a few extra drops of oil to seal in moisture before patting my face dry. My skin tends to stay the same throughout the seasons, but many of our customers will apply our oil more frequently to drier skin and add our toners to their facial routines in warmer weather.  

Do you wear makeup?

Almost never!

How do you typically style your hair?

I have curly hair, so I usually just wash it and let it air dry. I love Alaffia shampoo and Deva Curl Conditioner followed by (surprise!) moringa oil.

Do you have a nighttime routine?

I keep the same facial care routine at night, but when I have time for extra long showers, I love Organic Bath Co's Drenched Body Butter after shaving!

How do your self care and beauty rituals change while traveling?

The great thing about a dry natural oil like moringa is its versatility - I bring a 2oz bottle of moringa oil with me while traveling and it serves as my facial cleanser, moisturizer, hair conditioner, cuticle oil, and makeup remover.  

Emily and her business partner Kwami Williams

Emily and her business partner Kwami Williams

What has inspired or continues to inspire your beauty uniform?

Simplicity and being kind to my hair and skin! I try to keep both moisturized and healthy to prevent premature aging.

When do you feel most beautiful?

When I'm well-rested and have been consistently exercising and drinking water! We tend to underestimate the importance of all of those things in our skincare routines.

What are your top three Cambridge Naturals products?

I love Ajiri Tea - for the taste, the amazing packaging and the social mission, Dr. Bronner's Castile soap (the structure of their company is a huge inspiration), and our sister brand Minga Food's Peppermint Moringa Tea!

Thank you so much for sharing your story and your beauty uniform with us! For more, follow @truemoringa on instagram.