DU Alumni / Magazine Feature / People

Alumna goes all-natural with skin-care line

What started as a remedy for her daughter’s sensitive skin has turned into a full-time career for Nova Covington (MA ’99).

“When she was 5 months old we discovered she was allergic to sulfates, which are the synthetic foaming agents in most bubble baths and shampoo,” Covington says of daughter Paige. “So the first product I created was for her. I just started learning about natural products, and soon all my friends were buying products from me and I started a company.”

In 2004, Covington launched Goddess Garden. The Boulder, Colo., based company makes all-natural facial creams, body lotions and other products. Recently, Covington turned the company’s focus to her all-natural sunscreens, which are made from — among other ingredients — zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, aloe vera, apricot kernel oil, coconut oil, shea butter and cocoa butter. The sunscreen is sold in natural grocers in 20 states, including Whole Foods and Vitamin Cottage.

“I saw a hole because there wasn’t really a quality product out there that was sheer enough, and easy to apply on children.” Covington says. “Kids aren’t a big fan of sunscreen anyway, so if you have to put on this cakey stuff, they’re not going to stand around and wait for that.”

Goddess Garden also sells UV bracelets for kids that change color based on how strong the sunlight is.

“Indoors it’s white, and when they go out it turns fuchsia,” she says. “It shows them how strong the sun’s invisible rays are, and it teaches them that they should take responsibility for putting on their own sunscreen.”

Covington says her degree in international and intercultural communications has served her well in the marketplace, whether she’s dealing with foreign suppliers or trying to expand her business to other countries. But it’s her family background that started her on the path to natural skin care.

“My great grandma was an herbalist, and she passed down through the family a lot of traditions,” Covington says. “She ran a ranch in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and she had a lot of Native American women who worked for her on the ranch. They taught her all about local herbs and healing herbs, and this was passed down through my family. It wasn’t that odd for me to think of using natural products.”

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