Where do you want to expand your brand in the next five years?
I would like to see Lovacado as an established brand in Canada and the USA in five years. Lovacado was born in Canada but, I see it as a brand that will grow in the USA, and Canada will reap the rewards of such growth.
What are the skincare benefits of paradise nut oil? Why did you choose to use this component in your products?
Paradise Nut Oil is 100% Lecythis Minor seed oil, and it’s cold-pressed. It’s available in limited quantities due to its wild origin, and it has characteristics that make it unique. It contains excellent antioxidant and moisturizing properties due to its high content of unsaturated fatty acids higher than 70% and vitamin E. Paradise Nut Oil forms a protective film in the epidermal layer that blocks the evaporation of moisture, which reduces the loss of Trans Epidermal Water (TEWL). It promotes and maintains lasting hydration, acting as an excellent skin protector, highlighting its anti-aging properties. Clinical studies done in Bonn-Germany prove the efficacy of Paradise Nut Oil to combat wrinkles and visible signs of aging. In the studies, 90% of the volunteers observed a positive effect in reducing wrinkles in only four weeks of use. Its protective moisturizing and antioxidant properties are thanks to the presence of omega 3, 6, and 9, essential fatty acids, and vitamin E. This ingredient was added as a new product because it’s a novel green ingredient. Its origin is from an ethically sustainable source, creating a positive impact on the environment and communities in the Colombian Caribbean.
What are the skincare benefits of avocado oil and why did you decided to use this component on your products?
Extra virgin avocado oil has many benefits for the skin, hair, and scalp. That’s why it’s considered a superfood! It’s rich in oleic acid (a monounsaturated fat), polyunsaturated fats, carotenoids, and other antioxidant-rich nutrients. The fatty acids inside the oil hydrates and softens dry skin, hair, and scalp too. It comforts sensitive skin and calms inflammation. It fights the signs of aging and diminishes sun damage, plus makes a great oil cleanser. Avocado oil contains vitamin D, which is crucial for the generation of new hair follicles. When applied on the scalp and throughout the hair, it maintains and encourages hair growth. The oil can be left overnight and shampooed out in the morning. This process may help to reduce dandruff and dry, flaky skin on the scalp. I decided to use extra virgin avocado oil as my signature product because it’s natural, non-GMO, cruelty-free, and multifunctional. It’s a simple ingredient that provides so many uses that it’s truly a fantastic ingredient that everyone should have at home.
How was the process of founding LOVACADO?
In 2013 I struggled with hair loss and dry and damaged hair from years of hair coloring. I had started to incorporate more natural foods and products into my life, and I wanted to find a natural product for my hair problems. In Colombia, my grandmother used to prepare an avocado hair mask every time an avocado was going bad, not to throw it away. My aunt reminded me of this ritual, and I tried to do it myself but, it was messy and time-consuming. As a result, I decided to search online for avocado hair masks. Back in 2013, most of the hair masks available were a mix of natural ingredients (coconut, olive, or castor oil) and other chemicals such as silicone which simply mask the hair damage but don’t really nourish and improve the actual health of the hair cuticle. On the quest for an avocado hair mask, I stumbled upon “extra virgin avocado oil.” I had never heard of avocado oil, but it was 100% from a natural source and edible, so I decided to give it a try. When my online order arrived, I was surprised by the strong acidic smell. Since I wasn’t going to eat it and was only going to apply on my hair, I didn’t think too much about the condition of the oil. I knew I didn’t like the smell, but I had essential oils at home, so I just added a few drops to mask the scent. This whole search made me more curious, and I decided to continue looking for information about avocado oil. I ended up meeting my current provider after watching one of his videos showing the cold-pressing process of avocados in his family-own plant in Mexico. When I watched the video, I fell in love with the oil at first sight. The color was dark and emerald green, and the oil was thick and rich. The avocado oil I saw on the YouTube video didn’t resemble the oil I had ordered online. That’s when I learned that the oil I received from Amazon was rancid and not extra virgin avocado oil either. It took me a few weeks to learn about this, and when I received a free sample from Mexico, I knew I had liquid gold in my hand. The texture and scent were completely different, and the results after the first use were amazing. After a few weeks of using the oil religiously twice a week, my friends began to ask how and why my hair was looking healthy. As I began to share my oil with family and friends, it became clear that this amazing edible oil should become a staple in people’s beauty rituals. That was the moment when Lovacado was born.
What challenges did you encounter during the pandemic and how it helped you grow as an entrepreneur?
During COVID-19, I went home to work remotely until further notice. It became impossible for me to split my time between work and Lovacado. As a result, sales suffered enormously. Plus, unlike bigger brands, I’m a one woman-shop, and I don’t have a production, sales, accounting, or customer service department. Everything starts and ends with me. Canada was very strict, and we were all on lockdown as of mid-March 2020. I couldn’t get oil from Mexico, my local supplier ran out of my bottles and pumps. As a small brand operating as hobby/side hustle, I wasn’t really prepared to operate under the new conditions. I didn’t have a reserve of bottles or oil.
In addition, learning of so many businesses closing down and people losing their jobs (even my husband lost his job), I felt awful trying to sell my product to people in a time of need. I had a hard time pushing sales to people when money was scarce. Thinking about people’s health and wellbeing at home seemed more important than focusing on making sales online. I created a hand sanitizer with alcohol and avocado oil, which works great but, I couldn’t sell online because I couldn’t ship alcohol via regular mail. So, I decided to distribute for free and went to local shelters, street corners where homeless people lived, and passed by high-risk neighborhoods and gave out the product for free. I knew my product would help somehow, but I couldn’t sell online, and spas were closed, so it made sense to give out to those in need. Covid-19 taught me a lot about priorities, and in a big way, it pushed me to finally take the plunge and dedicate myself to Lovacado 100%.
What innovations does LOVACADO bring to the skincare industry?
Going back to basics doesn’t sound like innovation, but it’s nice to take a different approach in a world where fast beauty and fashion are the norms. We want consumers to think about their daily beauty rituals and simplify them by incorporating Lovacado products. Our products help minimize the number of ingredients people use daily, and it’s a great way to introduce raw, natural ingredients to their daily beauty rituals. We are minimizing and uplifting a beauty ritual that is not a fad but a mindful way to care for our skin, hair, and scalp.
What makes a proper skincare routine? Why should people follow a daily skincare routine?
A proper skincare routine begins with good sleep, optimal nutrition, and plenty of water. It is followed by proper use of beauty and wellness products to provide the skin hydration and nourishment for every season and mood swing. Yes, our skin reacts differently to products depending on the seasons and also on the state of our hormones. Sometimes people forget to listen to their skin needs before running out and getting the latest products off the shelves.
It’s important to have a proper skincare routine because, in the long run, the skin will show how much or how little you’ve cared for it. Age spots, rough patches, and wrinkles are just a few results of poor skincare routines. Hydration, proper nutrition, and plenty of sleep is the perfect combination for great skin. However, it’s not the reality we can all live in daily. That’s why it’s so important to make sure we use the proper beauty products because even if we use one or two key ingredients per day, the skin will be thankful. In the long run, it will be noticeable.
What natural ingredients does LOVACADO use for its products?
Lovacado signature products use 100% Extra Virgin Avocado Oil (EVAO). It adds a touch of one essential oil (Lavender, Lemon, or Sweet Orange) to add an aromatherapy value to the experience. Our Avocado Powder mask is also food grade and 100% made from the pulp of avocado. It has no additives or preservatives. Paradise Nut Facial Oil is 100% Lecythis Minor Seed Oil is a novel green ingredient. Its whole origin is from an ethically sustainable source, creating a positive impact on the environment and communities in the Colombian Caribbean. Our Harmony Face Mist (toner and spritzer) is made with natural floral waters and witch hazel. A beautiful combination of natural ingredients to balance and cool off the skin. Plus, it helps absorb serums and oil deep into the dermis of the skin.
How does LOVACADO differ from other brands?
Our Extra Virgin avocado oil and Avocado Powder are food-grade ingredients. They both have FDA approval and are edible. Our suppliers send us their product directly. We don’t go through a third-party company, so we’re able to guarantee the highest quality of each ingredient. Normally, vendors sell to third-party companies, which mix the oil with other ingredients to maximize profits. Hence, the crazy price difference between avocado oil in supermarkets and other online mass retailers. Our Lovacado Oil and Avocado Powder are backed by lab certifications that confirm the quality of the products, and it’s something we take very seriously. The Paradise Nut Facial Oil resulted from a research project led by the Swiss Government in Colombia. The raw ingredient has clinical data and research to back up the findings. Many people will see this ingredient in major cosmetic lines going forward. We’re now working on showing off this product to consumers because it’s raw and it’s the purest oil available. Overall, Lovacado paves the way for trends in skin and hair care. In 2013, we commercialized Extra Virgin Avocado Oil for skin and hair care and introduced Avocado Powder for mask use. A few years later, Avocado oil is in countless skin and hair brand products. In 2021, we introduced Paradise Nut Oil (Lecythis Minor Seed Oil). I can guarantee that in the next few months we’ll be seeing many companies adding this ingredient to their beauty products but, remember Lovacado introduced it first as a raw ingredient.
Why more people should choose non-toxic products over traditional cosmetics?
Women use an average of 12-15 beauty and hair products a day – nearly 200 chemicals – according to a 2004 study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit environment and health advocacy group. These chemicals are absorbed daily by our skin (our largest organ), so it’s important to look for ways to minimize the number of chemicals that the body absorbs. Many ingredients found in beauty and hair products have been shown to produce different types of cancer and other ailments, so it’s important to be mindful of the ingredients we apply on our body. In the long run, these chemicals affect the body’s health, which is why Lovacado works hard to introduce products that are natural and clean. We strive to use ingredients that are food grade and create multifunctional products that have less than five ingredients, none of which will be toxic to the body.
What new products is LOVACADO developing?
We recently launched Paradise Nut Facial Oil (Lecythis Minor Seed Oil). This amazing raw ingredient which won In-Cosmetics Global Green Ingredient Award in 2020, is our latest product. The oil forms a protective film in the epidermal layer of the skin that blocks the evaporation of moisture, which reduces the loss of Trans Epidermal Water (TEWL). This promotes and maintains lasting hydration; and acts as an excellent protector of the skin, and it’s filled with skin-boosting properties. It took us almost two years to launch but, it’s been amazing to see the results first hand. At Lovacado, we are always searching for simple and effective ingredients. We want customers to use our products alone or combine them with their favorite products. Either way, they’ll notice that Lovacado products are effective, simple, and easy to incorporate into their daily beauty rituals.