Our Story

Since childhood, Natacha Paugam's journey has always been about dreaming big while investing her passion and dedication to make those dreams a reality.  

Natacha was born in the Congo's Pointe-Noire to Angolese parents who escaped the civil war in their native country. Growing up as a refugee, Natacha experienced a life of devastating realities at a young age which propelled her to be great in all aspects of her life. 

Having achieved great success academically, Natacha began doing beauty pageants, a form of empowerment to realize her professional, personal, and philanthropic potential. This led her to become Miss Congo, and she moved to Paris to pursue a modeling career. Upon moving to Paris, Natacha quickly realized that stardom for models of color was difficult especially given her skin concerns. Year after year, she tried new, costly, and complicated formulas, only to continue having issues and insecurities.  

After trying countless high-priced products with claims of high-efficacy, Natacha returned home to Africa where her mother Marie introduced her to family recipes to treat her skin, using natural and local ingredients.  Over time, Natacha realized the high-yield results from her secret family recipes and thus it sparked her interest to digging deeper into this practice with various experts.  

Natacha's aha moment happened when her mom shared with her that she had always wanted to have her own career that encapsulated her passion for clean beauty and wellness and hoped such opportunity would present itself to her daughter. It was at this moment, USTAWI, which means "wellbeing" in East African's Swahili language, was born. Read more Read less

Favorite quotes from some of the members of Our Team:

Natacha Paugam

CEO & Founder

"I had to make my own living and my own opportunity. But I made it! Don't sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them." - Madam C.J. Walker

Elyse Love


“I would love to be remembered as a person who used her life to inspire others in any way, shape or form." - Viola Davis 

Marie Noelle

R&D Manager

"Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself." -  Coco Chanel

Alacyia Young

Community Manager

“I really don’t think life is about the I-could-have-beens. Life is only about the I-tried-to-do. I don’t mind the failure, but I can’t imagine that I’d forgive myself if I didn’t try” - Nikki Giovanni

Ustawi Skincare is formulated with clean and natural ingredients 

Baobab Fruit: African Superfruit 
Licorice Root Extract: Helps to reduce pigmentation
Bamboo Water: Moisturizes the skin
Organic Myrtle Leaf: Detoxifies the skin
Red Algae: Hydrating skin protection
Organic Green Tea: Anti-Oxidant 
Vitamin C: Brightens the skin Hesperidin: Invigorates the skin
And much more…



Our skin is our protective barrier from the outside world - including UV radiation and pollution. However, the skin is susceptible to damage from these elements. The damaging effects of sunlight are well studied, but new and ever emerging evidence supports the additional role of environmental pollutants on the development of dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and premature aging. USTAWI harnesses the power of natural anti-oxidants to protect the skin from these daily and ever-present skin stressors. 



Ustawi selects the ingredients that respect the planet and the skin focusing on ethically gathered natural ingredients. We focus on renewable, carefully harvested raw materials with respect to fair trade and standards of working conditions. All Ustawi packaging is recyclable.



Our skincare formulas don't include ingredients derived from animal origin. We stand against animal cruelty, and we ensure that no animals are harmed or exploited during the manufacture of our products. Ustawi formulas are not tested on animals.



Ustawi skincare follows the most rigorous cruelty-free standards and has been certified by the CCIC’s Leaping Bunny program. Usatwi and its suppliers have pledged to never test on animals during any stage of production and manufacturing. 



USTAWI holds the legacy of an African Family, Natacha and her parents, and will aim to give back to communities in many ways. From the individuals and organizations behind its ingredients all the way to the use of the value created by USTAWI's product offering, we're putting systems in place to create opportunities and support for people in need. USTAWI will put a strong effort into improving the lives of underprivileged children in Africa and beyond, which is a mission that is very dear to Natacha. USTAWI is a proud partner of Childfund International, a non-profit organization providing assistance to deprived, excluded and vulnerable children in 30 countries. More info at www.childfund.org.