The first time a Kopari product came across my desk, I was struck by its adorable packaging. Then I read the ingredients. Coconut oil, the all-natural ingredient that makes everything good, was first on the list. I was sold. I rubbed the formula that smelled like vacation all over my arms and legs and happily went about my day.
It wasn't until the next morning, when I woke up to supple, dewy skin—still hydrated from the day before—that I knew this beauty brand had something special. I searched through my emails to find out more only to discover celebrities like Shay Mitchell, Karlie Kloss, and Mila Kunis were investors in the company. Like me, and the rest of the Kopari devotees, they knew a good thing when they saw it.
Since its launch in 2015, Kopari quickly garnered a cult following—turning artfully arranged Instagrams into profit. Kiana Cabell, one of the founders, explains where the idea came from: "I grew up in Hawaii and always had a love for coconut oil. Throughout my childhood, I used to make DIY skincare products out of natural ingredients I would find by the beach—and used coconut oil head-to-toe.
"When I moved to New York and went to culinary school at the Natural Gourmet Institute, I decided I wanted to launch a product, but, obviously thought it would be food. As I became immersed in the organic food industry, I learned more about the incredible benefits of coconut oil on your body from the inside out, and it dawned on me how multitasking coconut oil really was, not only for cooking but also for beauty. I began looking for ways to launch a coconut-centric beauty brand."
Kopari focuses on quality, efficacious ingredients, and transparency in both sourcing and manufacturing—which is a feat in an oversaturated market. "We are one of the first coconut-based skincare brands on the market," Cabell says. "We have taken this versatile ingredient and innovated to enhance its natural benefits. When it came time for product development, we tested hundreds of coconut oils from around the world in search for the best available specific to beauty use. We were amazed when we found it in the Philippines. It is sustainably sourced from small family farms in the southern islands, harvested, and pressed to ensure freshness. The aroma, absorption, and moisturization far surpassed anything else we found on the market."
I asked about the secret to sparking the interest of A-list celebrities. Cabell said that it came about organically, a mix of great product and substantial connections. "One of our co-founders is James Brennan, the co-founder of Suja Juice. His background and history in the industry allowed him to develop strong relationships with countless celebrities based on their genuine interest in and love for the brand. So the celebrity connections and their investment in Kopari has been natural."
"In general," Cabell continued, "people love coconut oil. So that's definitely contributed to our success. However, with Kopari, we're really filling a gap in the market. Not only do we offer naturally derived, coconut-based products, but we've found ways to enhance the natural benefits of coconut oil and optimize it even further." They are serious about maintaining authenticity, something consumers have really responded to—it's about a lifestyle. That, and their bright, pleasing aesthetic and digital presence.
The brand's hero product, Organic Coconut Melt ($38) is 100% pure, unrefined, organic coconut oil. It's the reason I fell in love with the brand and its most popular product. Cabell recommends you use it for everything—as a deep-conditioning hair mask, hydrating eye cream, makeup remover, dry-shave oil, and belly balm to ward off stretch marks.
So what's next for this beauty up-and-comer? "We just launched into all Sephora stores nationwide," Cabell said, excitedly. Clearly, we have a lot more to look forward to.
Have you tried Kopari products? Let us know which is your favorite in the comments below, and check out these 13 life-changing beauty products to try before you die.