Cruelty-Free Niawen Skincare Line Launched by Mohawk Cosmetologist, Tara Tarbell

A cruelty-free Native American skincare line. Niawen Skincare products created by Mohawk licensed esthetician Tara Tarbell

A new skincare product line has been launched by Tara Tekahentakwa Tarbell of the St Regis Mohawk Tribe. Tarbell says the Niawen Skincare products on her website are special because the line not only combines traditional ingredients with science, but the products align with Native values, and every product receives a blessing with smudging before shipping the finished product.

Niawen Skincare is a cruelty-free product line that combines science, nature and smudging.

Niawen Skincare is a cruelty-free product line that combines science, nature and smudging.

Some of the products in Niawen Skincare include a Tea Tree cleanser to help with acne, skin moisturizers to calm redness, reduce inflammation and increase hydration in the skin and a black ash exfoliant to reduce enlarged pores and soften dark spots.

“Nia:wen means thank you, to give thanks in the Mohawk language,” says Tarbell.

Tarbell, who lost a kidney and an adrenal gland during a battle with cancer, says she learned through her struggle the importance of giving thanks.

Tarbell also says having cancer did not weaken her; instead, she became empowered. While recovering from her disease at the age of 37, she found the time and motivation to develop a skincare product that would be representative of Native Americans and as a Mohawk.

“The Creator gave me a second chance. I wanted to use my passion for skincare and move forward in a good way,” said Tarbell.

Tarbell is a licensed aesthetician in New York and Ontario, Canada and is a licensed cosmetologist in New York. She is also a paramedical and oncology esthetician, meaning she can work in the medical field and with cancer patients. Using her knowledge of the medical field, and realizing a need for less harmful and cruelty-free products, Tarbell realized she had a void to fill in terms of Native-influenced skin products.

Some of the products offered on the Niawen Skincare website.

Some of the products offered on the Niawen Skincare website.

While conducting research, Tarbell toured labs, spa conventions and manufacturing conventions and found nothing that lined up with her spirituality as a Native American woman. Even the Native-owned spas lacked the products she felt needed to be there.


In developing Niawen Skincare, Tarbell created a product that is cruelty-free, dermatologist-tested and ophthalmologist-approved. Niawen Skincare products are plant and mineral-based without any formaldehyde-releasing preservatives.

To add a bit of her own Native blessing, Tarbell smudges every single product before it ships out.

When asked about her overall vision for her product line Tarbell told ICMN, “My vision for my product line is to have all of Turtle Island experience Niawen Skincare. I’d love to see all of my products in Native Casino Spas and other spas that embrace Niawen’s essence as a high quality skincare product.”

To see more of the Niawen Skincare product line visit the website here.