Absolutejoi vs. Buttah Skin: We Tested Two Natural Skincare Products for Melanated Skin

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Written by Adia Carter


Adia Carter

Adia Carter is a pop culture and beauty fanatic with a passion for natural hair products, women-led companies, and clean living. Now six years into her natural hair journey, she’s picked up tips for recognizing power ingredients and hair regimens that promote healthy hair.


Looking for the best natural skincare products for melanated skin? We tested two popular brands and offer our findings below.

Skincare is a popular topic on social media, but there is still a dearth of information on all-natural skin products for melanated skin.

Melanated skin has lower levels of protective ceramides which results in dryer skin.

Skin stressors like acne, hyperpigmentation, and eczema look different on black skin, further highlighting the necessity of better research and ingredients to choose from.

To do my part, I tested two popular natural skincare products geared towards melanated skin, Absolutejoi and Buttah Skin, and published my findings here on LeafScore.

Absolutejoi vs. Buttah Skin

For this article I took on the challenge of reviewing two vegan, black owned skincare brands: Buttah Skin and AbsoluteJoi. My personal experience with skincare has consisted of years of unsuccessful dermatologist visits, skin rashes from popular skin care brands, and a never ending battle with acne scars. Although my skin has found peace with a sensitive skin face wash and moisturizer, I was curious if Buttah Skin or Absolutejoi could assist in a smoother complexion and get rid of my inflammation.

I sampled both products one week each and used them in the morning and at night. 

See also: The best natural hair care products for Afro-textured hair

Buttah Skin

Leaf Score
Buttah Skin products in the wild.

Buttah Skin (View on Amazon) was founded in 2018 by Dorian Renaud. Renaud’s career in the limelight resulted in the relentless search for skincare products that could nourish his skin. His search came to a halt when he discovered the wonders of raw, organic shea butter.

Buttah Skin’s about page highlights shea butter as the key inspiration and ingredient for Buttah Skin. Raw, organic shea butter is one of the few power ingredients that contribute to the company’s, natural, cruelty free, and clinically validated products.

Buttah Skin products include skincare and body care, but they are most known for their impressive skincare research. Amongst the other tabs on the website, including shopping, press, reviews, a fun skincare quiz, Buttah Skin includes an impressive clinical study that measures participants’ success with the products. The study includes a pie graph and breakdown that shows exactly how the products helped according to complexion. 

This research urged me to immediately try Buttah Skin myself. As someone with a combination of oily and sensitive skin, I decided to start simple with Buttah Skin’s Gentle Cleanser and Rosewater Toner. The cleanser uses a concoction of coconut oil and lavender oil extract which is expected to balance and hydrate the skin. The cleanser is also lightweight, clear in color, and lathers nicely when rubbed together under water. My initial thought about the cleanser is that it was incredibly soothing and my skin felt very soft. 

Next, the Rosewater Toner was the perfect follow up to the cleanser, as it contains aloe vera, vitamin E, rose water, and salicylic acids. This combination of ingredients helps the skin balance excess oil, unclog pores, and add additional hydration. The toner provided a baggie of cotton pads to easily apply the toner onto the skin. Unlike toner’s I’ve tried in the past, the Rosewater Toner didn’t leave my skin feeling stripped and patchy from the first use. My skin felt clean and moisturized without a greasy sensation. There was a slight tingle in my skin but once I followed up with my Cetaphil moisturizer, it went away. 

After the one week period, the texture of my skin felt smoother, but in the following week I noticed the toner began to irritate me around my t-zone. I had a slight breakout on my forehead, but the overall texture of my skin was smoother. 

My Buttah Skin test results

I tested the Buttah Skin moisturizer and toner for one week.

What we like

  • Extensive research
  • Organic ingredients

What could be better

  • Toner irritated skin over time
  • Could be too oily for some skin types

Shop Buttah Skin Products


Leaf Score
My lineup of Absolutejoi products.

Dr. Anne Beal’s motivation to create Absolutejoi (View on Amazon) came to her when she was living in Paris with her daughters. Through her own research, Dr. Beal found that 70% of women of color struggle to find mainstream skincare products that work for their skin. This prompted Dr. Beal to focus on creating an inclusive skincare brand with simple yet effective ingredients for radiant skin. 

A huge part of Dr. Beal’s goal was to reduce inflammation and damage that contributes to hyperpigmentation in melanin rich skin. On the Absolutejoi website, the about page goes in great detail to explain how melanin rich skin is affected differently, and the simplistic method Absolutejoi products use. The website includes a skincare blog with articles focused on tips to treating skin, and of course the shopping tab with the collection of products Absolutejoi has. 

The product collection is small with three package bundles that include cleansing oil,foam cleanser, toner, moisturizer, and a refining night oil. Each product can also be bought individually. After the success with Buttah Skin, I had high expectations for Absolutejoi’s products, especially given Dr. Beal’s extensive background. 

I decided to go with the Ultimate Double Cleansing kit that includes a foam cleanser, toner, and oil cleanser. In the past I’ve used oil cleansers to experiment with Korean skincare. The oil and cleanser are a powerful duo that ensure getting rid of excess makeup and dirt that single cleansers don’t always succeed with. Absolutejoi’s oil and foam gel cleanser only added to the hype. Both products are free from parabens, sulfates, and fragrances that a lot of popular skincare brands use. 

The Sunflower and Moringa oil cleanser is inspired by Japanese and Korean skincare and uses the calming essences of sunflower seed oil and moringa oil. I applied the oil directly onto my dry face and gently worked the oil into my skin. Then, I wet my face and went in with the Hydrating Gel Foam Cleanser. After wetting my face, I lathered the foam cleanser in my hands and onto my face. The light suds worked well to clean the remaining oil cleanser, and my face felt soft and moisturized afterwards. The website explains that the foam gel cleanser is pH balancing and ideal for all skin types. 

Lastly, I followed up with the Balancing pH Face Toner with Aloe. This toner includes hyaluronic acid and calming oat that helps sensitive skin. It doesn’t use alcohol making it the ideal product for sensitive skin. My first impression of the toner was that it was surprisingly thicker in texture than I expected. The consistency was very similar to the oil cleanser. Once I applied the toner on my skin, I was stunned at how smooth it transferred to my skin. I patted it onto my skin with a cotton pad, then lightly tabbed the excess in with the pads of my fingers.  There was no tingly sensation or itchiness. After one week of using the product, I could visibly see the redness around my t-zone minimizing. Moreover, the previous breakout from Buttah Skin went away on the third day and my skin felt extremely soft and smooth.

My Absolutejoi test results

I tested Absolutejoi’s PH Toner, Hydrating cleanser, and Sunflower and Moringa cleanse oil for one week.

What we like

  • Soothed skin inflammation
  • Simple, organic ingredients

What could be better

  • Using 3 separate products requires work, money, and time

Shop Absolutejoi Skincare Products

My winner and final thoughts

While Buttah Skin and Absolutejoi have cracked the code on natural skincare, I personally found Absolutejoi’s simplistic ingredients and use of an oil cleanser to be better suited for my oily, sensitive, acne prone skin.

I believe the soothing sunflower oil in the oil cleanser pairs well with the foam cleanser and toner because they work to soothe inflammation. Buttah Skin still is an incredible skincare brand, but the rosewater toner scent could be too strong for sensitive skin. Rosewater of course is a powerful ingredient for oily skin and can still be used in your routine with a balance of calming oils. 

Melanin rich skincare no longer has to be a difficult journey.

As more black owned, sustainable companies contribute to quality research and products, melanated skin care will flourish. Our skincare can be easy and benefit our skin in plenty of ways as we invest in sustainable skincare and develop healthy regimens that result in even healthier skin.

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