Discover The Immersive World Of LA-EVA
Only launching in March this year, it is hard to believe that a brand so new could have such an impact. Originating from Oxfordshire, La-Eva creates products that heightens your senses, soothes the skin and radiates beauty and a sense of wellbeing.
La-Eva’s philosophy is grounded in the expression of joie de vivre and takes on a holistic approach to wellbeing, believing that delight and tranquility can be found in simple everyday experiences and self-care. We speak to Louisa Canham, the founder of La-EVA about her discovery of LA-EVA, why organic was a must and how our body and mind should be considered as a unity.
Your background is in psychology, what was the motivation behind making the shift from psychology to beauty?
I did my doctorate at Oxford and trained as a clinical psychologist at a pretty young age. With a specialist interest in children and adolescents, for a decade I worked with young people with an array of difﬁculties - traumatised unaccompanied children seeking asylum, kids on the autistic spectrum and with learning disabilities, young people in paediatric care, adolescents with eating disorders, young offenders in prison and many more. On a personal level it was an interesting, largely rewarding time and I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet and work with some special individuals and families over the years. Nonetheless, dealing with the vulnerabilities of the human condition can be difﬁcult, and there came a point — particularly after I had my own children — where I found myself seeking something gentle and therapeutic to mediate the impact.
In 2011 I discovered the art of making traditional cold process soap. Initially very much a gentle pass time, however over many months of trials and errors some beautiful recipes materialised. Late in 2013 I decided to submit some of these for cosmetic assessment; I was curious about whether they would be safe for broader use but didn’t have much of a plan about what to do if they indeed passed. Nevertheless, soon after they came back having been given the thumbs up, I decided to take something of an open-ended break from psychology. An artisan studio materialised in the Oxfordshire countryside, and over the course of a couple of years slowly spread wings, popping up in colourful markets, music festivals, a handful of local shops and the iconic Spitalﬁelds in London.
Earlier last year, I felt that the time had come to pick the best of what had been achieved and apply it in a better thought-out and more reﬁned manner. The end result is LA-EVA. I guess, looking back, I would say that the motivation behind the initial shift revolved around needing a change in the content of my work, but the journey to this point has been a slow and gradual one, a matter of a simple evolution.
It is apparent that art is a huge inﬂuence to you. How do you feel art reﬂects the essence of beauty and wellbeing?
I grew up in a family that nurtured an appreciation of all art forms, and have always enjoyed being surrounded by beautiful objects, particularly when they tell a story. From the start I enjoyed playing with the design of the soaps that I was working on and felt that beyond their aroma and the pureness of their properties, there was an important visual element that affected the experience of using them. I loved that these small, simple objects were both functional and attractive in more ways than one, and would spend much time thinking about layers of ingredients, scent, colour and texture. I cannot remember when or how exactly it started but I often found myself looking at some of the art books that we have lying around at home in search for inspiration. Gradually the cross over point between these seemingly separate worlds - of personal care, our senses and art - became increasingly interesting to me and I realised that, to a degree at least, beauty and wellbeing lie at the core of all of them. What we see, what we hear, what we touch, what we smell - all these elements affect how we feel, and when the stimulus is beautiful, so is the result. Somewhere in the loops of such thoughts and realisations lies the philosophy behind LA-EVA and exploring this territory continues to intrigue me enormously.
Wellbeing is a core part of la-eva, why was it important for you to take on a holistic approach?
I think it is probably fair to say that, after so many years of working as a psychologist, holistic thinking is rather embedded in my system. Much psychological work is about taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture, about simplifying complex things where possible and honing in on the relevant and essential. And then pulling it all together again. It is another strand of thinking from the past that somehow has weaved itself into the DNA of LA-EVA. The decision to create universal, multi-function products nods to the idea that simplicity can be a gift and that our minds, body and skin - which fundamentally is one, unitary, organ - beneﬁt when we do not cut them up and treat them as separate entities.
Why is it important to be certiﬁed organic?
Out of all the decisions that needed to be made along the journey of LA-EVA materialising, being certiﬁed organic was by a long way the most straightforward one. I do not even recall thinking much about this part, it simply was a given from the start. My instinctive response to the question ‘why organic?’ is simply ‘why not organic?’ - perhaps it is time to move the conversation forward to seeing this as a broad standard to aim for rather than the territory of relatively few, niche, brands. I feel that we know too much about the impact that certain ingredients used in the beauty industry have on our skin, our health, and the environment, not to be engaging with the issue. At the same time, we are lucky that so many advances have been made and nowadays it is possible to create beautiful products with a high organic content that are not compromised in terms of their function and the end result that they deliver.
Although offering products that are as clean as possible is undeniably important to me, I also have to qualify that personally I do not see LA-EVA as a brand that comes from a particularly purist stance. There are other aspects to LA-EVA that are equally, or possibly even more at the forefront of our outlook - such as the links with art or the holistic approach. But it is important to me that each of the deﬁning features of LA-EVA is explored with integrity - going back to the certiﬁcation decision, meeting standards that actually mean something is an obvious and essential requirement for a brand that says that it endorses a natural, let alone an organic, philosophy. There is much confusion about the distinction between ‘natural’ and ‘organic’, and are also many brands pulling the green card, when - on closer inspection - their products include some pretty nasty ingredients. Working with good principles such as using pure ingredients, having premises and procedures meet certain standards or declaring organic content to help promote customers’ understanding of what they are using is simply not a problem, in fact it is very welcome as far as I am concerned.
You have just launched two signature scents ‘Blu’ and ‘Roseum’ in a lotion and body wash. Can you share with us any plans for the future?
Indeed, LA-EVA only opened doors a few months ago with a simple capsule offering of BLŪ and ROSĒUM in wash and lotion duos. Starting simply and taking time to introduce the range seemed very natural and in keeping with the broader philosophy of the brand. It is nice though that we are starting to count down towards adding further products to the range. Our summer launch will be a beautiful universal oil called JASMĪNA, a rather ethereal blend of jasmine, thyme and black pepper. Autumn time will ﬁnd a shampoo and conditioner duo joining the gang - details to be shared a little bit closer to the time!
You can find out more about LA-EVA here: https://www.la-eva.com/
You can follow LA-EVA here: https://www.instagram.com/lifelaeva/