If we learned anything from this year’s beauty talks and discoveries, it is that the green beauty industry still has a long way to go. Finding a truly ethical and organic brand is like finding a needle in a haystack. If there is one farm to face skincare brand that should be celebrated this year, it is Pure Mana Hawaii. Nature provides us with all we need to be beautiful and nature is at the core of this brand. From growing, to pressing their own carrier oils, the Founders have their hands in every part of the process. I am a big fan of the passionate women behind this splendid skincare line. I met Sue Mandini and Kollette Stith in 2017. Their story and skincare has captured my heart. In their own words, Pure Mana Hawaii is their gift – “from our soil to your soul”. Find out what makes this brand special and worth the hype. Read on for our Q & A.
In today’s world of fast everything, I would describe your skincare line as slow beauty. The luxury that your brand represents is not vain, it is sensuous and poetic. When was the pivotal moment when you both decided it was time to make skincare?
Together, we took a 3 day hike through the Haleakala Crater, Maui.
At the peak where you are able to view Maui’s sister, the Big Island, was our pivotal moment. Something within us ignited a deep spiritual connection to the place that nurtures, sustains, heals and protects us and our families.
At that moment we saw the Big Island as the guiding star in perfect alignment with our vision to share the bounty of the healing “āina” (land) that we were both so much a part of. We went on this trip knowing we had precious ingredients to contribute to something greater but we didn’t know how, until this point.
During this time of our life we were focusing on our families, building our home and working the land. We were building a strong connection to the earth, which revealed a deeper understanding of life. We knew the importance of feeding our plants, our trees, our internal bodies, but the thought of feeding our skin awakened us to developing the purest skincare line we could find.
What are the main ingredients that you work with and why are they important?
The main carrier oil for all our products is organic macadamia nut oil. I am constantly impressed by how quickly this oil absorbs into your skin and never leaves a residue. It is the best anti-aging ingredient due to its high amounts of vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and more importantly, essential fatty acids.
Macadamia nut oil, because of its almost perfect blend of fatty and essential fatty acids replenishes not only the elements of the lipid barrier lost with time, but also feeds the skin what our bodies do not naturally produce. We believe our skin instinctively assimilates this vital nourishment and pulls in all the goodness. When others first witnessed our skin glowing from daily use of this oil, we knew we had “hit oil”.
We also grow, harvest, pulp, and press our own organic Kona green coffee oil. Again, the only certified organic Kona green coffee oil produced in the USA that we know of. This bean produces a green aromatic oil; the embodiment of the energizing life force of Hawaii. It is pressed while it is raw rather than roasted. In addition to caffeine, this results in high levels of phytosterols, essential fatty acids and chlorogenic acids. The caffeine is useful in improving circulation to the skin, plumping fine lines, reducing puffiness and dark circles around the eyes. The phytosterols are known to help improve the skin barrier after inflammatory environmental stressors that can damage the outer layer of skin.
Tell me more about your farm, the process, and how long it takes to make a batch of your skincare?
Our tropical sister farm is Mahina Mele Farm, located on the fertile rich volcanic soils of the Kona Coast on the Big Island. We are the ONLY certified organic macadamia nut oil and green coffee oil processors that we know of in the US. Mahina Mele primarily grows macadamia nuts and Kona coffee but there over 50 varieties of tropical fruits and vegetables all over the land. Once the macadamia nuts are hand-picked, then husked, it takes about a week for the nuts to dry in their shell before cracking. Once cracked the nuts are washed, hand-sorted and dehydrated for 3 days at low temps to maintain their vitality. The nuts are then ready to be pressed for oil and allowed to settle and age. Once ready, our oil is then pulled through an additional filter to remove any impurities resulting in a cosmetic grade oil. Every step in each process is done by hand and with great care. The labor intensive processing produces a pure oil that has over a 3 year shelf life. We use gourmet nuts to produce a gourmet oil for your skin. This entire process takes about two months.
Once our oils are ready for formulation, the time in the lab is much different. The elixirs are blended, tested and ready to be bottled and boxed in about 1 week. We are both involved in every step of the way and sometimes we bring in help from our children and friends to make the production line go a little faster.
How did you decide on the host of four products and what are the best ways to work them into a skincare routines?
We decided to launch Pure Mana with our moisturizing line that truly represented the mana we nurtured in our products. These products delivered a sense of luxury and deeply stimulated the senses even before they are applied to skin. We have witnessed our consumers excitement and testimonies to the effectiveness of these powerful oil, so we decided to make our mark with these pilar elixirs.
Every morning I wake up to 4 pumps of Radiant Glow and warm it in my hands. I take a deep breath then massage the oil into my arms and chest. To complete my morning ritual, I run my fingers from my moisturized hands through my hair for quick soft glow. If I feel dry from the previous days of environmental stressors I will apply Soul Serum and Vitality C in the same way as I do in the evening.
Every evening after I cleanse my face I massage 1 pump of Soul Serum to my decolletage and face avoiding my eye area. Next, with one drop of Vitality C, I gently pat this delicate serum under and the sides of my eye area with a finishing touch on my lips.
Purity Boost is a spot treatment or booster to your existing moisturizing regimen. It is also a great alternative for people who are undergoing medical treatments and are sensitive to essentials and botanical oils. Purity Boost is a gentle moisturizer for their skin.
You are careful about sustainability and healthy ingredients. Why is this important to you, what certifications do you have and how hard was the process of making your products both effective and free of chemicals.
We live and breathe an organic lifestyle and share that with our families and children. Using healthy skincare is just as important as the food we eat. We also ingest through our skin and what put on our largest organ matters most. We are not only certified organic growers but processors. Actually our methods are beyond the standards measurements of being certified organic. This is a costly and lengthy endeavour, but we value honesty and being able to inform the consumer that what they are purchasing is free of chemicals and grown with integrity. Our manufacturing values are clearly represented in our mission that the products we use to enhance our well-being should never, and need not, cause harm to people, animals, or the environment in the process of creating them.
What is your philosophy on wellness and beauty?
We believe beauty is within and when you radiate true beauty from your soul, you are the most attractive being around.
However, it is important to feed your body the nutrients it need to sustain a glowing and vibrant lifestyle. Heathy food seems to be easily obtained nowadays, so right now the main objective in our busy lives is too incorporate more breath and mindfulness into a daily practice. In experiencing beauty, we love the way aromatherapy enhances our mood and embodies the essence of the botanicals. Most importantly, we believe that wellness comes from being true to yourself, being your best self, and appreciating all that surrounds you.
Sometimes daily we often get thrown curve balls that make us reevaluate our lifestyle. I attribute our low impact lifestyle for teaching us a natural flexibility that helps us adjust to the ever changing flow of the energy that surrounds us. In the end, it is all a state of mind and human beings have the ability to get really good at what they practice.
What makes your brand different from others on the market right now?
Pure Mana is a vertically integrated skincare company that is farm direct. Our motto is ”from our soil to your soul”® I don’t know any other brands that are growing and pressing their own organic carrier oils.
We designed our brand to be gender-free which means that men love it as much as women do. Once the men start seeing the benefits of having healthy glowing skin they are instantly attracted to our brand. The look, feel, and smell of Pure Mana Hawaii appeals to all genders.
Can you share any future goals?
This entire journey we have been self funded which means we can only grow as fast as we sell. Development is complete and we are ready to take off and know in the right hands much good can come to our brand. So our patience is a virtue and we are prepared to be discovered. Once we grow we will slowly introduce our tropical skincare line; complete with macadamia milk cleansers, mineral toners, tropical exfoliators, nourishing masques, and botanical haircare.
We want Pure Mana to thrive so we can help other local farms become financially successful by providing them with the equipment to process different forms of rare and dynamic botanicals they currently grow. We will then buy these ingredients from them to be used in our skincare formulations. It’s a win-win. The Big Island has the capability to become completely sustainable. In the long run, we would love to contribute in any way we can towards this goal.