Bluefield Associates’ current focus on skincare was determined by the observant eyes of its founder, who early on in his career recognized a gap in the ethnic personal care industry.
Despite the company’s current, category-leading role and global distribution, skin care was not always the focus of the Founder. Upon graduating from college in 1980, his career began with exporting American hair care products to Africa.
Traveling for business between the US and Africa not only offered multiple networking opportunities with beauty business experts, but also served as an unexpected introduction and education of the needs of the African consumer. It is during this time that he gained insight on another, unmet opportunity: to develop “a mass-market skin care line that would address the peculiarities of people with dark skin,” he says.
Armed with this insight, the Founder set to work, teaming with renowned dermatologists and chemists culled from African and European medical communities. Their task was multi-faceted: To define characteristics of ethnic skin, determine its primary concerns, and develop scientifically-backed formulations delivering real solutions to people of color.
The results of this two-continent project shed light on particular skin concerns and problems of dark-skinned individuals, including uneven skin tone, excessive oiliness, dryness, blemishes and razor bumps. The acquisition of this targets information les to the foundation of Bluefield Associates, Inc, and the development of the Clear Essence brand, as chemists and laboratories began to manufacture and test products.
While the company currently commands a 40,000-square-foot facility, boasting an impressive distribution network extending across six continents, the company was founded in 1989 as a sole proprietorship exporting Afro-Cosmetics to Nigeria. In 1992, the 14-SKU Clear Essence Skin Care System was born, launching in select countries within Africa, Europe and the Caribbean. This move secured Bluefield Associates’ stronghold in the world of ethnic skin care, paving the way for many more years of growth.
The Clear Essence brand’s mission is to “provide men and women of color worldwide a complete skin care system that satisfies their skin care concerns, at affordable prices in the industry.”
In order to meet this goal, the company still places strong emphasis on its research and development initiatives. Sourcing professionals from cosmetic dermatology, therapeutic, and holistic skin care backgrounds, as well as remaining highly attuned to medical research breakthroughs by the California science community, the company credits its scientific focus with the effectiveness of its Clear Essence skin care products.
Besides its expertise in skin, Bluefield R&D personnel also investigate future ingredients, looking toward plant-based ingredients native to Africa and Asia. For example, it currently is partnering with a botanical research facility in Cameroon to enhance the Clear Essence product lines.
Aside from future enhancements, R&D research has landed some high-impact, natural materials that have already become key ingredients in its products. For example, lactic acid, a water-soluble liquid present in sour milk and various fruits, is utilized in the company’s Alpha Hydroxy Collection for mature skin types. An ancient secret held by Egyptian Queen Cleopatra, who is known to have used sour milk in her beauty treatment, lactic acid accelerates skin regeneration, dead cell removal and keeps the top layer of skin soft and radiant. Clear Essence also adds the ingredient hydroquinone to the mix, which has been proven to fade dark spots and correct skin discoloration.
Its science-first approach to formulating skincare products and sourcing impactful ingredients is what sets the Clear Essence brand apart from others in its field. While newcomers have joined the growing ethnic skincare market in recent times, it is Bluefield Associates who possesses a long history of proven success, standing on the shoulders of more than 20 years of highly-targeted, scientific research.