Born out of a need to modernize and simplify skincare, Koa’s (livingkoa.com) unisex line will have you covered at the beach and beyond—literally. Its bestselling lightweight sunscreens use zinc oxide and eliminate that pesky white cast found in many other brands.
Koa daily face moisturizer. PHOTO BY IAN SHIVER
It is no surprise that the sun protection line is a hit with athletes and ocean-lovers, as Koa was founded by three men with deep ties to Hawai‘i who understand the need for quality skincare under the sun. Ty McLaren, Hiro Shinn and Kapono Chung all met in New York City but have used the islands as an inspiration for their products. “We founded Koa because we wanted to showcase the wealth of traditional Hawaiian botanicals that have a rich history of use in Hawaiian culture but haven’t really been used in mainstream products before,” says McLaren. These ingredients include kukui nut, yuzu, coconut and green tea—all powerhouse botanicals that have been used for centuries in Asian-Pacific and Hawaiian cultures but less so in contemporary beauty brands. The buzzy brand will soon launch a body collection inspired by the sensorial feeling of being in Hawai‘i thanks to a standout combination of noni fruit, Hawaiian ginger and macadamia nut. While their packaging may be chic, the Koa team is also committed to its sustainability by moving toward post-consumer recycled plastic and aluminum, partnering with suppliers who care about sustainability, and using carbon credits to offset their footprint. “Being from Hawai‘i really instills a deep respect for the planet and environment, and we wanted to make sure we carried that respect into everything we do at Koa.” O‘ahu customers can now shop the line instore at Bloomingdale’s at Ala Moana Center.