Aura Naturals LA: A Skincare Brand Who Defines 'Sustainability' As Recycling Black Dollars
We touched based with Maya Ludlow, founder of Aura Naturals LA to learn more about her lusciously scented skincare brand. Check out this exclusive interview:
1. When and why did you start Aura Naturals LA?
I started making body scrubs a few years ago. I would go get waxed, and buy a $30 body scrub that would end up breaking me out or reacting with my body in strange ways. I asked the esticician that I was going to if there was some secret science to body scrubs, and she told me as long as you have the right exfoliant and a good moisturizer you’re good! So from that conversation I began studying different types of exfoliants for skin, different essential oils and their healing properties, and moisturizers for the best, buttery skin. After some months of research, I finally let one of my best friends use the scrub I fell in love with (later called “The Chronic”). She told me, “GIRL! You need to sell these because this is the best scrub I’ve used in a long time!” So in December 2016 I finally began selling body scrubs.
After 2 months I started thinking, “What about soap Maya? If someone was able to figure it out before, why can’t I?” I have always suffered with chronic atopic eczema and I would notice my flare ups happen during seasonal changes or extreme stress. I wanted to create a product that I had control over, something that I knew would not only soothe my skin when it was irritated but help prevent or minimize my flare ups. I wanted to use the same ingredients that I used to make my first scrub because of all of the amazing healing properties it had! So I used green tea, lemongrass, and eucalyptus and I noticed how bright my skin was after. I let that same best friend try it, and she sent me a video of her throwing away all of her big brand soaps.
I kept expanding my inventory and had a small clientele, but people would ask what my company was called. I began to think about all of the positive things that people have said about me in our first meeting, and I’d always hear how bright my aura was. I wanted to share that brightness with other people and Aura Naturals L.A. was officially born July 2017.
2. How do you define beauty?
I define beauty by the light that comes from within one’s soul. Beauty is your mind, beauty is the love selflessly offered, beauty is acceptance, beauty is raw, beauty is free of ego, it has an everlasting glow, beauty is balance, perseverance. To me beauty has no one definition, it doesn't start or begin with your outer, physical shell- but everything that comes from within.
3. How do you define sustainability?
I think recycling black dollars is the best definition of sustainability within our culture. Replacing big brands, with black owned brands to keep our economy flourishing. We have to sustain ourselves as African Americans because we aren’t being sustained solely as Americans.
4. What are the core ingredients for your products and where are they sourced?
The ingredients that my company was built around are: Coconut oil, mango butter, and goat’s milk. I buy my oils from a local family owned shop right on Crenshaw, and I have dehydrated goat’s milk shipped to me every month.
5. Does being a woman of color influence your brand? If so, how?
Being a woman of color definitely influences my brand. The older I get, I see that not all skin types are the same. I’ve noticed that skin disorders like eczema are more common in my demographic and I wanted to make products that help restore the levels of moisture and nutrients that our skin craves. However, my products are not only for people of color, they’re for everybody.
6. What has inspired you the most?
The people around me everyday inspire me. I deal with many different types of energy and personalities and I take a little bit from everybody whether it’s negative or positive. I’m inspired by people who celebrate me and root for me the same way I’m inspired by people who don’t think I’ll succeed. I’m inspired by people’s smiles, by their feedback, I’m inspired by my lifelong journey to find true love. And in Aura Naturals L.A., I have found true, gut wrenching, heart throbbing love.
7. What has been your greatest achievement thus far?
My greatest achievement in life has been the creation of Aura Naturals L.A. I found out that believing in yourself and following your heart will open the gates to happiness. I’ve used the disappointments and heartbreaks throughout my life to guide me to a place that I know I will be proud of win or lose. As long as I keep following my heart and listening to the universe, failure won’t be in my life. Everyday I win, and everyday I grow.
8. What can we expect from you in the near future?
I just want to keep growing and perfecting the items I’ve been working on. My dream is that my company allows me to travel around the world to get the ingredients I use straight from the source. I’d love to float in the Dead Sea, get Turmeric from India, raise a goat for its milk, visit the most immaculate floral gardens, and grow herbs for their healing oils. This is only the beginning for Aura Naturals L.A. and as long as I’m alive it will continue to evolve so that long after I’m gone, it still grows.