Growing up Nia Baucke and her sisters—and occasionally her brother—had spa days around the kitchen table. They’d take, say, an aloe vera plant and make a face gel. “My grandmother took care of her skin. My mom took care of her skin,” she says. “They were always into natural remedies and natural ingredients. It came natural to me.”
So naturally, when she grew older, Baucke founded a natural skincare line. She launched Cypress Beauty three years ago, offering a few products and some DIY skincare classes. Two years later, she decided to shift her focus and rebrand to Flora Lee Naturals. The name is a tribute to her late grandma, representing memories of her grandmother’s Michigan garden, where Baucke sources inspiration for new products. Her next product launch, planned for October, incorporates watermelon seed oil, a staple from her grandma’s garden.
Using natural ingredients is important to Baucke, who struggled with skin issues growing up. She recalls using harsh products with alcohol and acids to combat acne and hyperpigmentation. Now, she coaches others to use gentle, moisturizing products.
Up until COVID-19 shut down businesses, Flora Lee offered workshops focused on skincare tips and product-making. She even rented a space in Walnut Hills, where people could take her classes, but she opted not to renew her lease due to the pandemic. In the meantime, she’s been fulfilling online orders at home.
Shipping products throughout the U.S., Baucke has an especially strong following in Ohio, Kentucky, and Michigan. Cincinnati shoppers can find Flora Lee in local shops like Rooted Juicery + Kitchen, Spruce Nail Shop, and The Native One, as well as Oh Pink! Party Shop in Cleveland and Otherwild in Los Angeles.
Baucke has also turned to social media to keep teaching others about skincare. Her Instagram (@floraleenaturals) features a series on large pores, where Baucke breaks down what causes visible or enlarged pores and how to keep pores clean.
One of Baucke’s favorite customer testimonials comes from a woman in her late 30s with lupus, an autoimmune disease that can affect a variety of the body’s systems, including joints, blood cells, and skin. “It was important to her to keep her skin clear and moisturized, and she had a really hard time finding products,” Baucke says. She decided to try Flora Lee’s Instant Glow Mask, made with sunflower oil, carrot seed, rosemary extract, and other natural ingredients. A month later, the customer told Baucke her skin was soft, nourished, and clear, and she experienced no irritation. “People that have underlying medical issues struggle a lot with finding good products,” Baucke says. “I was happy to find something that worked for her and wasn’t contradictory to her medical condition.”
And, of course, Baucke’s still helping her sisters. “We still do spa days now,” she says. “Anytime I’m in town, I bring all of my stuff. We mix and make clay masks. It’s always been a really good bonding experience.”