Secrets from Grandma’s Apothecary: Salma Hayek’s Nuance

I’m always a little skeptical of celebrity beauty/makeup lines, as sometimes the product doesn’t live up to the hype. Fortunately, Salma Hayek’s Nuance line doesn’t skimp on the quality. Even the packaging is pretty yet minimal, with a “beauty secret” on the side of the box. For example, take this quick history factoid: Ancient Mayan civilizations sought after the bark of the Tepezcohuite tree as an effective, natural skin treatment. Native to Brazil and southern areas of Mexico, its dark brown and gray bark is known for its antioxidant properties and its ability to rejuvenate the skin.

The Nuance line, which is exclusively available at CVS, was launched four years ago. In 2011, Hayek told WWD that she took three years off from acting in order to oversee the launch of Nuance. The line ranges from skin care products, to shampoos and conditioners, with over 160 items. In 2013, the actresses and producer told the New York Times that her venture into the beauty business was inspired by her grandmother, who liked to mix her own creams and scrubs. Hayek explained, “She was an alchemist and would mix beauty knowledge that is also historical tradition and make her own creams in the kitchen.” The Times reported that “sales have been the highest of a proprietary brand in CVS’s history, according to Judy Sansone, senior vice president for merchandising at CVS.”

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I received the following to test out: Buriti Oil Nourishing Shampoo ($7.99), Buriti Oil Nourishing Conditioner ($7.99), Buriti Oil Nourishing Hair Mask ($9.99), the oil-free Sheer Liquid Veil with SPF 50 ($9.99), and the CC Cream ($14.99). Affordability is certainly something that Hayek keeps in mind while developing products. When recently interviewed by New York magazine’s The Cut, she said that she was able to keep such a reasonable price point because, “I have a miracle ingredient nobody else has—tepezcohuite, that is used in the hospital for burn victims for skin regeneration. It’s not expensive, although I could have made it expensive. If you use caviar and gold, it is more expensive, but I don’t think it’s any better than the others.”

The shampoo and conditioner aim to fight frizz and dry, damaged hair. Buriti oil is rich in antioxidants and helps moisturize thirsty locks. Buriti oil is derived from a fruit found in the Brazilian Amazon nicknamed “the tree of life,” due to its close proximity to water. Both the shampoo and conditioner are packed with avocado, coconut oils, and chamomile extract. The chamomile adds shine. The shampoo and the conditioner both smell faintly of coconuts, above all else. As someone who prefers to wear her curly hair in its natural state, I don’t really depend on shampoo as much. The Nuance shampoo, when paired with its conditioning counterpart, seemed to leave my hair refreshed and revitalized. My curls weren’t limp or lifeless.

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The hair mask was a pleasant surprise and I think I may have to replace my Neutrogena Triple Moisture Deep Recovery Mask with this one! Ingredients include coconut oil, jojoba oil, and jasmine oil. In terms of texture, the mask is a little bit thicker than the conditioner. It carries the same scent as the shampoo and conditioner, although the jasmine notes are more prominent. I used the mask when my hair was in need of some TLC. Talk about a 360 turnaround! My hair went from being stiff and dry to soft and manageable.

The Liquid Veil sunscreen, which is oil-free and paraben-free, leaves a light yet protective cover for vulnerable skin. It doesn’t leave a greasy sheen behind and I was able to put powder makeup over it.


Although I liked the Nuance line for the most part, the CC Cream just didn’t work for me. The cream contains broad spectrum SPF 20 sunscreen and aims to even out skin tone and help reduce the appearance of dark spots and age spots. When applied to my face, the light green cream didn’t easily absorb into my skin. My skin appeared to have an ashy tint. To be fair, the front of the package is printed with a precautionary: ADJUSTS TO MOST SKIN TONES label. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t recommend the CC Cream for women of color with darker skin.

Overall, Nuance offers an affordable range of makeup, beauty, skincare, and hair products that are a slight step above the typical drugstore brands. Judging from her numerous interviews concerning the brand, Hayek understands the importance of beauty routines that favor qual parts preservation and natural ingredients.

Nuance is available only at CVS retailers and online. For full ingredient lists for each product, check out their product pages on


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