Page 20 - MidWeek - May 10, 2023
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 20 MIDWEEK MAY 10, 2023
     I n 2010, Kapua Browning opened an apothecary spa in her Pālolo Valley
by Ginger Keller
Skincare Business Blossoms After Hardships
 home. “Icallitaspa,butitwas
she says. “When I became an esthetician, I really wanted to look at skincare the way our family has looked at health our whole life — by treating the root of why things happen rather than masking them.”
the small business she built, her family encountered an obstacle familiar to many lo- cals: They were priced out of paradise.
ing success with her products, maybe there was a market for it. Thus, Honua Skincare was born.
izers, are made with natural Hawaiian ingredients like ‘ōlena, noni, kukui nut and sandalwood, which Brown- ing explains is sustainably sourced from a farm on Ha- wai‘i Island.
really a treatment room by the stream in the back of my house in a little shed,” she says with a smile.
From soothing bug bites and cuts to healing acne and rosacea, Browning’s ‘ohana used ʻōlena (turmeric) oil as a cure-all.
“Our family ran into dead end after dead end and almost lost the house,” she recalls. “We didn’t have anything; it was really bad. We pulled our four kids out of Hawaiian immersion school and moved to California in the middle of the year. We couldn’t last an- other day.”
“I was like, ‘Finally, I can afford to move back home!’” she exclaims. “We still don’t own a house, but baby steps. It was really sad leaving, but I don’t think Honua would’ve grown if I wasn’t forced to leave.”
“In everything we do, we strive to give back to our ho- nua as well,” says Browning, who adds that her compa- ny regularly supports local farms, reforestation and res- toration efforts, and Hawai- ian initiatives and charter schools.
Clients would flock to Browning’s humble space to reap not only the benefits of her calming energy and delicate touch but the skin- care products she made from scratch.
“It was our ‘fix it’ oil,” she says. “I knew these plants could work and I wanted to dig deeper and treat skincare differently. That was the ini- tial passion that sparked ev- erything.”
Kapua Browning
Honua — meaning Earth, land or foundation in Ha- waiian, according Brown- ing — is her way of “giving credit where credit is due.” The products, which run the gamut from oils and serums to cleansing creams and sunscreen-infused moistur-
“I grew up using a lot of traditional Hawaiian medi- cine. We did more of a holistic treatment rather than going to the doctors for everything,”
Up until then, Browning would only make her heal- ing concoctions fresh for her daily facial appointments. But with the spa closed and Browning thousands of
miles away, former clients expressed their devastation and begged her to ship orders across the Pacific.
In fact, Honua Skincare recently sponsored Hālau Kū Māna Charter School, which hosted a community stream restoration project in Maki-
While Browning was booked and busy, proud of
That’s when she had a lightbulb moment, realizing if this many people were find-
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