Leahlani Skincare is more than a skincare brand. Each swoon-worthy product is an extension of founder and creator Leah Klasovsky’s healing touch and holistic skincare expertise. The thoughtfully sourced and carefully blended ingredients create soothing potions that feel like an endless summer.
Leah is just as beautiful as the products she creates, even her emails exude sunshine and warmth. We had the pleasure of chatting with her about how she started her brand, what brought her to the beautiful islands of Hawaii (feel free to be as insanely jealous as we are), plus which products she can’t live without.
1.Tell us about your background. What were you doing before starting Leahlani Skincare and how did you transition to making your own products?
I graduated from a Holistic Esthetician school on Maui ten years ago. That is where my passion for skin care, healing and formulating truly began. I struggled with horrible skin, I had cystic acne for years. It didn’t show up until my mid 20’s, and it was devastating. At the time, I was in school on Oahu and I was just about to transfer into the secondary education program- I had wanted to be a high school poetry teacher. My husband had just graduated from college and as my skin got worse, so did my health. Intuitively, I knew that the two were related. Somehow, through browsing online, I was drawn to this amazing holistic school on Maui. In less than two months, we packed everything we owned and hopped islands, and that is where my journey began.
After graduation, I studied my heart out. I would give up to six facials a day and began to immerse myself into blending and formulating my own products- and trying to heal my own skin. I became the Spa Director and principal esthetician at a lovely spa on Kauai, and it was there that I was able to let my creativity run wild and create customized spa treatments that coincided with the holidays. I blended our Pumpkin Peels for the Fall, our Chocolate Facials for Valentines Day and our own Hawaiian Salt Scrub for our body services. It was so much fun, and so rewarding. We ended up moving back to the North Shore, and I rented space in a salon in Hanalei and did my own holistic skincare services. Most all of my facials were ‘bespoke’ facials, I would create customized facials for each client and blend my own products for each individual. My clients began asking if they could purchase the products I was using on them, I have never given much thought into selling my products before this time… and once I did, Leahlani Skincare evolved. I made the choice to leave my practice as an esthetician a little over 5 years ago and focus entirely on my skincare line, and although I miss it terribly, I feel like I am still giving facials via Leahlani Skincare. The love and intention is there, in each jar.
2. Describe your daily skincare routine, what are a few products you can’t live without?
This is actually a hard question to answer right now because for the past 18 months, I have been formulating some amazing new skincare products that are joining Leahlani Skincare this summer- so I have been immersing myself in getting each formula just right. So this means multiple face washing daily, daily masking and lots of at home spa parties 🙂
But overall, I do it all. I simply cannot live without my Honey Love 3-in-1 morning and night, my Mermaid Mask (especially on #Mermaidmaskmonday) and I am always covered from head to toe in my Mahana Coco Infusion, in my hair and on my body, its my all time favorite.
3. How did you end up in Hawaii?
I had always wanted to come to Hawaii, even as a little girl. Island living was my favorite daydream. My brother and my dear friend bought me the ticket to Kauai on my 21st birthday. I remember telling my grandmother, who was visiting from England, that I was going to fall in love and get married barefoot on the beach. I got on the plane and five hours later, my flight arrived in Lihue airport at9:30pm . I can still remember the feeling I had when exited the airport and could smell that thick, tropical air.. it was intoxicating, and it felt like home. I woke up the next morning and walked across the street and saw the view overlooking Hanalei, I knew I wouldn’t be leaving…. not then and perhaps never. I met Oliver (my husband) a few short months later, and here we are, almost 14 years later. My parents moved here about five years ago, which has been a huge blessing.
4. What has been the most challenging aspect of starting and owning your own business?
I imagine each individual business has its own challenges in regards to what business it is specifically. The food industry will have different challenges than the transportation industry etc. etc. I consider skincare to be very personal. Everyone has their own unique skin type, and everyone will resonate differently with ingredients and products etc. I wouldn’t say that it is ‘challenging’, but I am very aware of this. I consider myself somewhat of a skin expert, so there is a lot of thought that goes into each product I make. How will it resonate with dry skin? With rosacea? Even with acne, there are so many different variations of acne, and where the acne is on the face tells its own unique story. Skin is intricate and requires its owns special care.
I suppose that because I have gone through my own personal skin issues, I am very sensitive, aware and passionate about this. Leahlani skincare is created with a lot of heart, a lot of knowledge, and a lot of passion. I care about each individual who is using my products and I want them to not only love my products, I want them to enjoy the entire ritual that comes with using them, from the moment that the jar is open. That is my intention.
Having a background in skincare for the past 10 years makes it even more meaningful and personal because I get multiple emails daily from people seeking individual skin advice, asking which products would best resonate with their skin type. There are so many factors when it comes to suggesting an individual skin ritual and making specific suggestions to someone in regards to their skin. I personally answer each email individually, even if it takes me a few days to respond. I just wish there were more hours in each day! That being said, one of the most challenging aspects is time, I suppose. Everything takes time, from bringing ideas into fruition, to mastering formulas… and time is something that we cannot 100% control. So you have to have patience and faith in the timing of each venture. Wouldn’t it be nice if each time we had an idea we could snap our fingers and it would magically materialize? It is a delicate and meaningful process.
5. How do you choose the ingredients for your products?
Great question! There is a lot of research that goes into each ingredient, and then a very long testing phase. An ingredient has to captivate all of my senses. The texture, the scent, the feeling on the skin when applying, and how the skin resonates with each ingredient once it is left on the skin and once it is washed off. The entire experience of using each ingredient must be lovely, it should be unique and thoroughly enjoyable. And then, once you start blending and infusing, that’s when the magic happens. Ingredients begin to transform and metamorphose. It is pure plant, oil, fruit and nectar alchemy for me. It is very similar to cooking in a way and I am very much in love with the entire process.
Skin benefits are essential for choosing ingredients. I adore pure, raw organic Hawaiian honey for its antibacterial properties and its moisturizing factors. You can find it in our Honey Love, Mermaid Mask and new products we will be launching soon. Tropical oils are some of my favorite, you will find cold pressed, organic oils in our Coco Infusions and Serums. Essential oils are crucial for their skin and aromatherapy benefits. I am particularly fond of French Lavender, Chamomile, Blue Tansy and Neroli. I love superfood ingredients, that promote cellular renewal and literally ‘feed’ your skin. You can feel them working their magic on the skin, and the glow that you are left with is the proof. Our Mermaid Mask is full of superfood ingredients, and is essentially a ‘skin food’. I love both calming and stimulating ingredients. Some women enjoy clothing shopping or shoe shopping, for me, its ingredients shopping for my products that makes my heart skip a beat.
You know- my husband named our company ‘Leahlani’, Lani means heaven in Hawaiian, and he said when I was talking about skincare or facials or in the studio blending… I was in heaven. He is right! All of the ingredients I use are the best that mother nature has to offer to help heal and replenish the skin, tried and true.
6. Do you have any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Dive in and go for it! Be authentic, be ‘you’ and trust in your vision. If you love what you do, you will be pouring your heart into it- this takes ‘work’ to another level.
Whomever said “If you love what you do, you will never work another day in your life”- I disagree. If you love what you do, and truly put your heart and soul into your work, your life and your work will mingle together. You will eat, sleep and breathe it. Your creativity and ideas will be bursting at the seams, everything you see will inspire you in some way. There will be days when you feel ‘stuck’ and unable to get anything done, and days when you fly out of bed and manage to get a week’s worth of work done in a matter of hours. The ebb and flow of owning a business, especially when you are the one creating your product, has a distinct rhythm. It is so worth it and so rewarding and will fill your heart to the brim. It is such a fun ride.. there will be twists and turns, ups and downs, dips and dives, smooth sailing and rough seas.. but you have to let the wind fill your sails, point yourself in the right direction, and enjoy the journey.
7. Do you have any favorite clean beauty makeup brands?
I get asked this question a lot.. There are so many out there that I have been longing to try, but the truth is, I am not much of a makeup person. I have a very minimal approach to makeup and live in a humid climate, so less is more. But I have been wanting to try all of these amazing products I have seen green bloggers raving about, I just have to find time to sit and order them. We are lucky to have a lot of clean options out there now, this was not the case when I was in my teens and wore a lot more makeup than I do now.
8. Are there any new products on the horizon that you can share with us?
Oh yes! We have quite a few new products that will be launching very soon. I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but I will say, they are exquisite. They have taken nearly two years to completely formulate. I started with their name, and then each formula blossomed into fruition. Each little jar is bursting at the seams with aloha, and I simply cannot wait to introduce them to everyone.
Leahlani Skincare’s Coco Infusion and Mermaid Mask are featured in our Clean Beauty Box SEA. CLICK HERE to learn more about these products along with other products offered in the box.