“I couldn’t be more proud of these products. They’re about health. They’re about wellness. They’re about making you smell good, feel good, look good and they check a lot of boxes -they hit home on a lot of levels. They’re premium quality products that are healthy for you and your skin, but at the same time they’re very affordable.” -Hill Harper
The Architect & co.
Hill Harper debuted H2L and JUA via The Architect & Co. in March 2017. H2L and JUA are natural, non-toxic grooming products for men and women. Over a pre-Thanksgiving midday chat, Harper explains, “The company that we founded is called The Architect & Co., betheartitect.com, it’s foundationally a health and wellness company built off the idea -what I write about in my book, that we are all active architects of our own life. And we can build our life like an architect builds a structure, but we have to start with a real strong blueprint or a plan and then we have to have the right foundation. And so, the first line of product we have for men is called H2L, and for women it’s called JUA. JUA means sun in Swahili, and H2L is just a play on my name; there are two H’s and two L’s in my name.”
hill harper, founder
Harper, is best known for his role as Dr. Shelton Hawkes in the CBS hit drama serie CSI: NY and has a long list of noteworthy experiences spanning from critically acclaimed actor, to author, to Harvard Law Graduate. So what inspired the creation of an all natural line, in the beauty genre and something as intimate as a skincare?
It would take a personal experiences with cancer, in combination with serving as a member of a cancer panel, could with his passion for community to add founder of affordable and health driven grooming products into his notable list of accomplishments.
“In 2010 I was doing a movie, For Colored Girls, in Atlanta. Kerry Washington was playing my wife and we were there shooting and I woke up one morning and I couldn’t swallow very well and, ultimately, to make a long story short, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. My father had actually died of pancreatic cancer, but when he was my, almost, same age he had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer,” he says.
The Architect & Co. formulates products with consideration to melanin, and they launched their mens and womens lines simultaneously. Knowing that cancer is one of the leading causes of death for the Black male demographic, I couldn’t help but wonder, so I asked, “was the creation of this product, in-part, due to the lack of attention that Black males, in particular, pay to healthcare?”
He replied, “I created this line and it’s healthy for everybody. But, it particularly has properties for folks with melanin in their skin. We tend to have a lack of Vitamin D and Vitamin D is something that is critical for good health, so I put in a lot of oils that have a lot of Vitamin D and things like that. But at the same time you’re absolutely right, as African American men, we have a tendency to not stay on top of our health or our health checks on a regular basis; but we still use products we just throw some stuff on and keep it moving.
After I’d had surgery for my thyroid, President Obama -who I’ve been friends with for a number of years, asked me to join his President’s Cancer panel, which is a three-member panel that makes recommendations for the White House. There are two scientist on the panel and one non-scientist, and I was that non-scientist. Different experts would come present to the panel; we would take their information and make recommendations.
Many of these doctors and experts would talk about what we put on our skin. And the fact that our skin is our largest organ on our body, and it absorbs everything you put on it, almost like eating it. And they were making a point, to me, and to the panel, that the same companies who own the drug company are the same ones, these multi-national conglomerate companies, that own most of the products that come out for skincare, lotions and etcetera. These companies own these companies and so there’s not a big interest in doing research and study on the impact of having these carcinogenic elements that are in many of these products. And I thought about our community. I remember when I was young, my grandmother was like, ‘You gonna put some Vaseline on that?’ [Right] Vaseline is Petroleum Jelly, it is a toxic byproduct of oil, you know, oil refining.”
H2L and JUA, affordable solutions
A thyroid cancer diagnosis and working so closely with research surrounding cancer lead Harper to being aware and conscious of daily-use products. He is also aware of the price tag associated with non-toxic living and says, “I was in a position where I could afford these high-end products that didn’t have any carcinogens, but I said to myself, ‘What about people in the community? They can’t afford $40 for conditioner or $40 for the organic shampoo.’ I said, “There has to be a way that you can have non-carcinogenic products at an affordable price -the same price as some of these other brands.”
Shop now and save
Hill has done just that by offering H2L and JUA exclusively from his production plant TheArchitect & Co. via bethearchitect.com. A subscription based model that renews annually, or as frequently as necessary through a la carte orders. Ladies, subscribe for your JUA and hook your man up too, with a subscription to H2L for the year.
Use the Promo Code: TRY ME 20 for 20% off of your order now through the 2017 Holiday Season!
Photos from bethearchitect.com