Clean Hands, Big Hearts

Vivaiodays

Now that hand washing and bathing have been elevated to sacred activities, nothing could make us happier than discovering an adorable, certified organic baby & kids bath line for all of that scrubbing.

For years we’ve searched for a pure, organic children’s cleanser. Either they’re nontoxic but rather harsh, or peppered with questionable ingredients. Vivaiodays is as beautiful and gentle as it is safe, and was created with a whole lot of heart. It’s a new favorite at Tucan. And having a cleanser we love at each sink means no need for sanitizers with triclosan (TCS) that can damage children’s hormonal, immune, and reproductive systems.

Vivaio (vee-vai-oh) means nursery in Italian, and for Santa Monica based, husband-and-wife founders, Elina Lampaki and Marios Stamatelopoulos, this line is a passion project. With beauty-industry pedigrees and a personal dedication to healthy ingredients, sustainability, and social consciousness, Elina and Marios carefully thought through every facet of the line. Each product contains a variety of traditional healing herbs from around the world; and sales support global education. Right now, during the Covid-19 crisis, sales of Love Bundles support Upward Bound House to help provide housing for homeless families with children. We sat down with Marios and discovered more things to love about Vivaiodays.

The concept of Vivaiodays–using healing herbs from around the world–is truly inspired. How did you come up with it?
I was in Borneo working with a nonprofit, evaluating how to send kids to school. I saw kids with yellow on their faces and I thought it was decoration. They told me it was “borak,” a paste they make at home with turmeric, for sun protection. And that was the spark.

Did you find the other herbs in similar ways?
No, we work with a guy we call the “Plant Hunter.” He’s a biologist and vegan and he knows everything about the history of herbs, where and how they were originally used, and for what purposes. He believes in these things and he lives like this. He spends about 4 days a week at his small farm about an hour outside of Athens on Parnitha Mountain. His house is a garden and all of his botanical books are there, but he doesn’t have electricity or wifi. It makes it difficult to communicate, but he has a very good knowledge about herbs.

Most children’s products have similar formulas. Yours do not. What makes them so unique?
There’s a trend for everything to be organic, and we believe in that; but even in organic form, certain ingredients are not as safe as we think. There are three ingredients we avoid. 1. Essential oils, because at high levels they become allergens, and we don’t know how much, if any, is safe for babies. Instead, we use either 100% natural fragrance or leave the product unscented; 2. We don’t use alcohol. It’s too drying and irritating for children’s delicate skin; and 3. We don’t use soap. It destabilizes the PH of the skin. We use gentle glucosides and saponaria. This goes against the trend, but this is reality. All our products are dermatologist tested for sensitive skin, and they are tested for allergens.

And the packaging is beautiful…
Whatever’s inside is what you see outside. The shampoo is made with soapwort, traditionally used in England. So the illustration is of a cormorant, an English bird, plus the soapwort plant. Babies love to use it because it makes them happy to have a bath with a little bird.

How did you get involved with global education initiatives?
It started after a trip to Africa, when we decided to sponsor the education of a child. My son was 3. It’s been amazing to watch him grow up sending letters back and forth to his friend in Africa, and to see how education changes someone’s life. We realized how much of a difference helping one child made, so we decided that we would try to grow that. We now help to fund education projects all over the world.

It’s rare that you dedicate so much of your brand’s profits to support charitable work.
It’s the most important thing in this line. How can you give something safe and good to your kids, and not care about the impact you have on other people and the earth? My big vision, what I would like to see from this brand down the road, is sponsoring more Vivaio school days. I see success in the number of school days we can provide.

It’s a perfect kids’ line, but Tucan parents are all using it themselves!
The line is very popular with adults. I think it’s the scent and the sophistication of the formula. The only product I wouldn’t recommend for adults is the shampoo. It’s a bit too mild. But we will be launching a product line for adults, soon!