Imagine a ritual of elixirs for your skin that are so powerful they can treat almost any skin concern that you have. They melt into the skin, and treat that condition from within, through an alchemy of holistic healing, traditional medicine, and modern technology. These elixirs are made from only the finest, the purest, most effective, and organic ingredients. Ingredients that can only be found in a special place on Earth, where volcanic springs dance upon tropical mountains, and cool, flowing rivers run through soft, sandy beaches into an ocean as clear as a cloudless night sky.
I know it sounds like a scene from Pirates of the Caribbean (minus the pirates), so it may surprise you to know that everything I say is true. This “elixir ritual” that sounds like a concoction Hermione Granger whipped up in a spell is actually the Skin Ritual of Honua Hawaiian Skincare.
Kapua Browning is the maker of magic. Not literally… but almost. After working as an esthetician for over 10 years in Hawaii, Kapua believed there had to be a better product out there that could treat her clients' combinations of frustrating skin conditions with the help of nature without compromising the planet. She was so dissatisfied with how existing skincare companies’ go-to protocol was to create a product that was only ever able to treat one specific skin concern - when most of her clients always had more than one concern they wished to address. Their lack of innovation was short-sighted and quite disappointing.
At the time, most existing skincare brands were also quite unethical in the sourcing of their ingredients. They ravaged Mother Earth, taking as much as they could; never giving back to her; clinically altering and extracting the organic ingredients so much that they were barely even existent in the final products; and then brutally testing their products on innocent animals.
Then, to add insult to injury, the use of plastic packaging in the beauty industry had become out of control to the point where it was wreaking havoc on our oceans, land and wildlife.
Kapua knew there had to be a better way to treat the planet and her clients as equals. There had to be something out there... and, boy was she right! She only had to look to her own backyard for the answers.
2015: Honua Skincare, A Superstar is Born!
Kapua decided it was time to create her own skincare line that combined her scientific experience and knowledge of skin anatomy, with her holistic education of cultural, botanical healing.
Honua Skincare: “Our natural skincare line draws inspiration from traditional Hawaiian healing practices to offer effective, beautiful skincare products and practices that are clean, green, organic and cruelty-free. The name Honua comes from Mama Honua (Mother Earth) because the Earth is the heart of our company, the foundation where our botanicals are born. Our name gives credit to her. Honua Hawaiian Skincare shares with the world a new approach to skincare through traditional methodologies and Hawaiian healing botanicals. We hope you will join our skincare and self-care adventure.”
Being a native to Hawaii, Kapua was raised very close to nature, and has a natural intuition and love for Mama Honua (Mother Earth). She studied Chinese medicine and Hawaiian healing to quench her thirst for knowledge in areas that she had always shown interest in. Her acquired skills and education were then able to complement her experience as an esthetician. This gave her the unique position and understanding of how ingredients work synergistically with the skin from a holistic and scientific perspective.
Teaming science and nature is not a new concept in skincare. Brands have been making claims of curing skin conditions with the help of naturally-derived clinically-improved ingredients for decades. Even ancient civilizations used a combination of chemicals and plants for beauty purposes. The Shang Dynasty era (1760BC) was the first on record to use chemistry for skincare, using mushrooms and lead powder for lightening the face… Oh! The things we’ve done for vanity.
Many brands rely predominantly on science to do the heavy lifting in skincare products. But this just means that there are more harsh man-made chemicals going onto our skin.
Honua Skincare’s philosophy is that Mama Honua provides the things that we need to survive and thrive as humans, and our health and wellness are better off for it. But when we take from her the things that we need, we ensure that we also give back, respect, nourish, and love her. The one thing a lot of other brands have not managed to nail is their responsibility to our Mama Honua.
Looking to Nature.
The active botanical ingredients in Honua Skincare’s range can only be found in parts of Hawaii, which is what makes these products so special. Each active ingredient is chosen for its unique healing, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory or other powerful property, and has proven to be extremely effective.
Majority of the active ingredients are derived from La‘au Lapa‘au (pronounced la-o-la-pow), Hawaiian healing plants. Take the Olena plant, for instance. This Hawaiian turmeric plant works as a potent anti-inflammatory, and has successfully treated many of Kapua’s clients skin conditions in her Apothecary Spa. Naturally high in Vitamin C and Selenium, the Olena plant helps with signs of aging, acne, dehydration, sun damage/hyper-pigmentation, eczema, psoriasis and rosacea. You’ll find this wonder plant extract in their Olena Beauty Oil. After cleansing, toning and using your serums, apply 1-2 drops over your entire face and neck, morning and night, for a truly immersive experience.
Another superstar ingredient found in Honua Skincare is the Hawaiian Noni plant. It’s rich in antioxidants, which includes vitamins A and C, flavonoids, potassium, linoleic and amino acids - which all aid in improving skin’s elasticity and tone. Noni can also repair collagen, which depletes as we age. To experience Noni, try Kapua Skincare’s Youth Serum. After cleansing and toning, massage a pearl sized drop onto your face and neck, and always follow with a moisturizer to “seal in” the serum. You wouldn’t want all those gorgeous antioxidants escaping your skin, now would you?
The Aina Mask is the only product in Honua Skincare’s stunning range to contain the revered Kalo plant. The Kalo plant is an especially sacred plant to Hawaiian people. In Kumolipo - the Hawaiian creation chant - the story goes that Papa (Mother Earth) and Wakea (Sky Father) gave birth to Ho’ohokukalani - the most beautiful woman of all time. When she was grown, she gave birth to a stillborn child, Haloa-naka (ha = breath, loa = long, ka = quivering), who was placed in the Earth. Haloa-naka, or Kalo, then fed his brother, Ho’ohokukalani’s second born son, Haloa. It is from the second son that Hawaiians trace their lineage. This is why the cherished Kalo plant is also known as the “big brother” to Hawaiian people.
As mentioned earlier, there is a very specific ritual that Kapua designed using her skincare line. This is known as the Honua Ritual. It “offers a uniquely Hawaiian experience, from soil to skin to soul”.
The Honua Ritual.
Start with the hibiscus and rose scented Pa’akai Cleansing Cream. Massage 1-2 pumps into your face and neck for up to 10 minutes, while slowly inhaling and exhaling. Rinse off with lukewarm water;
Then, take 2-3 pumps of the Hawaiian Beauty Water on a reusable cotton pad, and gently work the pad across the face, avoiding the delicate eye area;
Apply 1-2 pumps of the Aloha Youth Serum to the face, neck, and decolletage, and use long, gentle strokes, while inhaling and exhaling deeply, until the serum has absorbed;
Then add 2-3 drops of the Olena Beauty Oil to your hands, and slowly massage the oil into your face, neck, and decolletage for up to 10 minutes, inhaling & exhaling as you go;
The final step of the Honua Ritual is 2-3 pumps of the Malu Day Cream with SPF 30, applied to the face, neck, and decolletage, to give your skin that added protection from the sun.
I feel relaxed just writing about it.
Locally Sourced, Globally Loved.
Another amazing element to note about Honua Skincare is the sustainable origins of their ingredients. They only source from farms that use sustainable farming practices, where the ingredients are organic or wild-crafted.
Wildcrafted means that plants are harvested from their natural habitat, rather than forced to grow in controlled agricultural situations, where things like pesticides and fertilizers are used. There is a regenerative agricultural movement happening right now where people are starting to understand the importance of not using pesticides and fertilizers as it degrades the soil and the quality of horticulture. You may even start to notice farms and ranches taking a more old-school approach to farming, and even hearing words like “regenerative” and “wildcrafted” being thrown around in conversation. This is an amazing movement that we can all look forward to.
Honua Skincare also uses local farms. Why is this important? When brands source from local suppliers, they’re reducing their impact on the environment through minimal need for logistics and freight.
Not only that, but all of Honua Skincare’s products are sold in reusable and recyclable glass, and packaged in recyclable cardboard. The tops of the bottles and jars are made from varying kinds of plastic, which the team acknowledges is not a sustainable or eco-friendly option. They are currently working hard to find more ethical options that will not minimize the integrity of the skin ritual experience for their customers.
A Passion for Culture.
Kapua’s love for her heritage - the music, the hula, the language, and the Hawaiian spirit - are evident throughout her products. The names of each product have been lovingly selected to represent different elements and words from her mother tongue.
Interestingly, Honua Skincare products are not only botanically-infused. Take the Pa’akai Cleansing Cream, for example. Not only does it contain hibiscus flower, lavender, and rose petals, but Kapua has also added wild harvested seaweed for skin strength and Hawaiian salt for cleansing. You can wake up to the Hawaiian ocean every morning, no matter where you live...
A Better World.
If the world can learn anything from Honua Skincare, it’s that Mama Honua is our most cherished commodity that must be respected in order for our world to keep on existing. For too long, humans and corporations have disrespected and disregarded her. Now is the time to undo the damage we’ve done through replenishing what we have taken. We must look at the bigger picture, make sure Mama Honua is fed and loved, so that she can keep providing us, and let’s leave this world a better place.
All of the brands we promote are vegan and cruelty-free, sustainably and ethically sourced and made, and are manufactured using low-waste or plastic-free packaging.
Written by Emma Masotti. Emma is an Australian now living in Austin, TX, and has been a trained esthetician for over 15 years. She is a sustainable skincare writer, educating and building awareness around proper skin health that doesn’t cost the earth.