To say Kiana loves coconuts would be an understatement. The Kopari co-founder practically grew up on the stuff while being raised on the beaches of Honolulu, Hawaii and spending summers living on a catamaran in Kauai with her Hawaiian surfing legend dad. Yeah, us too (we wish)! While most kids spent school breaks at summer camp, Kiana used her spare time collecting wild coconuts from the jungle and using their contents to whip up amateur beauty concoctions. She realized early on that the natives of her tropical locale owed their gorgeous skin and hair to their stripped-down, simplified beauty routines—most of which included a whole lot of coconut oil. Safe to say, that beachy upbringing majorly influenced Kiana, her philosophies on health and beauty, and just about everything we do here at Kopari.
While we could definitely go on for days about the cool stuff she’s done, we figured there’s no better person to tell the rest of this story than the coconut crazed co-founder herself. So without further ado, meet Kiana.
So, you’re living the life on a catamaran in Hawaii. At what point did you decide to hop off the Hawaiian dreamboat and make your way to sunny Southern California?
I made my way to Southern California to attend the University of San Diego, and shortly after that, went to a small, traditional culinary school in Los Angeles. In addition to being a pro surfer, my dad also founded the Chart House restaurant, which is where I found my love for all things food.
However after culinary school, I felt discouraged and disappointed by all the junk that’s put into so much of the food we eat. Determined to find a better way, I decided to further my studies, this time in integrative health and nutrition at NYC’s Natural Gourmet Institute, where I became a certified organic chef.
That’s one heck of a resume. Where does coconut oil fit in?
One of the most important things I learned when studying food was that coconut oil is the most kick-ass ingredient known to (wo)man. You can eat it, cook with it, slather it, swish it, spray it, sun it, soak it, scrub it and clean with it. There’s almost nothing this superfood can’t do.
Whoa. Coconut oil ain’t messing around.
Totally! I also learned that what we put on our skin matters. Unfortunately, just like a lot of our food is filled with creepy chemicals, the majority of beauty products are too. Once I made the swap to coconut oil, I never went back. Eventually, I began to wonder why there wasn’t a coconut oil formulated specifically for beauty.
Hence Kopari, right? It’s all making sense now!
That’s how Kopari was born. I wanted high-grade skin and hair products that felt good, smelled even better, weren’t greasy and weren’t filled with a crap ton of toxins and chemicals. In that same vein, Kopari products are made from 100% organic coconut oil, as naturally and simply as possible with the safest ingredients. That means no sulfates, silicones, parabens or GMOs—because all of that stuff sucks.
If you absolutely HAD to choose one Kopari product to bring to a desert island, what would you take?
I am obsessed with our Coconut Balm. I love using it in place of lotion, and my skin drinks up all that moisture. I guess if I’m going to a desert island, might as well keep my skin hydrated and silky soft, right?
Aside from using Kopari products, what are other ways you like to use coconut oil?
As a trained chef and self-proclaimed foodie, I love cooking with coconut oil. I use the refined stuff for frying and unrefined coconut oil for baking. Not sure if this qualifies as “cooking” but I’ve also been known to scoop it raw into my morning smoothies.
Craving more Kiana? We thought you’d be. Lucky for you, she’ll be making regular appearances on the Kopari blog and imparting her knowledge on all things health, fitness, food and coconut-related, so keep an eye out!