Greenchicgirl: How did “Honua Skincare” came to be? What led you to start your skincare company?
I founded Honua Hawaiian Skincare in 2015, when the demand for my Hawaiian crafted products grew beyond my treatment room. Born and raised on O‘ahu as an avid surfer and beach girl, I began to notice sun damage and pigmentation in my own complexion as early as in my 20’s. In an attempt to take care of my skin, I became passionate about beauty and began to train in aesthetics and learnt about traditional Hawaiian healing and medicinal herbs. After a decade of experience as a licensed esthetician, and extended training in herbalism and product development, I began the building blocks for my own hand-crafted skincare collection, Honua Skincare.
Honua is a family owned company with me at the forefront. My husband, Brandon, is equally passionate about Hawaiian culture; and has the drive to share it with the world. We have four children ranging from 5-18, who were raised in Hawaiian culturally based schools. Our family had to move away from Hawaii in 2014 due to the economic hardships that many Hawaiian families face. We are currently living in Santa Rosa, CA and continue to share the culture and ALOHA with everyone we meet. From teaching Hawaiian language to sharing hula and serving organizations that perpetuate the Hawaiian culture among the displaced community of Hawaiians… our family has not forgotten our roots.
In a nutshell, I never intended on starting a skincare line. I created products just for myself, family and facial clients back in Hawaii. Then when we were forced to leave Hawaii, my clients began begging that I continue making product from California. After figuring out a system of shipping up ingredients and buying bottles in bulk; Honua organically grew in to a brand.
Greenchicgirl: There are four products in Honua skincare and a mask that you recently launched. What are the other products you’re working on to launch in the future?
We are launching a second mask in the spring, called “Moana” for the ocean lovers. It’s the second part to our mask duo; ‘Aina for the land lovers and Moana for the ocean lovers. One focuses on ingredients derived from the land, and the other from the ocean. We also have a protecting day cream launching early this summer, this will complete our daily facial ritual. These products were created after many requests from customers.
We are launching a second mask in the spring, called “Moana” for the ocean lovers. It’s the second part to our mask duo; ‘Aina for the land lovers and Moana for the ocean lovers.
Greenchicgirl: Extending the above question – many skincare companies have products for different skin types. How do you ensure Honua skincare products would be suitable for all skin types? Do you think there are any advantages (or disadvantages) with having products targeted for all skin types?
I have always believed in traditional medicine of all sorts, mainly because I am a strong believer in treating the root of the conditions rather than masking the issue/symptoms that result from the condition. I kept this approach in treating my facial clients and it proved to work. Clients who had suffered from cystic acne, rosacea, sun damage and eczema all saw tremendous results, and all while using the same products. I had learned that by treating the root causes; which are mainly inflammation, free radical damage and a jeopardized skin barrier (from stripping skin, improper or over cleansing and exfoliation) that I could treat many conditions with one simple but effective line. I also believe that all skin types can benefit from phyto-nutrients, minerals, vitamins, and non-comedogenic oils which provide skin with essential fatty acids.
Our “lā’au” or Hawaiian healing botanicals, are the reason we are able to effectively treat the skin without the use of lab created chemicals. Some of these superstars are, ‘Ōlena, Noni, Alo Alo, Kukui, Kamani, Kalo, Wai Niu, ‘Awa and Laukahi. These skin loving lā’au are filled with vitamins, minerals phytonutrients and fatty acids, and are some of the most potent anti-inflammatories and anti-oxidants available. We believe that some of the magic also lies in the soil where these plants are grown, so our ingredients are sourced from as many Hawaii farms as possible.
Our innovative products combine traditional Hawaiian healing botanicals and methodologies, with modern skincare technology. Focusing on the root cause of major skin conditions, we have developed a single line for all skin types.
Greenchicgirl: Honua skincare products are primarily formulated with Hawaiian botanicals like Ōlena, Noni, Alo Alo (Hibiscus) etc. There are some really interesting ingredients (native to Hawaii) in your products’ ingredient list. Which Hawaiian botanicals are widely used in formulating products and why? Or which ones are special to you?
Ōlena is used in many of my formulations because it’s an anti-inflammatory, which I talk about being very effective in treating the root of many conditions. I also use Alo Alo or hibiscus quite a bit, as it is a natural, gentle and effective exfoliant that also has something called mucilage which helps to keep skin hydrated and plump while receiving this gentle exfoliation. I could talk about my favorite Hawaiian ingredients all day, but I’ll finish by talking about Noni. This superfruit is high in selenium and vitamin C and is currently being studied by the University of Hawaii as a cure for cancer. I am definitely not claiming or attempting to do that, but if a fruit is that packed with life saving vitamins and minerals, its definitely something that you would want your skin to be absorbing daily.
Greenchicgirl: I know that each product, even the brand’s name “Honua” has a traditional Hawaiian story behind it. And I love to know more about them. Is there any special story that you would like to share… perhaps something that inspires you or something that’s very close to your heart?
Mama Honua (Mother Earth) is the heart of our company and where our botanicals are born. Since our products are filled with Hawaiian botanical magic, we decided to give credit to the true creator of our skincare line. I only felt that it was fair to give credit where credit was due. I share stories on instagram from time to time about legends, stories and the deeper meanings behind our products names. Follow us to learn more!
Greenchicgirl: I know Honua skincare is a relatively new company (formed in 2015, right?). Do you keep any goals for yourself, as to how you want your company to grow? Or do you have any vision for the future?
Yes, we are still a baby, we launched our actual brand, Honua at Indie Beauty Expo in 2016 actually. We formed our LLC in 2015, but didn’t start selling until 2016. So we will turn two years old in March.
Goals: Our main goal has been much larger than our skincare line itself, to spread the ALOHA spirit worldwide and I think we have been pretty successful so far, for a tiny brand from Hawaii. I would love to see more people living and sharing the aloha spirit with the next person. As for our line, our goal is to keep making products that help people’s skin and that make them feel beautiful inside and out.
BIG FUTURE PLANS: I would love to eventually move back home to Hawaii and be able to have a hand in growing some of our ingredients ourself. I would also like to open a hub for Hawaiian beauty and wellness where I can practice doing Hawaiian facials again, and teach others to do so; but I try to take things one day at a time.