Psyche Terry

Take a walk through your local Target, Sally Hansen, or Walmart and chances are you’ll spot a shelf of Urban Hydration (UH), one of the freshest faces to hit the beauty aisle… and your face if you know what’s good for it.  From purifying charcoal masks to skin brightening micellar water, UH has an impressive array of products designed to bring out that natural glow, all while keeping it chemical free. With super ingredients like vitamin A and E, you’ll not only see visibly reduced age spots, wrinkles, stretch marks, and fine lines, but you’ll also experience tissue regeneration behind the scenes as damaged skin is healed from the inside out. Whether your skin type is dry, oily, sensitive, or acne-prone UH has you covered. This comes from a deep understanding on the part of its co-founder, Psyche Terry. She astutely notes, “different ingredients are good for different things.” Psyche was told from an early age that “what looks good on others won’t always look good on you.” This challenged her to get to know herself better, including allergies and what keeps her fit both externally and internally. Fast forward to Psyche’s future as competition body builder, UH co-founder, and self-professed nutrition enthusiast and you’ll see she is in many ways the same girl obsessed with “the right things for the right body/type.” It’s a key factor that goes into everything UH creates. 

What they do for skin, they do for hair as well. Their line focuses on working with hair’s natural texture instead of chemically forcing it to look or move a certain way. The UH haircare tagline easily and powerfully sums it up: Be kinky, curly, coily. Be naturally beautiful! As with their skin care (and Psyche’s personal philosophy) you can shop specifically for your needs based on hair type (types 2, 3, and 4 are available) and porosity, which is your hair’s ability to absorb and maintain moisture. Psyche herself keeps UH haircare close to home, and in her car to be exact. The Daily Moisturizing Lotion is one of her personal favorites, one that she can’t live without:

“It has been important to me on my hair, my husband’s beard, and my baby’s hair. I keep one secretly stashed in my glove compartment… It’s that serious.”

Upon first lather, you may find that your UH shampoo and/or body wash doesn’t well … lather much. This is because in keeping with their mission, they’ve kept their products virtually sulfate free. Sulfates aren’t necessarily evil; it’s just that they are a little too effective. In extracting dirt and impurities, they also inadvertently strip the body of helpful oils and bacteria. The amounts of sulfate found in most products are at a level that’s harmful and abrasive. UH products undergo a careful process of research and analysis to ensure they live up to the highest organic standards. Says Psyche:

“We are label geeks. We use standards from places like Whole Foods to ensure we are using the best ingredients. We research the origination of every ingredient to make sure that it won’t irritate and will help the skin be healthy. I always feel like if I can’t put it on my kids, I can’t sell it.”

Though customization is a large part of UH’s message, there are a few staples that are beneficial across the beauty boards. Explains Psyche:

“We make products that are great for everyone. We actually have a hashtag #natureunitesus because we think, male or female, whichever your gender is – honey is good – it’s just good all around. Our Honey Hair Collection, Aloe Skin Collection, and Vanilla Bath Collection are all good life additions to anyone who uses them.”

Um, hello excellent birthday and/or Christmas gifts? We don’t know anyone who’s trying to stay dry and crusty during the winter (or their birthday for that matter).

With a large catalog of “feel good” items online and in stores, UH is quickly becoming a household name. But this wasn’t always the case. Before it was a star in natural beauty, UH played a supporting role starting out with spa products as part of a “goodwill” gift basket for a non-profit. As is the case today, even their first few creations were made to be “beautiful and good on skin too,” says Psyche. It wasn’t long before her entrepreneur wheels started turning and she knew she wanted to “focus on the whole person – holistically and what she does on her hair, her face, her body and even in her home.” As Psyche says: “We think in totality!”

With total health in mind, Psyche and her co-founder/husband, Vontoba Terry, did what all successful entrepreneurs do: LISTEN. They started by introducing some choice products to their community at church outdoor festivals, homeshopping events, and of course with family. Smartly, they pressed on in their research:

“I kept getting feedback – even friends and customers would write in saying they were in the tub at the very moment and wanted to give me feedback on how I should update, change, or even spell check my labels. We are perfectionists and we change constantly for the better. We listened to buyers at mass stores too. We made changes they suggested to help our products have better distribution. The rest is history.”

And a successful history indeed! UH continues to improve and deliver the highest quality health merch. When their soaps, lotions, and shampoos aren’t being carefully analyzed, you can find them touring the nation alongside the likes of TV and radio personalities like Vanessa Simmons, Keshia Knight Pulliam, and Angela Yee. Says Psyche:

“We’ve been in Miami, North California, Chicago and are headed to Houston shortly. This tour has been all about celebrating with “good women” – sharing what it really means to have a “good life.” We’ve learned so much and have been sharing the message that a good life is having good friends, healthy hair and skin, and overall having a good time every day of your life!”

UH’s goal is to keep touring, visiting as many states as possible sharing the “luhv” with their LUHvies, which is what they call their dedicated supporters. Psyche warmly states: “We want to hug as many (LUHvies) as we possibly can. I want to expose as many women as possible to the meaning of the ‘good life.’”

A good family life is also something that Psyche holds near and dear. As we mentioned earlier, she founded UH with her husband, Vontoba, who she says is her “sounding board.” He’s a man of action, always ready to bring her ideas into fruition. Psyche provides a glimpse into their work life balance: “Our offices are next door rooms to each other. We yell through the walls all the time for feedback and good ideas. He is the best.”

With remarkable beauty products, the best ingredients, and a family owned and operated core, UH is already an amazing enterprise. However, we haven’t even touched on their Global Good initiatives that truly set them apart as a company whose goodness is more than skin (and hair!) deep. Their long list of charitable contributions includes partnerships with Boys & Girls Clubs of Collin County, National Breast Cancer Foundation, Becky’s Hope Horse Rescue – just to name a few. Initially, the Terrys wanted to form their own non-profit, but in the end found their efforts would be more effective placed in the hands of existing, well-deserving organizations. As a result they carefully screen as part of the Global Good process. Describes Psyche:

“We do our due diligence with who is on the board, what the need is in the organization, and how we can contribute to their vitality and growth. We love hearing stories of kids that wouldn’t have graduated without our help… We do this as a group effort with our friends, family, customers, and neighbors so we make sure we pick only the most trusted organizations to be a part of.”

Though they did not end up creating their own charity, the Terrys did found the Urban Hydration Foundation Scholarship, which contributes $50,000 in scholarship money to Western Michigan University students in need over the span of five years. It’s a philanthropic endeavor that Psyche feels personally connected to, as she explains:

“I had no problem getting in (to Western Michigan University), but the last few semesters got super expensive and I wasn’t sure I’d make it out. We give scholarships to students that need help on that last leg of their college career. We’ve helped students that had absolutely no way of helping themselves. I present these scholarships and cry over and over again at how appreciative the kids are. They need help and we are able to give it. I most appreciate the graduation photos. I stalk their IG’s later to see how happy their parents and family members are to have their graduates in their lives.”

Last but certainly not least is UH’s keystone partnership with WATERisLIFE. Since its inception in 2016, they’ve raised enough funds to build two wells in Kenyan communities without access to clean drinking water. By 2020, they aim to have a total of 20 wells and countless opportunities given to those who may not have had them otherwise. Psyche credits Vontaba for the WATERisLIFE collaboration, stating:

“He wanted to do something related to our name ‘Urban Hydration.’ We learned how smart it would be to give urban communities clean water and have been hooked ever since. Our first well was for 300 kids who had their tank and water stolen from them. They were paying their teachers in corn. Since we had the well dug, they pump thousands of gallons of water per day – so much in fact that they now sell water for economic improvement and have been able to build three more classrooms from revenue earned from the well!”

The benefits of running an organization like UH have been monumental for Psyche Terry as well as her customers. She calls the process one of “overall self-love and self-learning… freeing in its own way.”

After our own process of learning more about Urban Hydration, we can’t wait to get our hands (skin, hair, feet, everything!) on some of their products. We know we’re going to LUHV them!

Photo: Cover & Feature – Ima Linzag

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