Founder of NTRL by Sabs
Sabrina Rowe Holdsworth is the founder of eco-friendly beauty product line NTRL By Sabs. A celebrity and fashion hair stylist by trade, Holdsworth’s hair and skin care line is as focused on protecting the earth as it is on providing its stellar results. We sat down with Holdsworth to talk about sustainability, self-care, and playing with luggage as a kid.
You’re a third-generation hairstylist. Can you tell us a bit more about your background?
Well, I’m a first-generation American New Yorker. My mom, who's from Puerto Rico, was a hairstylist and her mom was a hairstylist, both traditional in salons. I am mixed race, my dad is from Panama, so I am Afro-Latino and needed to navigate my different hair texture. It was initially a means to be able to handle my own and my siblings' hair, and it has developed into a career that I love. I actually do both hair and makeup, and I started doing makeup first because I went to a performing arts high school where makeup and hair were part of the curriculum. I used both as a side hustle, not realizing that it would become my passion.
How do you define wellness?
Wellness to me encompasses all things involving beauty, spirituality, food and products you consume. Wellness is the harmony of your mind, body, spirit and self-worth.
What motivated you to start this company?
I am a science nerd and always wanted to have a product line, at some point, but it was a plan for much later, once I slowed down with celebrity and fashion bookings. The pandemic threw a monkey wrench in all the plans I thought I had, so without the ability to touch people, I think I felt compelled to create the line so that I could take care of people when I could not touch them.
What kind of products do you sell, and what makes them unique?
I sell personal care products with an initial focus on hair. The uniqueness is that I formulated with multiple textures and skin types in mind. Being a professional for 20 years, I’ve had the privilege of touching and styling pretty much every type of person you could imagine. I wanted to fill a gap that I saw by providing high-performing, luxury products with natural ingredients while lowering our carbon imprint. Basically, making products that perform without creating a ton more waste.
What obstacles did you have to overcome with your company?
Well, I had to use my own savings. I pretty much grass-rooted this thing. While I use organic ingredients, it is a very expensive process to get them all approved by the USDA. Basically, everything is a slow process. It is very important that the ethos is luxury while still being eco-friendly and also being inclusive. In beauty, I feel it is still segregated. Being a black-owned female business that is self-funded, there will always be obstacles. It is nothing worse than what Madam C.J. Walker and all the black beauty creators went through that paved the way for me. The bottom line is I believe in what I am doing and creating, and I am tackling those obstacles along the way.
What do you hope to accomplish moving forward, both personally and professionally?
I hope to make NTRL by Sabs a household name! I hope it is a brand where people know they can trust that there is something for them regardless of who or what they are. Taking it global is a dream of mine. Personally, I would love to have balance. That's my main goal. To really focus my energy on having a healthy work-life balance.
Do you consider travel part of your whole health?
YES! Absolutely! When I was a kid, one of my favorite games to play was packing to travel, otherwise known as “Sabrina Adventures.” I would pack this child-size vintage luggage, and each time, I would be going somewhere different. Travel is what inspires me in the products I make and what I offer to my clients — whether they are in a chair, on set or on a red carpet. Travel is how I reset and stay inspired, and it is my most faithful therapist.
How do your products fit into that travel lifestyle?
Outside of the liquids, which I felt were essential to create trust with customers, the sustainable line, which is much more extensive, involves all travel-friendly products. All the bars and the balms are travel-friendly. That is how I live my life. I am always packing and traveling, and I made products that fit my own lifestyle. I created a product that will hopefully inspire people to go and get on the road! And for those who can’t travel, my products are designed to bring the places that I have been into their lives, wherever they may be.
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