How did KYPRIS come to be? Have you always had an interest in skincare?
I have always been an entrepreneur, a mentor and a champion of women at heart. Growing up visiting my grandparent’s farm in West Virginia, I learned the virtues of hard work, how obsessing over ingredients is what will make your customers loyal and most importantly, to respect the land. I also saved my pennies to indulge in spa treatments and skincare products. I have always been in love.
In my adult years, I had a successful education business and have been a proponent of women, wellness and cultivating the best version of oneself, but wanted to find a way to build a business that would bring together the values most near and dear to my heart. I studied chemistry and biological sciences at Barnard during my university years; completed a course in Cosmetic Chemistry and Natural Formulations; and took inspiration from research around calm and nature’s effects on health and well-being which permeate every aspect of the KYPRIS philosophy today. A move to Scottsdale in 2010 with my husband laid the foundation to ultimately marry all of the things I love most into what is now KYPRIS.
What does the word Kypris mean?
According to legend, a goddess rose from the foaming and frothy waters off the coast of Cyprus. The Cypriots were so enamored with the goddess that they gave her a name in honor of their shared home, Kypris. She was later co-opted by the Greeks to become Aphrodite and an influence on Demeter. Unlike the common retellings of Aphrodite’s stories in which she is beautiful yet haughty, the ethos of Kypris has retained Her pre-Hellenic, divinely feminine roots. War never conquered Her. The goddess exudes sensuality, voluptuous with love and wisdom, a bastion of sisterhood and family. A healing and inclusive energy. She derives her beauty from communion with nature, both within and of the Earth, one and the same. Her renowned beauty has always been and still is the ecstasy of being.
You have a hand in the alchemy that goes behind every KYPRIS product. Can you please share what the development and sourcing process looks like.
All KYPRIS formulas are made from nature and nature-derived ingredients. Sustainability, ethical sourcing and fair trade are all key considerations during the research and development process for the brand. For example, we leverage green science in our certified, bio-identical CoQ10 found in each of the Beauty Elixirs I, II, and III, Cherry Blossoms, harvested by French farmers seeking to offset climate events found in Cerulean Soothing Hydration Recovery Mask, Sea Holly Stem Cells, propagated from a single specimen's stem cells found in Glow Philtre and Cerulean, Algae, wild harvested in Hawaii and then cultivated in an occult environment, found in Antioxidant Dew, Moonlight Catalyst, Pot of Shade, Cleanser Concentrate, Cerulean, Glow Philtre and Deep Forest Clay. These are just a few examples of the green biotechnology we leverage.
As a brand, we do our best to avoid food ingredients out of concern for stressing food supply chains. The Pomegranate Enzymes found in KYPRIS Glow Philtre are made from pomegranate pith commonly not consumed, yet dense with phytonutrients. The Prickly Pear Seed Oil found in our products comes from pears that are wildcrafted in southern Arizona by a woman-led team who has worked the land for more than 30 years. The pears are harvested for fruit, juice, dye, cattle fodder and the resulting seeds are crushed and filtered to deliver our oil. Not a single part of the plant is wasted. All KYPRIS Shea ingredients come from a UN Global Compact project seeking to measure the effects and benefits of shea cultivation by women farmers for themselves, their families and their communities.
KYPRIS works with sustainable farms and procurement teams and brokers around the world. Examples include our Moringa from a co-op in Nicaragua that supports a malnutrition relief group, Trees for Life, Biodynamic Rose Essential Oil from a woman-owned farm in Bulgaria, the owner of which tried to help Afghani farmers transition poppy fields to rose fields through a UN program, Tamanu Oil that is co-op grown and sourced from French Polynesia, Rose Geranium from an organic certified cooperative in Malawi, Vetiver from an organic, fair trade certified operation in Madagascar and Silver Fir from wildcrafted silver fir pine needles, steam distilled in Siberia.
Our formulas are a combination of a desire to employ an ingredient for mutual benefit and the need for a particular formula.
How does the desert influence your creations?
To me the desert has a lot of healing and spiritual properties that I look to incorporate into the brand. It's somehow both subtle and undeniable. KYPRIS is really all about a total approach to wellness and 'Beauty'. It has helped to inspire my creativity and I really love to incorporate ingredients found in the desert where possible, such as our Prickly Pear. People are sometimes surprised that we have similar harvesting seasons to the Mediterranean.
What does “Beauty from Beauty” mean to you?
We believe that Beauty can only be created from Beauty itself. To us that means honoring the Earth, the souls who care for the land, the people whose gifted hands kindly and carefully collect these botanical treasures and how each of these ingredients come together to help our consumers benefit from and take pleasure in their self care.
Do you have any daily rituals?
In the morning, I cleanse with KYPRIS Cleanser Concentrate, create a microemulsion with Antioxidant Dew, Clearing Serum and Beauty Elixir depending upon what my skin desires for the day, apply Pot of Shade, curl my eyelashes and off I go.
At night, especially after a long day, I love cleansing my skin, putting on a mask - right now I'm loving the Deep Forest Clay mid-week, soaking in a salty tub, with a little reading, rinsing everything off and then while my skin is still wet I will slather myself from limb to heart in Body Elixir Inflorescence and apply Moonlight Catalyst and Beauty Elixir II: Balancing Flowers to my face, neck, and decollete. The extra on my hands I massage into my scalp and ends of my hair.
The aromatherapy and ritual of it all lulls me into the sweetest dreams.
What makes KYPRIS different than other skincare products?
KYPRIS products bring together gorgeous, sustainably sourced botanicals and blends them with the best in green biotechnology. We are not a brand that is 'craft-made', meaning I am not in my kitchen whipping up these formulas. We work with scientists with masters and PhDs in chemistry to create products that are elegant in their sensorial properties and visibly effective in their results. We work with engineers to scale our formulas. Our ingredients are also something I am really proud of. We really seek to foster regenerative practices that go beyond conservation. As a 'natural indie brand' we also use a lot of QA/QC processes that you would see at any large beauty company. The team and I worked really hard to build out our infrastructure in this way because of the sometimes unpredictable nature of using natural ingredients. We want to always ensure as best we can that the quality of our products is to the highest standard and that we are consistent in our delivery of the best, most innovative formulas. And from a sustainability perspective, we aren't going to conserve our way out of this collective pickle; we must innovate and implement innovations.
Any suggestions as to how to best use your products?
Our products are truly meant to be used together and there are numerous ways to combine the products to get anyone's desired results. We are really well known for our customizable 'microemulsions' that can be made using one or more of our serums (Antioxidant Dew, Clearing Serum or Moonlight Catalyst) in combination with one of our Beauty Elixirs. But really all of our products are meant to be used in that way. For example, you can customize your cleanse by adding a dollop of our Deep Forest Clay Mask to our Cleanser Concentrate for a gentle exfoliation. We seek to create a line that is thoughtful in its assortment but doesn't feel limited. The way we have achieved that is through these gorgeous combinations.