Your daily dose of Austin
Smartphone image
×
Make your inbox more Austin.
Local news and fun, every day 6am.
Austin founder fills gap in beauty market with skincare line made of Latin American botanicals

(Miramira.co)

Growing up as the youngest in a house of five girls, Rebekah Jensen remembers her grandma Jasso helping raise her while her mom worked toward her college degree. She’d spend full days at her grandma’s house and notice what she called her “healing powers”: making salves for her arthritis and carrying out limpias, which are ceremonies to rebuild emotional health.

Those experiences helped inspire her to launch Sanara, a skincare line that Jensen started from her home in Austin about five years ago using indigenous Latin American botanicals.


Sanará in Spanish means “you will heal” and it’s a sentiment Jensen has carried to the products that include body butter, bath soaks and essential oils. While she makes skincare tools that others can use in their homes across the country and is in talks with possible spa partners, she’s also found Sanara to be personally healing.

For one, she has psoriasis and started paying close attention to the ingredients she puts on her skin. And another reason is the tighter cultural bond it’s created for the fifth-generation Texan.

“I don't speak Spanish,” Jensen said. “I've learned a lot about the shame and guilt that comes with that. So this was also a healing process for me creating Sanara and being able to reconnect to my ancestors.”

(Miramira.co)


She’s accomplished that by using ingredients like Cupuaçu. It’s from the Amazon and Jensen says it’s a cousin to cacao and is even more hydrating than shea butter.

But it’s an ingredient you likely haven’t heard of. Jensen says the spa market is highly saturated but there's a huge gap with Latin American botanicals. She talked about a desire to share the beauty of Latin America as a push to become an entrepreneur.

“It comes down to very few people that would have noticed this discrepancy in the beauty market as a whole,” Jensen said. “So, it's been awesome to see all the other brands that are popping up as well that are wanting to bring that representation. And I full-heartedly think we should infiltrate in every arena, whether it's mass market, Walmart to Target, up to the luxury spa.”


Jensen has been driven toward that mission for a while now.

She moved from West Texas to Austin in 2003 and completed an ultrasound program at Austin Community College. It wasn’t her passion, but it got her on track to eventually fund her startup. As was the case with many businesses, COVID brought some challenges. Then last year, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She took a step away from Sanara to get treatment and also take care of her mental health.

Now she’s active with Sanara, accepting investments on WeFunder and reaching a point where she’s ready to scale further.

“People don't realize that when you're a small business owner and you're trying to build your dreams, life happens,” Jensen said. “So I think this is going to be the year where I can pop some bottles.”

Popular

Migration to Austin brought wealthy out-of-towners and high home prices. It's now starting to cool down.

Austin is one of the top metro areas where homebuyer income saw the greatest surge during the pandemic and it came at a cost to locals.

Keep ReadingShow less