This Somali Environmental Scientist created an organic skincare brand

Haweya Ismail created a brand called Mud & Musk,  established in March of 2016. The brand is commitment to organic and ethically sourced ingredients. Sometimes, organic is also a synonym for expensive, but that’s not the case here. Mud & Musk is also committed to affordable and accessible DIY skincare.

The inspiration for the brand came to Haweya when she was an environmental science student and came across a documentary about the environmental consequences the Frankincense industry was having on Somalia. After learning about the impact of frankincense over-harvesting, Haweya decided she needed to find a way to support sustainable and fair trade industry by directly sourcing ingredients. Haweya believes it is import to work with farmers in Somalia directly and support sustainable fair trade practices. Make sure to support this dreamy Somali owned beauty brand!



In the beauty industry, it is common for companies to cut corners and use unnatural ingredients. Why is Mud & Musk committed to creating ethical and natural skincare products?

Haweya: Organic skincare is not just a hipster niche anymore; it has become mainstream. People are becoming significantly more educated on dangers of synthetic ingredients and want to have greater control over what they are putting on their skin. I think in 2017 we have the technology and information needed to empower people to safely have that control. We are committed to creating ethical skincare products because I think businesses have the greatest potential to improve livelihoods and protect the environment, and being able to create a brand that does these things have been a passion of mine for a while.


Using both qasil and huruud as beauty products is something that has been passed down in Somali families for centuries. Often, when brands take something that has been cultural knowledge and use it to create their products, they don’t acknowledge where or who that knowledge came from in the first place. Why and how is Mud & Musk committed to acknowledging the traditional roots of this ancestral cosmetic knowledge?

Haweya: We are committed to highlighting the traditional roots of the knowledge to ensure those the communities benefit first and foremost. We are doing this by travelling to the region, documenting and showcasing the unique skills and traditional knowledge of locals and demonstrate the harvest and use. We conducted interviews with the harvesters, farmers and discovered how the harvest benefits the region.

How would a first time customer choose the best product for them and how would they use it?

Haweya: The HARGEISA DIY kit is a 5-step customizable kit. The first step allows the customer to select their skin type, and this guides the customer by recommending what ingredients would be suitable for their skin type in the following steps (conditioner, essential oil, extract and after care).


What’s next on the horizon for Mud & Musk?

Haweya: The HARGEISA DIY kit is the first of many customizable skincare kits that we would like to make available for our customers. Over the next year we will also be expanding our selection of ingredients and tools so that eventually our customers will also be able to choose from our ingredients for their own recipes.

We love how Haweya turned her passion foe environmental sustainability into a business. We love this innovation and wish Haweya success. For more information about her products, visit the brand website here