Q + A WITH
Kapua Browning OF Honua Skincare
Nothing brings me back to my Hawaiian roots quite like the first days of summer. Vibrant green foliage in bloom, white capped waves crashing on the shore and the warmth of the sun on my skin transport me to my carefree childhood in Honolulu.
What better way to usher in the Aloha spirit of summer than with Honua Skincare, a minimalist green beauty brand based on the traditional healing methods of the Hawaiian people. With a luscious range of products crafted with traditional Hawaiian plants like ʻōlena (Turmeric), Kamani ( Tamanu), Alo Alo ( hibiscus), and noni, Honua’s aim is to revive, support and sustain the few agricultural land and farms left in Hawaii.
To dig a little deeper into the story and science of Honua, I sat down the founder, Kapua Browning, at the Beauty Heroes Headquarters. A mother of four and wife of a traditional Hawaiian medicine man, she is a glowing earth mama and a warrior for peace who exemplifies Aloha in everything thing she does. Read, watch and meet my friend and soul-sister, Kapua.
What inspired you to start Honua Skincare?
My passion for Hawaiian culture, skincare and clean beauty is what started the fire, but my desire to support Hawaii’s local farmers, share the potency and benefits of native Hawaiian botanicals and spread the aloha spirit worldwide inspired us to take the step from personal formulations to launch a worldwide recognized brand.
How did you learn the art of formulating?
During the span of my career as an esthetician I had the opportunity to work for successful formulators like Dr. Jurgen Klein, the original formulator of Jurlique. I was fascinated with ingredient knowledge and studied ingredients obsessively. I had been exposed to the art of traditional Hawaiian formulating by my aunties and uncles. I began practicing and form
ulating alongside my husband who when I met him was studying la’au lapa’a, traditional Hawaiian healing through plants. I then studied under an herbalist on the island of Hawai’i who taught me how to take my knowledge of Hawaiian botanicals and apply it to creating skincare. I also work with an herbalist/formulator and mentor in Northern California who has helped me to grow in the art of both traditional and modern formulating.
Can you share some of the details on how you source your ingredients sustainably?
Sure. We support as many local Hawaiian farms and farmers as we can, who grow the ingredient for Honua in the traditions handed down by their Kupuna, using the land resources given to them without pesticides or harmful chemicals. They also replant everything they use, never over farming to deplete resources. This is also one of the reasons, we try to share the love and buy from a variation of smaller farms. Our compostable packaging is also created sustainably using wind energy and soy based ink.
When it’s time to create/develop a new product, what is your process?
New product ideas come to me in a vision… I get excited… research the ingredients fully, play with them, create, formulate then do testing, testing and more testing to get the formula perfect. Then I think of the perfect name, research packaging and finally bring the product to life!
What’s been your biggest discovery in terms of the creative process?
To trust in my na’au, or gut instinct.
What’s your workspace like and a little bit about your team?
Our production space now sits on the cliffs of Dillon Beach in California overlooking the beautiful ocean. I can smell the salty air that makes me feel close to home. My team consists of me, my husband and older daughters along with 2 people in sales. Its small and very ‘Ohana (family) style.
What’s next for Honua Skincare?
I can’t wait to complete my line with sun protection which will be launching this year. Honua is very effective in repairing sun damage, and have been working hard to create the perfect sun protection to finish off the ritual.
Do you have a creative muse?
Our HONUA: aka “Papahanaumoku” our Earth Mother Goddess.
Do you have a mantra?
Yes. Live Aloha Daily.
Do you collect anything?
Kids… (I have 4) and flowers. Both make me happy.
Do you have a favorite ingredient? What do you love about it
‘Olena (turmeric)! I love everything about her. Her energy, scent, golden color, and tremendous healing power. I love how she makes the skin glow and treats the root of all the skin issues we struggle with; sun damage/pigmentation, aging, acne and other inflammatory skin conditions. It’s also my favorite ingredient to take internally for my daily health.
How do you relax?
Sitting on my patio, listening to Hawaiian music while sipping a glass of red wine or a good beer. I might even get up and dance if a song moves me.
Where might we run into you on a Sunday morning?
At a canoe race, baseball game or playing outside with my keiki (kids). I love to play!
TAGS: behind the scenes, Honua Skincare, Kapua Browning