Costa Brazil: Beauty With a Conscience
Francisco Costa may be best known for his tenure as the creative director of Calvin Klein Collection’s womenswear line, but now the Brazilian-born designer has turned his hand to skincare, with eponymous line Costa Brazil. Unlike many skincare stories that begin in a laboratory, however, a particular journey to the Amazon rainforest kickstarted Costa’s journey into the world of beauty. And the discovery of a special resin has cemented it as a go-to wellness brand.
In a world where we find ourselves shut indoors, largely unable to travel, and relying heavily on self-care products to provide relief from increasing pressures and stresses, it’s the combination of the spiritual and the deeply, purely natural that has given Costa Brazil real appeal for the modern skincare aficionado.
"The brand came from a need for reinterpretation of designer beauty or a need for something else that I felt didn't exist. If you think of any designer brands you know out there, we are unique. Nobody exudes that freshness in the way we do – what we have is really comfortable and really beautiful."
The Signature Ingredient
During Costa’s visit to the Amazon rainforest, to a village named Mutum belonging to the Yawanawa community, he discovered breu resin, a sap from the Almacega tree. When the sap oxidises, it becomes an earthy, resinous rock. At first, Costa was hit by its "magnificent" scent: "My first time [in the Amazon], everything smelled quite unidentifiably pure and serene. Occasionally, we smelled a specific flower, but there was one distinct smell throughout my stay, and that was the smell of the fires throughout the village." A shaman told him it was the small rocks of breu resin causing the arresting smell. "I didn't know what it was, but I knew the Costa Brazil signature scent had to be breu."
But it isn't just the scent that gives breu its special properties. Upon sending it to a lab in the north of Brazil, the results unveiled breu as a wonder ingredient – it is antimicrobial and antibacterial, as well as having boundless other wellbeing benefits.
"The funny thing was, nobody in beauty had really touched breu," Costa says, "so I started to work with a master perfumer on developing a fragrance with it. The amazing thing, though, is that it's become so much more than a fragrance to the brand." Costa himself likes to burn a little chunk in his bathroom before a bath: "The room becomes very fresh and soothing. I also like to burn it in the day if l have a little anxiety; I really breathe into it."
As breu is such a special ingredient and one engrained in the nature of the deep Amazon rainforest, Costa is conscious of his impact on the environment. For Costa’s line, all ingredients are wild-harvested, from suppliers who are chosen based on their sustainability credentials, fair trade practices and engagement with the communities from which they harvest.
To totally immerse yourself in Costa Brazil, the CBRitual collection (a Harrods exclusive), is the ideal place to begin. Inside the handmade box, you'll find the Kaya Anti-Aging Face Oil, Kaya Jungle Firming Oil, Body Cream, Aromatic Oleo Resin with Ceramic Tray and the Jungle Candle. It's the ultimate gift for the holidays – or for yourself, of course.
Our connection to nature is more important than ever, and nature in its purest form is certainly what Costa's products provide. All these delights are packaged exquisitely, thanks to Costa's high-fashion eye, and sustainably – the boxes are made from FSC-certified paper. After all, what good is championing the rainforest if your packaging still pillages it?