“I’m a firm believer in representation across the board, and when it comes to beauty, it’s so much deeper,” says Rivera. “Beauty in many ways is the gatekeeper to the relationship we have with ourselves. And for women, and I would say for women of color in particular, we have been taught by the media for decades that in order to be considered beautiful, we have to tame our natural beauty. And I want to flip that script.”
Born and raised in Sweden, Rivera grew up in a “very Hispanic household.” Both of Rivera’s parents were Chilean, but all of her friends were Swedish, and mostly white. “I always stood out and definitely struggled a little bit with finding my own self, and embracing my own natural beauty,” Rivera tells In The Know. “It’s taken me until adulthood to actually realize that my own hair is amazing and I want to embrace it and care for it with love. Like, beauty should be an enhancer and not a limitation.”
Rivera calls herself an “unconventional beauty founder,” due to the fact that she built her career in the tech industry instead of the beauty industry. But Rivera’s background didn’t stop her from filling a gaping hole that she noticed in the hair care world.
“I was craving a new form of beauty. A beauty that would enhance my own natural beauty and make me more comfortable in my own skin, versus feeling the need to mask myself,” says Rivera. “That’s where Ceremonia was born. Out of this desire to create a wellness approach to hair, and to increase representation in the Latinx community, a category that we’re the biggest spenders in, but we have no shelf space.”
Representing the Latinx community is at the forefront of Ceremonia’s brand, but Rivera also also wants to use her company to “push the boundaries for how clean hair care can be.” Ceremonia seeks to “eliminate a long list of not-so-great ingredients that are unfortunately commonly found in conventional beauty products,” Rivera says.
To accomplish this, Ceremonia uses an entirely in-house production process. “We have our own research and development lab and our own in-house chemist, and every single formula for Ceremonia has been created from scratch, replacing common filler ingredients with natural ingredients from Latin America,” Rivera tells In The Know.
Rivera’s hard work and attention to detail is paying off, and Ceremonia’s award-winning hair products speak for themselves. “When people try our products, they realize that they are different,” says Rivera. “They feel different, they smell different, and they provide different results.”
This past year, Ceremonia was featured in Sephora, making it the first Latina-owned hair business to be in Sephora stores. While Rivera is thrilled with that “incredible” accomplishment, she points out that it “goes to show how much more work there is left to do in this category.”
Even though Rivera understands that the journey isn’t complete, she’s thankful for the incredible growth that Ceremonia has been able to achieve, and is looking forward to a future in which the brand is leading the charge for representation in the beauty industry.
“I feel so proud of all the work that the team has put in, and I think it’s our responsibility to make the most out of this opportunity,” says the proud founder. “Because we’re really on a trajectory to become one of those next big beauty brands, and wouldn’t it be fun for the next big thing in beauty to be Latinx?”
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