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5 Questions For…AHAVA CEO Elana Drell Szyfer

It’s no secret that AHAVA is a Birchbox favorite. I discovered them through their famous hand cream (a handbag staple) and have quickly added their mineral lotions and scrubs to my routine. The brand has plenty of history — it was founded 22 years ago on the Kibbutz Mitzpe Shalem, inspired by tourists scooping up Dead Sea mud to take home with them. They’ve recently relaunched with new packaging, a tightly edited product line, and a new philosophy. I recently had a chance to chat with AHAVA CEO Elana Drell Szyfer about salt scrub tips, the company’s rebranding, and their secret ingredient. 

1. What does ‘AHAVA Reborn’ mean?

The Dead Sea is the original natural spaCleopatra used to make regular visits, and Europeans still venture there to treat serious skin ailments like psoriasis and diabetes. The new tagline, ‘My skin reborn,’ is about the experience of being at the Dead Sea and the benefits your skin receives.

2. What do you think makes AHAVA products special?

All our products have a key component: our Osmoter. It’s a solar evaporation process that takes the most important minerals—magnesium, calcium, potassium, zinc—and rebalances them to recreate the concentration of those minerals found in our own skin. The Osmoter works like a pump, replicating osmosis, and it draws moisture from the lower levels of the skin up to the upper levels of the skin. There are three major contributors to aging: dehydration, sun exposure, and inflammation. The Osmoter helps to fight all of these.

3. How has the line changed?

We started from the ingredients and thought what are the most important: mud, water, salt, and plant. And that’s how we organized the body line; it’s segmented into four different groups. Our face care line also got completely revamped. We’ve reformulated all of our products to make them free of parabens, sodium laurel sulfate, sodium lauryl ester, petroleum, and any GMOs. Many of the products are eco-certified and we try to minimize the packaging.

4. I’m sure you’re always testing – what are you excited about?

We’re launching a line in July called Extreme. Our head scientist went on a trek to the Himalayas and he found some amazing plants that are able to survive in these incredibly cold temperatures. He had this idea to combine the ingredients from them with ingredients from plants that survive at the lowest point on Earth, the Dead Sea. The story of the product is that sometimes you have to go to extremes to find perfect balance for your skin. We created a day cream and as well as a night treatment, which is very concentrated. It’s really for firming lines and wrinkles—the radiance effect is fantastic.

5. Any insider product tips?

I was just at Fred Segal, where we’re opening, and I went through the training and learned so much. We have this product called Butter Salt Scrub that’s very rich and heavy. I learned that it’s actually best to use it on your skin before you go into the shower – rub it on your skin dry and then when you go into the shower, it completely liquefies and turns into a body lotion. It’s basically dry brushing and then you’re using a liquid body wash—a true two-in-one.


Don’t forget to enter our AHAVA Twitter contest this Wednesday and Thursday! 

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