Over two decades ago, Rahua (pronounced "ra-wa") co-founder Fabian Lliguin, was introduced to the wonderful Rahua oil which thrives in the Amazon rainforest. The tribeswomen there, who hand-prepare the highly potent oil, have used it on their hair for years resulting in long, lustrous locks. Fabian took a small amount the amazing oil back to his New York salon to try on his clients, and he was amazed to find dry, damaged strands of hair springing back to life when treated with the ingredient. Today, he and his fellow co-founder and wife, Anna Ayers, utilise the Amazonian oil in their luxury beauty brand, and even named it after the ingredient! We caught up with Anna to find out more about the tribeswomen they work in close collaboration with, the Amazon rainforest and their clean, earth-friendly brand.
As a husband and wife team with a passion for beauty, how did your worlds come together?
In a hair salon, of course, that’s where the magic happens! I met Fabian in one of his New York City salons at the time. I had gone in for a cut and colour - we hit it off, became friends, and have had a strong connection ever since.
How were you introduced to the wonders of the Amazon rainforest?
Fabian was born in Ecuador and had travelled to the Amazon before he came to the U.S. He was my guide in the rainforest and who introduced me to its many wonders.
Why did you decide to name your brand after the Rahua oil?
Rahua oil is the key ingredient in our products and the reason why our formulas are so potent and transforming. We felt it was only fitting to name the brand after this incredible oil.
You have created a new beauty category, Symbiotic®, what does this mean and why did you create it?
Aside from creating products that are natural and effective, our goal is to be able to work in a way that is not harming the Amazon rainforest and its inhabitants. By creating the Symbiotic category, we have established a baseline for beauty companies to work with nature in a truly symbiotic way.
Symbiotic ingredients are extracted from the symbiotic-grown forest flora. To be classified as Symbiotic, an ingredient must be harvested and processed by the indigenous people from virgin forest. It can only be obtained by using the extensive ancestral and traditional knowledge of the tribes people.
A Symbiotic product must be 100% natural and at least 50% organic, it must contain zero petrochemical ingredients, and the final formula must contain one or more symbiotic element.
Other than Rahua Oil, do you source anything else from the Rainforest?
Yes! We use the omega-3 rich Sacha Inchi oil and Morete oil (indigenous name for Buriti oil) in our formulas.
How do you help to protect the environment and the people within the Amazon Rainforest, from where your natural ingredients are sourced?
We source our ingredients directly from several tribes in the Amazon jungle, and we strictly adhere to their traditions for harvesting the oils. Since we are in direct contact with the tribes, we know what their needs are and can provide services, equipment and education to serve their people better.
Do get to visit the Amazon often?
We get out there every year, in fact, our whole family, including our 2-year-old daughter, just spent three weeks there working with the tribes. We feel it is important to be in constant contact with the tribes, our suppliers, so we are aware of any changes and challenges.
What has been your best experience so far as the founders ofRahua?
It is very satisfying to know that you can stick to your ethics and build a luxury brand without harming the environment and its people. Knowing that the work we do is not only supporting indigenous communities, but helping their communities grow without impacting their ancestral lands.
What do you feel you have learnt through running your brand?
Making mistakes is a huge part of building a brand, you experience bumps, but you learn along the way.
What does ‘natural beauty’ mean to you?
That is such a broad question because it can be so many things but, in a nutshell, for us, it means being beautiful with respect for yourself, your peers and your planet.
Is Rahua hair care suitable for all hair types?
Everyone's hair type is different from the other, and there is a certain amount of trial and error with the amount you will need, but once you have figured that out, it truly does work wonders for all types.
What’s next for Rahua?
We have some pretty exciting product launches coming up over the next few months; we think they will be a great addition to what we currently offer. Ideally, we see our brand branching out into different categories as well as expanding on what we currently have. We hope that we can provide more green alternatives to conventional beauty products and lessen the impact on our environment.