As a former model, a mother of two girls— Mabel Ray, 9, and Evelyn Penn, 7— and the wife to action star Bruce Willis, Emma Heming Willis knows a bit about the specific needs of a mom who does it all. Now, as brand founder of CocoBaba, a body care line she created featuring 100-percent raw organic coconut oil as the hero ingredient, she brings her passion for natural ingredients and her family beauty traditions to nourish and smooth skin. Now, as the brand launches in the U.S., she takes a minute with NewBeauty to talk coconut oil, quarantines and the special skin-care treatments she customizes for Bruce.
What prompted you to start CocoBaba?
“When I was pregnant with my first daughter, I was just looking for a safe and effective body-care line to nurture my skin. Suddenly, I became super conscious about the ingredients in my food and what I was putting on my body and at that time, the clean movement was just kind of scratching the surface. So, not having much knowledge of ingredients, I just went back to an old family favorite that’s been in my family for generations, which is coconut oil. My grandmother used it in her food, for hair masks. My mom used it. It was like the sort of all-around ingredient. At first, I picked up a big vat at the grocery store and used it throughout my pregnancy and I came out stretch-mark free. That was kind of like my ‘aha’ moment because I’m just genetically prone to stretch marks. I just had this moment and thought I would love to be able to create a line from all moms-to-be or anyone just looking for solid body care using coconut oil. It’s a little more luxurious than the vat from the grocery store.”
Why was it important for you to stick with natural ingredients?
“Well, I really wanted to get as close to something simple because I was so conscious. When I was pregnant, I started to think about ingredients like I had never thought of before. We are formulated in Germany, and you know there’s already so many ingredients that aren’t allowed in the EU. I’m not a chemist and I was kind of learning as I went. I just wanted to be sure that whatever that final product was, that it would definitely be safe for anyone, without anything questionable in the formula.”
We love that you can slather it on everywhere, right? It’s for the whole body?
“The whole body, but I would not use it on your face. My husband likes to use it on his face. It’s a body-care line and he’s like, ‘It’s fine!’ I’m like yeah, I guess. But it’s specifically designed for the body. I feel like there’s so many products on the market that are so great for the face, and I just really was into taking care and looking after the body—I think that kind of gets neglected.”
Speaking of family, how did you guys cope over the last year with all of the quarantines and changes that everyone experienced?
“I mean, it was a year. You know, I think what kept me sane was that I was launching CocoBaba during that year. I was able to obviously be home and work from home and, you know, get that going. I don’t know how we all did it, we just buckled in and just stayed really close to home and family. The kids were homeschooled, and we just took it one day at a time. I mean it was a very stressful, scary time and it’s so great to maybe finally be on the other side of it. It will always be a time that people will never forget.”
Now that you’re in your 40s, is there anything different that you’ve been doing for your skin?
“For the most part I keep it pretty simple when it comes to my skin care. I know what works for me. I know the brands that I like. I think the only thing that I’ve really changed is that I try to be really good with sunscreen. I have melasma and since having my kids there’s just certain spots that I can’t get rid of. I don’t really want to do the lasers and peels. I like to be really conservative with my skin and not do too much, I just kind of feel like less is more. So, for me a hat and sunscreen are so key because melasma just hits the bottom and it just darken instantly. I’ve also just invested in good concealers.”
Besides SPF, are there any skin-care products that you swear by?
“I love Indie Lee products. I also really love Kat Burki—I think she’s been around for a very long time, and I only discovered her this year. I really love her products. Those are the ones that I rotate in my routine. There’s another brand called Lumion that has really great oxygen masks that I love spraying on my face for hydration. I think I’m a creature of habit and I’ve found what works for me and I just keep using that.”
What about Bruce? We know he loves to use CocoBaba, but does he ever steal any of your other skin care?
“I love giving him facials. He’s a Pisces and he loves a little bit of pampering and to be cared for. That’s like his whole thing. I don’t do it all the time, but occasionally, I’ll give him a nice facial treatment. We’ve got CocoBaba all around the house so now it’s like he’s putting the body butter on his face. He doesn’t really understand the whole system in general with beauty, which is surprising because I’m such a beauty junkie. He just keeps it simple, so I try to up his game every once in a while with a nice facial.”
You’re a busy mom. How do you remain focused and balanced while you juggle it all?
“I don’t! It’s so hard. I don’t have a formula for it. You know what’s been great, two months ago my girls were able to go back to school and that was nice for them to be there in person, and it gave me a little bit of a breath to be able to look after myself a little bit more in the morning. Even just getting out into on a hike is so nice. We were so stuck at home for so long, so there was a point where it was scary to even be outside. I tried to workout at home, but then that fell off. So, it’s just really nice to feel like I’m a little bit more back in my skin now.”
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