We’re celebrating International Women’s Day all month long, featuring real women who are using their influence to build a more equal world, from wherever they live. Whether in a classroom in Kenya or a boardroom in New York, change starts here, with all of us. 

Rikita Kapadia, founder of the famed organic coconut oil brand, Cocovít, wears her passion on her sleeve, and on her skin. For Rikita, beauty goes beyond trend, with a focus on transparent sourcing, goodwill and unmatched quality. We recently had the privilege of meeting Rikita in person to learn about how she's using her business to create a better world for her employees as well as her customers. We just so happened to also get a DIY face mask lesson while we were there (be sure to read to the end!).

All Cocovít products are made with 100% certified organic coconut oil. What lead you to the realization that coconut oil is the ultimate beauty hack? 
The tradition of using coconut oil originated in India over 5,000 years ago and has been passed down in my family for over seven generations. Inspired by my Indian heritage and my family's belief in the power of coconut oil, I wanted to create a multipurpose beauty and skin product that had the power to naturally nurture skin, hair and health. This is why Cocovít was born.

The coconut oil I used prior to Cocovít was also from India. While results were good, I knew the oil was not 100% raw, nor was it the purest or most potent oil available. Unfortunately, not all oils are created equal. Knowing this, I began a search to develop a process that would allow the beneficial nutrients and enzymes to stay intact during the extraction process and, most importantly, in the final product. 

At Cocovít, we harvest fresh organic coconuts from an eco-reserve in South India, producing an exquisitely pure and exceptionally potent form of coconut oil. Using a heatless extraction process, we are able to maximize nutrient and enzyme potency by leaving the oil raw & untouched, as nature intended.

Cocovít Coconut Oil is inherently antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial; It is a multipurpose beauty solution that’s suitable for all ages, skin and hair types.

You actually own the farm where the coconuts used in your products are harvested. Tell us more about what drove you to purchase the farm and how this transparency fits the Cocovít lifestyle?
We purchased the farm for two primary reasons: To ensure we were able to put our proprietary extraction process in place and to provide employment to the local villagers. The farm is located in a village an hour outside of Chennai, where a majority of the residents were living in poverty. The farm now provides employment to over 150 villagers, which allows their children to attend school. We recently purchased a second farm where ingredients such as cane sugar and turmeric are grown, providing additional opportunities for the local community.

Can you give us any hints about what’s next for Cocovít?
We're so excited for what is in the works that it's been fairly hard to keep it a secret. We have quite a bit launching this year, including a new lentil-based body polish, a rosewater toner, new face masks and additional lip balms. All of our new products will utilize Cocovít Coconut Oil as the base with additional ingredients such as lentils, lemongrass, rose water, turmeric, chickpea flour and essential oils (though not all together, of course!).

Rikita’s DIY spring face masks

Ayurvedic Face Mask
The weather is always changing this time of year, which can be tough on our skin. This rejuvenating, DIY Ayurvedic face mask results in a smooth, glowing complexion.

What You Will Need:
2 tbsp besan flour/chickpea flour (found at your local Whole Foods)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp honey (we prefer to use Manuka honey)
Liquid of choice (yogurt, milk or water)

Directions:
Combine besan/chickpea flour, honey and turmeric powder. Slowly add in your liquid to combine. Start with a few drops and add more as needed.
Apply mixture to clean, dry skin and leave on for 10-15 minutes. Rinse thoroughly. Tone and moisturize your skin as usual. 

Why This Works:
Besan has been used for centuries in India for its exfoliating powers that leave skin refreshed, blemish-free and noticeably brighter. The anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties that turmeric possesses can soothe skin blemishes and heal acne scars. Honey is a natural antibacterial and packed with antioxidants, making it an excellent acne treatment as well as an antidote to aging. It also boosts complexion since it is extremely moisturizing and soothing. 

C3 (Coffee + Coconut Oil + Cinnamon) Body Scrub
This Ayurvedic body scrub is wonderful year around, and will remove dead skin cells to reveal softer and healthier looking skin. 

What You Will Need:
1/4 cup ground coffee
1/4 cup sugar (we recommend organic cane sugar)
2 tbsp Cocovit Coconut Oil
1 tsp cinnamon
3 vitamin E capsules

Directions:
Combine ground coffee, sugar, coconut oil, cinnamon and oil from vitamin E capsules to turn it into a paste. In the shower, apply the mixture onto entire body in circular motion (avoid face). Scrub away gently for 10-15 seconds until you feel your skin has turned soft and silky. Rinse off. Once out of the shower, apply a moisturizer (we prefer Cocovit Coconut Oil) to retain the moisture.

Why This Works:
Coffee is a great scrub as it helps fight cellulite. Sugar works as an exfoliator, removing the surface layer of dead skin cells. Coconut oil penetrates deep into the skin to protect from ageing. It makes the skin supple and endows it with a youthful glow. Cinnamon promotes good blood circulation, which leads to skin regeneration. And vitamin E has antioxidant properties that protect and repair the skin cells.