Q&A With Lavido Founder Ido Magal

Lavido’s natural skin care landed at Pharmaca last year—and has quickly gained a following because of its use of unique natural ingredients, many of which are grown on their own farms in Israel. To learn more about the fascinating origins of this line, we spoke with founder and plant chemist Ido Magal.

Can you give us a quick snapshot of how Lavido got its start?
My deep love of nature and plants came at a very young age from spending time in my grandmother’s organic garden. Because of this, I began studying herbal medicine and essential oils, which lead me to create a farm in the heart of the Galilee’s Jezreel.

After my nephew was born, I wanted to give my sister something homemade and special as a gift, so I concocted a therapeutic diaper cream in my kitchen

and it quickly became a coveted product among our friends and family. I decided to sell a few of my products at a local farmer’s market and from that positive response, Lavido was born.

What are your favorite Lavido ingredients and products?
I have three hero ingredients that I love using and each for a different reason.

Pomegranate Seed Oil. I’ve used this ingredient for nearly 15 years and love it because of the transformative effects it has on the skin. It has strong antioxidant properties and a unique fatty acid, omega-5, called punicic acid. Punicic acid is somewhat unique to pomegranate seed oil, and is not easily found in other plants or in nature. The antioxidant efficacy and fatty acid content makes it a strong and powerful ingredient that boosts skin elasticity and has an anti-aging effect on the skin.

Black Cumin Seed Oil. When you cold press the seeds of this flower, you get a beautiful black oil that has a very strong anti-inflammatory benefit. Most people in the world are suffering from inflammation, so whether your skin is dry or oily, it’s in our body at all times, just at different levels. I’ve seen it really help improve the skin, especially when combined with other strong ingredients.

Evening Primrose Seed Oil. This ingredient is rich in omega-3s, omega-6s and omega-9s. It helps with hydration and is calming on the skin.

These ingredients are in some of my favorite products. The ones I travel with or you can always find in my bathroom are the Replenishing Facial Serum and the Ultra-Daily Moisturizer. The Serum I use every day after I shave because it immediately calms and nourishes the skin. After that I always finish with the Ultra-Daily Moisturizer, which has a high concentration of evening primrose seed oil along with a blend of essential oils including lavender, frankincense and geranium. It keeps my skin feeling fresh and it has come to be, in many ways, my signature scent.

How do you ensure sustainability in your sourcing and manufacturing?
When I first started Lavido, I realized the difference between organic agriculture versus conventional agriculture and was always drawn to organic. I knew that conventional agriculture was damaging to the earth and environment because of its pesticides, fertilizers and extraction methods. Organic agriculture is not only better for the customer and their skin, but it’s also better for the environment. That’s why Lavido buys 98 percent of its ingredients from organic farms. That means no fertilizers or pesticides, and the distillation process is clean.

While we are happy to see conventional farmers transition to organic, we still wait at least 5 years for the ground to recover before we consider taking ingredients from the land. We are also doing certifications for our essential oils and vegetable oils here in Israel with Agrior, a branch of the USDA. This is our brand ethos and all of the ingredients we source will always be certified for use in natural beauty products.

Tell us more about Lavido’s Botanical Sanctuary and what visitors can learn there.
This idea started many years ago when I was a student. I would sit in the classroom listening to the teacher explain the different plants and what they could and couldn’t do. I knew that I wanted to be in an environment that was more hands on. I wanted to see the plants myself and understand how they grow, feel their energy. When you can experience plants in their natural environment and see them grow, their colors change and what they suffer from, it’s a much more enlightening experience.

We have about 75-80 different plants growing in the Sanctuary depending on the season. It’s an educational place to learn and experience the plants. The plants grow in a more Mediterranean concept versus a more structured Japanese garden. It’s a small, very wild space where we can express who we are as a brand.

Why did you choose to partner with Pharmaca?
Partnering with Pharmaca was a natural thing for us. We appreciate that Pharmaca cares about high-quality, better-for-you and better-for-the-environment products. They understand what plants can do for your skin and body. And to have a partner that has a team in stores that truly cares about education and learning about better solutions in the natural space to share with their customers—that aligns with who we are as a brand.