The Scoop: Those with troubled skin often feel self-conscious when they have a breakout, hyperpigmentation, or other issues. It can be especially troubling on dates when they want to feel confident and beautiful. Base Butter was developed by two friends who wanted to make natural, healthy products that nourish skin and are accessible to everyone. The company’s popular face jelly aims to help customers feel great in their own skin, and Base Butter plans to launch more natural products soon.

Growing up, She’Neil Johnson Spence dealt with many embarrassing breakouts and hyperpigmentation that resulted from her acne.

“It was hard to always be confident in my skin, but I just wanted to feel comfortable enough to walk out of my house without having to put makeup on,” she said. “I realized that wasn’t just my experience, but a lot of other people’s experience, too.”

That’s why She’Neil and her best friend from college, Nicolette Graves, decided to develop a solution for their ongoing issue of oily, broken-out skin, which was especially challenging when they went out on dates. After they graduated from Howard University, they moved to New York City and started researching and brainstorming.

As a result of their work, the pair co-founded Base Butter to develop natural products and promote healthier skin.

The Base Butter logo

Base Butter products are made from natural ingredients to nourish skin.

They discovered that all of the products they had used in the past weren’t good for their skin. The scrubs, retinols, exfoliants, and benzoyl peroxides often did more harm than good. So they decided to focus on ways to improve and simplify their skin care regime.

“All our skin needed was some tender loving care,” She’Neil said. “After using those harsh products, we came up with our Base Butter products.”

They started selling a face jelly with aloe vera, which was an immediate hit, and expanded into other natural products, including sustainable makeup removing cloths. Base Butter offerings are non-comedogenic, dermatologist-tested, paraben-free, vegan, and cruelty-free.

The business combines She’Neil’s passion for beauty and fashion with Nicolette’s focus on wellness and connecting customers with the right skin care products.

On a Mission to Teach People How to Nourish and Protect Their Skin

Base Butter launched in 2016, and the company recently expanded its team. Today, Nicolette and She’Neil are joined by three other members who work remotely. Nicolette focuses on product development. She’Neil works as the CEO, and her mother was recently hired as the marketing director.

Their social media manager, Morgan, was one of the first models the friends used when starting the company.

She’Neil said Base Butter has created a personality profile of its typical customer, who they call Nege. That’s an acronym for “Nothing Ever Good Enough.” Base Butter’s typical customer is in their late 20s, busy, and successful. Like She’Neil, they may have struggled in high school with acne and then oily skin, and now they’re managing hormonal breakouts. They’re looking for a simple solution.

Photo of Base Butter Co-Founders She'Neil Johnson Spence and Nicolette Graves

Base Butter Co-Founders She’Neil Johnson Spence, left, and Nicolette Graves continue to innovate in the skin care industry.

“They’re looking for a few good products that will work all the time,” She’Neil said. “They tried everything, including all the newest products influencers promised. Now, they just want a quality product.”

The team knows its users so well because it often speaks with customers through social media. The team has done a significant amount of research over the last three years to identify more specific skin care problems that the company can help with.

Base Butter wants to make skin care easy while envisioning a world where everyone can feel protected, comfortable, and relaxed on dates. It accomplishes that by informing customers about the products that work and sharing research and educational resources.

Face Jellies and Makeup Remover Cloths are Popular

The first product Base Butter launched was its Radiate Face Jelly, an aloe vera gel face moisturizer. The company founders knew it would be popular when it raised $10,000 through a crowdfunding campaign to sell the product.

The face jelly has a water-like base and is ideal for oily and combination complexions. It is compatible with most skin types. Its natural, vegan ingredients include aloe leaf juice, evening primrose oil, lavender and tea tree essential oils, and witch hazel water that easily absorbs into skin without leaving a greasy residue. Many customers use it as a base for additional products and makeup.

Photo of Radiate Face Jelly

Base Butter’s Radiate Face Jelly is one of its most popular products.

In an online testimonial, one customer, Amirah, wrote: “I never knew how awful my previous products were until I was introduced to Base Butter. I noticed a huge difference after the third day. My skin is super-sensitive, and I have eczema on certain spots of my face. Since using this product, the eczema has cleared up and no more flare-ups. My skin is literally glowing.”

Another customer, Krystal, said the moisturizer is the best she’s found for her acne-prone, oily skin.

“I was skeptical at first, but this moisturizer is the best one I have ever tried,” she wrote in an online testimonial. “My skin feels great, balanced, and smoother. I’m never going back to the other products.”

The next product the company brought to market was its Sustainable Makeup Remover Cloths. She’Neil said the microfiber cloths, sold in a set of three, are often used for pre-cleansing because the fibers lift up dirt that’s on the skin. That helps customers get a deeper clean for a healthier glow.

Base Butter Aims to Launch New Items Soon

Base Butter’s popular products have led to the company’s rapid growth and will soon lead to even more innovation. She’Neil said the company is excited to research and develop new skin care products to help customers feel their best on date nights, special occasions, or simply every day. She expects three new products to launch soon.

“Our goal is to continue to live out our mission to make skin care easy,” She’Neil said. “We focus on skin care problems and address the struggles people have.”

She added that she loves hearing from customers because it means she isn’t alone with the issues she’s had with her own skin health over the years.

“I felt alone when I went through my own struggles but building a community has helped me feel more confident in my skin,” She’Neil told us. “People can feel comfortable about talking about their skin and imperfections. It makes me feel more confident when I see my customers feeling more confident, even sharing selfies of themselves with our product and no makeup.”

Now, Base Butter customers can save money by signing up for subscriptions to its most popular products.

She’Neil said that customers who regularly use products that protect and nourish their skin can be less self-conscious on dates and feel more confident and beautiful.

“These products will protect your skin, so you don’t have to feel like you have to cover up imperfections,” she said. “The best thing you put forward is what you love and care for. It’s what’s inside that matters.”