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How Three Sisters Transformed a Medical Diagnosis Into a Skincare Brand

The founders of Dirt Don't Hurt have one whammy ingredient to thank for their success
Dirt Don't Hurt Charcoal beauty company product featuring women with towel on head and charcoal facemask applied
Photo Credit: Chelsea Loren

Sativa Murray wasn’t feeling well. After months of struggling with brain fog and chronic fatigue, she was diagnosed with Lyme disease, but conventional treatments weren’t relieving her symptoms. “I started looking into my skincare, oral care, haircare,” she recalls. “I gutted everything.”

Aiming to avoid potentially harmful additives, Sativa began crafting her own personal care products—and started feeling better. She shared her creations with family and friends, making more and more stuff until “her house started feeling like a warehouse,” remembers her sister Martiza Murray.

Dirt Don’t Hurt founders Sativa, Maritza, and Kaya Murray
Photo Credit: Jenece Johnson-Hamby

Sativa tapped Maritza and their sister Kaya Murray-Banks to help transform the fruits of her personal health journey into a business, and the trio launched their company at Balboa Park’s EarthFair in 2017, calling themselves Dirt Don’t Hurt in a playful nod to their merchandise’s natural origins.

They focus almost solely on one whammy ingredient: activated charcoal. Their roster of charcoal-based goods includes a face mask, body soap, and tooth powder, a clay-and herb-boosted alternative to
traditional pastes.

Dirt Don't Hurt charcoal-based face and body oils in droppers
Courtesy of Dirt Don’t Hurt

Dirt Don’t Hurt products are available at local farmers markets, SD and NorCal Whole Foods stores, and boutiques around the country. They recently signed a massive deal with Hyatt to distribute their brand’s earth-friendly wooden toothbrushes in hotels throughout SoCal. And, as recent graduates of Dr. Bronner’s small business mentoring program, they’re poised to expand to more large retailers.

With seven children between them, the sisters hope to leave behind a thriving business for their little ones. “We often talk about them working for the company,” Maritza says. “We’re creating generational wealth.”

By Amelia Rodriguez

Amelia Rodriguez is San Diego Magazine’s Associate Editor. The 2023 winner of the San Diego Press Club's Rising Star Award, she’s covered music, food, arts & culture, fashion, and design for Rolling Stone, Palm Springs Life, and other national and regional publications. After work, you can find her hunting down San Diego’s best pastries and maintaining her three-year Duolingo streak.

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