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GIVING BACK: High Atlas Foundation Spring Project

April 21, 2015

High Atlas Foundation Team to Make A Difference

I was contacted by the High Atlas Foundation in Morocco one month ago with an urgent plea for help. A one-room school outside of Marrakesh for boys and girls in Grades 3 – 6 was noticing a sharp dropoff in attendance by the girls. Without a bathroom for the children, there was no privacy or sanitation, an unacceptable situation for the parents of the girls, not to mention humiliating for the girls themselves. Kahina was able to provide the money for building and plumbing supplies, and the fathers of the children went right to work.

I met Abderrahim, the program director of the High Atlas Foundation and went with him to view the project on my trip to Morocco in April. I was amazed to see what the men had accomplished in just one month. A square structure built of cement blocks stood next to the school, complete with septic system and plumbed for four toilets, showers, and faucets. On my arrival at the school, I was welcomed by the school principal, teacher and the men of the village, as well as 50 boys and girls waving and calling out “Bonjour”. The children lined up and each one politely shook my hand, and, with huge smiles, repeated “Bonjour”. It is a tragic circumstance that so many lively, eager children should be deprived of a future over something we so easily take for granted, clean running water. I am grateful to all of our Kahina customers for participating in our efforts to make a difference in the lives of these children.

Children outside schoolhouse

Interior of schoolhouse

Katharine L'Heureux with children in High Atlas region

Just back from Morocco

April 16, 2015

I just returned from another trip to Morocco, visiting our cooperative, artisans, the High Atlas Foundation, and several cities.

Here, a few snapshots from my visit. More details soon!

xx
Katharine

Moroccan school children with new bathroom at schoolhouse Moroccan school children, with a new bathroom at their schoolhouse, thanks to Kahina contributions to High Atlas Foundation and local community support

Essaouira Archway Beachy, blue Essaouira

Prickly Pear Cactus by Katharine L'Heureux Prickly Pear Cacti are in full bloom this time of year

Katharine smiling in red shawl in Morocco Soaking up the late afternoon Moroccan sun

DIY Luminizer without coconut oil

April 6, 2015

Make your own luminizing balm

RMS Living Luminizer is a legend amongst green beauty products… but it also contains coconut oil, which can be problematic for some skin types. Its signature cool pearl tone works for most skin types, but it can be fun and useful to highlight in other colors. Here, we show you how to make your own highlighter sans coconut, with Kahina Lip & Face Balm. We used a rose-gold like powder for this, but there are powders in gold, silver, and lavender hues as well. You could also make a luminizing bronzer the same way.

Effect: pearluster, velvet finish, with a more concentrated, luminous result than using a luminizing powder on its own; rather than applying all over face, apply only in areas meant to be highlighted
Difficulty level: easy

What you’ll need:
Loose powder highlighter (we’re using Alima Pure in Lumina)
Kahina Lip & Face Balm
Any medium-size, dense brush
Sample jar (optional)

How it’s done:
Remove a small amount of Lip & Face Balm (using a clean utensil like a spatula) and place it either in a sample jar (great so you can store extras) or the back of your hand. Lift a small to medium (depending on how much of your face you’ll be covering) amount of loose luminizing powder into jar or onto back of hand, to the side of the Lip & Face Balm. Using a clean brush, work the two into each other, being careful not to put too much powder into the mix. The consistency should be like a smooth, thick cream. You may need to gently press your brush into it to release powder clumps and work into a paste. Once you have the desired consistency and pigmentation, apply onto desired areas like top of nose, above lips, above cheekbones, and in the corner of eyes. If you used a sample jar to do the mixing, just put the top on and store for use next time, being sure to use a clean brush every time.

Luminizer Balm Swatch

Luminizer Powder Swatch

Hello Spring!

March 31, 2015

Spring Skincare Tips by Kahina Giving Beauty

Slowly but surely, it’s starting to feel more spring-like in New York City. Before you know it, we’ll be donning trench coats in place of parkas (soon! so soon! almost?!) and toting umbrellas as April showers fall. Just as we update our wardrobes, we should update our wellness regimen. Here are 11 tips for adapting your beauty routine to warmer temperatures and more hours of sunshine:

1. Lighten up! You may find that your skin needs less – fewer products and lighter ones. Dry indoor heat and cold winter winds are no longer sapping moisture from your skin, so it’s perfectly OK to pare down your routine. This may mean swapping in Argan Oil for Serum, or not putting an extra layer of Argan Oil under your Facial Lotion. Try a lighter regimen for a few days and see how your skin responds.

2. Brightening Serum is a wonderful product to add to your regimen as the days get longer and there is more sun exposure. Brightening Serum is not just a hyper-pigmentation solution; it also acts as a protective serum to prevent environmental damage in the first place, with best results if used daily. It’s lightweight texture means that on warmer days, you might not need another moisturizer. You’ll be happy come September when those pesky brown marks fail to show.

3. Get a haircut to re-shape, thin layers (if necessary), chop off split ends, and even take a few inches off for a new, breezier look. Do a scalp treatment (apple cider vinegar is wonderful for removing buildup, whereas argan oil can be massaged in and rinsed to a treat dry, itchy scalp) and a hair mask (avocado and argan oil is a favorite here at Kahina HQ) to increase shine and health.

4. More complex than a hydrosol, less astringent than a traditional toner, Kahina Toning Mist is the ultimate weightless hydrator that can be used throughout the day and over makeup. It helps balance skin during the season change and is so refreshing on those warmer spring days.

5. Spring inaugurates sandal season. Consider a pedicure to slough off dead skin cells and give a pop of color to your toes. To keep soles soft, use Kahina FEZ Hand & Body Balm nightly on feet.

6. Exfoliation is a key step especially during seasonal transition. Kahina Antioxidant Mask is a non-drying clay mask that purifies while gently exfoliating away dull surface cells. Prefer a face scrub instead of a mask? Combine Kahina Facial Cleanser with a pinch of finely ground oatmeal and another pinch of either cornmeal (dry skin), baking soda (oily skin), or sugar (normal skin). Apply gently in circular motions and rinse off.

7. As always, it’s a wonderful time to eat seasonally. More and more colorful fruits and vegetables will be appearing at the farmer’s market. Consider them beauty foods and get plenty of servings in salads, smoothies, and snacks. Our Pinterest board has plenty of ideas for you.

8. Spring getaways lead to summer vacations, so it’s always a good idea to have your skincare basics at hand. Kahina Travel Basics comes with 1 fl. oz. sizes of Facial Cleanser, Argan Oil, and Facial Lotion for an easy, on-the-go routine for all skin types that you can tailor to your needs.

9. Do some spring cleaning in your beauty cabinet and toss items that have expired, recycling them if possible. If you find that you no longer use a product but it’s still good, offer it to a friend, relative, or co-worker. Don’t share items like eyeliner or lipstick, but things like body lotion, fragrance and hair products are perfect for swaps or giveaways. Often you can re-purpose beauty products by thinking of alternative uses – say, an oil blend you’re not wild about for your face may be a wonderful cuticle treatment or body moisturizer, or a shampoo you don’t like could be used to clean makeup brushes.

10. Don’t forget sun protection. You may want to ramp up the SPF as you spend more time outside in the warmer weather. Be sure to use enough product, reapply every few hours, and use SPF on all exposed skin, including neck, chest, hands, arms, legs, and feet. Alternatively, find a place in the shade or wear a scarf or hat to cover up from the sun’s rays. Keep in mind that 10-15 minutes of exposure without SPF should do the trick for a healthy dose of vitamin D. Antioxidants are our preferred method for repairing (and preventing) UV damage that can lead to signs of aging. Sun-worshippers take note: applying Kahina Argan Oil before sun and Kahina Serum and/or Kahina Night Cream after will make sure skin stays supple, moisturized, and protected.

11. Stay the course with eye products. Spring and summer is not the time to skimp on eye-specific treatments. Wear sunglasses whenever you are out in the sun and continue with Kahina Eye Serum, Eye Cream or both.

At Kahina, we always say to do what feels best for you and don’t be afraid of a little trial and error. If you’d like a more detailed skincare regimen tailored to your particular needs (& seasonal changes!) please email us at info@givingbeauty.com and we’d be happy to recommend an updated Kahina routine. Happy Spring!

How to Make Cream Eyeliner

March 27, 2015

Making Cream Eyeliner with Kahina Lip and Face Balm

In January we debuted Kahina Lip & Face Balm and introduced you to many ways to use it. Here’s another: making a creamy eyeliner. Here we use it to make a soft metallic cat eye.

Effect: glossier, more reflective eyeliner that’s easy to manipulate as you apply (and doesn’t get everywhere like a loose powder might); a little more “diffused” as the balm softens and decreases pigmentation
Difficulty level: medium

What you’ll need:
Loose powder eyeliner (we’re using Alima Pure) or shadow
Kahina Lip & Face Balm
Eyeliner brush
Sample jar (optional)

How it’s done:
Remove a small amount of Lip & Face Balm (using a clean utensil like a spatula) and place it either in a sample jar (great so you can store extras) or the back of your hand. Lift a small amount of loose eyeliner powder into jar or onto back of hand, to the side of the Lip & Face Balm. Using a clean eyeliner brush, work the two into each other, being careful not to put too much powder into the mix. The consistency should be like a gel or cream. This part’s fun – it should feel like you’re painting! Once you have the desired consistency and pigmentation, apply onto eye in whatever shape you’d like. If you used a sample jar to do the mixing, just put the top on and store for use next time, being sure to use a clean brush every time.

Swatches of Cream Eyeliner copy

 

Spotlight on Kahina Serum

March 25, 2015

Kahina Giving Beauty Serum

If you’ve ordered from us recently, you may have noticed there’s a new sample in town: Kahina Serum.

THE RATIONALE
Kahina Serum was one of the original four products in the line and debuted back in 2009 as Katharine’s answer to a super-powered oil-based treatment. Argan Oil is wonderful on its own, but Katharine wanted to include other healing, antioxidant-rich ingredients for a more potent solution to fine lines, sun damage, dryness, and oxidative stress. Serum’s earthy essential oil blend provides both sensory and skin benefits.

THE FORMULA
Kahina Serum’s argan oil base, which lends its signature vitamin E and skin-balancing properties, is further enriched by seabuckthorn, pomegranate, carrot seed, and coffee bean oil, as well as a synergistic essential oil blend. These oils contribute additional antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and vitamins.

Pomegranate: calms and heals irritated, dry skin; promotes skin’s self-repair system and stimulates regeneration
Seabuckthorn: known for wound healing and alleviating sunburn
Carrot seed: contains carotene, which is rich in vitamin A, and can help deter wrinkles
Coffee: caffeine content is believed to help alleviate puffiness from water retention and is antioxidant-rich
Bisabolol wood oil: has three times the purity of chamomile; has anti-inflammatory, anti-irritant, and anti-bacterial properties
Neroli: rejuvenating and calming, especially for sensitive, dry skin
Lavender: regenerates skin, minimizes scarring, reduces inflammation
Roman chamomile: anti-inflammatory

HOW TO USE IT
Recommended protocol:
Wash face with Kahina Facial Cleanser. Spritz with Kahina Toning Mist. Apply 1-3 drops of Serum to face, neck, and décolletage. For additional moisture, apply Facial Lotion or Night Cream over.

Tips:
– Let it absorb for a few minutes. Your face should never feel greasy. If it does, you’ve used too much.
– Never layer Serum and Argan Oil, as Serum has sufficient quantities of Argan Oil to make that pairing redundant.
– Serum can be used morning and evening; there are no photosensitizing ingredients.
– Many customers with normal skin use Serum only at night as a regenerative treatment. For those with dry or mature skin, Serum can be used twice daily (AM & PM).
– Apply Kahina Antioxidant Mask once or twice weekly. After removing, spritz with Kahina Toning Mist and apply Kahina Serum for a restorative beauty ritual.
– Some clients use Serum post-laser or post-peel to help aid recovery process.

WHO SHOULD USE IT
– Those looking for anti-aging benefits beyond those offered by argan oil
– Those who enjoy and appreciate an essential oil scent blend
– Those with mature or dry skin

Kahina Serum Samples

FAQ

If I have acne-prone skin, can I use Kahina Serum?

In some ways, Serum is ideal for acne prone skin as it contains a broad range of anti-inflammatory ingredients. In addition, argan oil has been shown to balance sebum production over time. However, it is slightly more viscous (heavier) than argan oil and for some, essential oils can be irritating (though the ones in our Serum are in concentrations that should be helpful, not detrimental or irritating). For that reason, we’d recommend trying a sample. We can include a sample with your order, while supplies last – just email us as you place it, or you can order a Sample Pack; sorry samples are not sent out individually. You can also take advantage of our 30-day money back guarantee (when purchased on givingbeauty.com).

I’m confused. Should I use Serum, Prickly Pear Seed Oil, or Argan Oil?

In some cases, you could benefit from all three! Some customers use Serum at night or in cooler weather, then sub in Argan Oil for day or warmer weather. Prickly Pear Seed Oil is a wonderful addition; you can add PPSO drops into your Serum, or alternate it with Serum, using either every other day.

But I want to start with just one.

Argan Oil: oily to normal skin types, primary goal is moisture with secondary goal of anti-aging; wants a single ingredient with no scent
Serum: normal to dry skin types, primary goal is anti-aging with a need for richer moisture; tolerates/enjoys essential oils
Prickly Pear Seed Oil: normal to dry skin types, primary goal is anti-aging with a need for richer moisture; wants a single ingredient with no scent

Shop Kahina Serum.

Kahina Serum

International Women’s Day 2015

March 11, 2015

International Women’s Day: a chat with Kahina founder Katharine L’Heureux

by Oresta Korbutiak of Oresta Organic Skincare. To view the original post, click here.

Katharine L'Heureux interview with Oresta

It is a pleasure to feature my chat with Katharine L’Heureux, founder of Kahina Giving Beauty. I first met Katharine in 2012 when she attended the launch party of Kahina at ORESTA. She spoke about the magic of argan oil: Morocco’s ‘liquid gold’ and her creation of Kahina: a luxurious holistic line of organic argan oil skin care products.

Katharine is a dynamic and inspiring woman who exudes radiance and grace. Kahina’s philanthropic philosophy is ‘Women Helping Women Through Shared Beauty Rituals’ and Katharine works with the Berber women of Morocco who extract the argan oil using techniques that have been passed down through generations. All of Kahina’s products are produced from start to finish with consideration of cultural and environmental sustainability. Katharine visits the women’s cooperatives in Morocco and donates a percentage of Kahina profits to support programs that improve the lives of these women whose signatures grace Kahina’s packaging.

Katharine introduced me to the wonderful world of oils and I’m excited to share with you Katharine’s experience and wisdom on empowering women around the world with healthy beauty.

Katharine L'Heureux in Morocco

O: How did you discover argan oil?

K: I was on an extended trip through Morocco and was in desperate need for a moisturizer in that extremely dry desert climate. I asked my guide what the local women use and he proceeded to tell me all about argan oil and how it was made. I was intrigued by the story of the oil, unique to Morocco, that I had never heard of before, and made by hand by the indigenous women of Morocco. When I tried it and discovered how well it worked on my skin, I was convinced that I needed to share this miraculous ingredient with women at home. I never dreamed at that time that this discovery would turn into a full-blown skincare company.

O: What makes Kahina’s argan oil superior to the many other argan oils on the market?

K: First of all, our oil is certified fair trade and organic. Just because an oil is sourced from a women’s cooperative (as most are) doesn’t mean that the women in the cooperative are being paid. Also, our argan oil is the finest grade, meaning that the nuts are carefully picked by hand from the argan tree, not gathered from the ground where they may have been pre-digested by livestock. The nuts are then sorted by hand to ensure quality, and cold-pressed and filtered by machine to eliminate the chance of bacterial contamination. Region pays a part also, delivering our signature mild, nutty fragrance. Our oil is never deodorized, which many argan oil manufacturers do to disguise an inferior quality oil.

O: What role does Kahina play in supporting women?

K: We purchase certified fair trade argan oil, which means that the women who are doing the work of harvesting and cracking the nuts for our oil are paid a fair wage. We also donate additional funds programs in Morocco that support these women who are very poor and mostly illiterate.

O: What is Kahina’s latest project?

K: We have a few projects going on right now that I am really excited about. First of all, we recently donated clothing to the women and children of a village in the Anti-Atlas Mountains that was devastated by floods over the past winter. We are in the midst of a fundraising effort to raise money to purchase more sheep to use for wool and dairy for the women who extract our oil, and we are working with the High Atlas Foundation to deliver a clean water system to a school outside of Marrakesh. Because there is no clean water or facilities, girls’ attendance has been steadily dropping off.

O: What is your beauty routine?

K: Night and day, I cleanse with the Kahina Facial Cleanser, followed by the Kahina Toning Mist and Brightening Serum then an oil or Serum. Right now, I’m using the Prickly Pear Seed Oil, but I switch this up with the Kahina Serum from time to time, and in the summer I love the pure argan oil. In the morning I layer this with the Kahina Facial Lotion, which makes a great skin primer before makeup and works well to protect and deeply moisturize the skin. For the eye area, I layer the Eye Cream over the Eye Serum to make my eyes look more fresh and awake and to minimize fine lines and wrinkles. And twice a week, I apply the Kahina Antioxidant Mask, letting it sit for approximately 20 minutes before massaging it into my skin as an exfoliating and detoxifying treatment. For body, I use a dry brush 3 times a week. I love my Mio Dry Brush. Then jump into the shower with our Rosemary Lavender Soap for some extra exfoliating. As a special treat, I use Savon Noir with Eucalyptus that I bring home with me from Morocco. Its made from the pits of olives and really softens skin. After the shower, I slather on the Kahina Fez Body Serum before jumping into bed. I love the way it makes my sheets smell!

O: What is your beauty motto?

K: Beauty does not simply come from a product that you slap on your face. It comes from taking care of yourself, and feeling good about yourself. Eating well, drinking lots of water, and getting plenty sleep are crucial. So is trying to eliminate stress and making time for the things that bring you pleasure. Beauty rituals can play a huge role in making you feel good and good about your appearance. An all-natural regimen will contribute to your health. Make the investment in high quality ingredients and take the time to enjoy the fragrances and textures that they provide.

O: What woman do you admire most and why?

K: Right now, I am obsessed with Joan Didion. Obviously, she is an amazing talent, and I have thoroughly enjoyed all of her books, which have resonated profoundly with me at different stages of my own life. She is a complicated person who has lived a fascinating life, according to her own rules, and shown us how to bear up under the most difficult of circumstances. She has always had a very laissez faire style, which is incredibly chic. As the model for the Celine ads, she is a perfect role model for women on how to age gracefully without conforming to anyone’s rules or conventional ideas of beauty.

O: What is a valuable lesson that you would like to share with your daughter?

K: I was a late bloomer in life, and very insecure growing up. My daughter is a junior in college now. I want her to know that she is beautiful and talented, and that she deserves to expect so much in her relationships. I also want her to trust that the universe has a path for her, and that she needn’t worry. There is no prescribed timeframe for life events to take place. She should trust in herself and life will work itself out.

O: What message would you like to share with women on International Women’s Day?

K: That we, as women, working together, can be such a force for positive change. We need to work to support each other and lift each other up.

Buy Sheep for Year of the Sheep!

February 19, 2015

Kahina Giving Beauty Raising Money to Buy Sheep

Happy Lunar New Year! To usher in the year of the sheep, we’re committing to buying some. For every bottle of argan oil purchased on givingbeauty.com from February 19th to March 18th, 2015, we’ll be donating 100% of sales to the purchase of sheep for the Berber women of our argan cooperative.

Why sheep?

  • their wool can be used to weave rugs for use at home or to sell at market
  • their milk provides food for families
  • if bred, offspring can be sold at market for a profit

Kahina did this initiative back in 2012 (above is Katharine with some of her donated sheep). Our goal this year is 15 sheep impacting 15 women.

Did you know? The Year of the Sheep is associated with goodwill and giving back. From a recent Well & Good article: “[The sheep] is considered to be the good Samaritan of the zodiac. Potentially, there will be more attention to the environment, and people will be more inclined to give back,” Wendell says. “[Sheep] are good-natured and sensitive to beauty and balance.”

Support our efforts. Shop Argan Oil now.

An interview with Conde Nast Traveler

February 18, 2015

Katharine L'Heureux Illustration

The jet-setting beauty exec reveals her packing rituals, favorite airports, and why she’s not a fan of room service.
by Jada Yuan

On a trip to Morocco in 2007, Katharine L’Heureux’s skincare products were confiscated at the airport, so she asked her guide if he could recommend products used by local Berber women. He introduced her to argan oil, she became obsessed with its beautifying powers, and soon after, her own argan oil-based skincare line, Kahina Giving Beauty, was born. She flies from New York to Morocco several times a year and has learned the importance of multi-wheel luggage—and wearing pockets while flying.

How many miles would you say you’ve flown in your current role? Maybe 200,000. I go to California three times a year; Europe three or four times a year; and Australia once and Asia once. Last year was a light year: I only visited California twice, and Morocco, Germany, Sweden, and England once.

Do you have a packing ritual? I pack at least a week before so the night before a flight is very calm. And then I’ll probably repack because I’ll think, Oh gosh, did I put in my underwear? Which I probably didn’t.

What will you never pack? I blew out the fuse in a hotel in Morocco, so I know never to bring a blow dryer to Europe or Morocco. I never pack high heels. I like ankle boots that I can quickly take off getting on and off the plane. Fiorentino and Baker boots are stylish but they feel grounded.

What do you always pack? James Perse is a great travel brand because it folds up really small. And I always travel with a huge oversized scarf that I bought in Morocco; when I’m in Morocco, I use it to cover my head.

What do you wear on a flight? I think the most important thing I wear on a flight is a giant oversized coat with huge pockets because I’m always losing my passport or my tickets in my bag.

Favorite airport or least favorite airport? Least favorite airport is LaGuardia. It’s just awful and inefficient. In Casablanca, getting your bags can be a hassle. Everything is manual, nothing is automated, and they can just decide to take a break in the middle of unloading the luggage.

Are you a fan of room service? No, because I feel kind of sad if I’m doing room service. I have three kids and to me, traveling by myself is a great luxury. It feels like a time to get away and be by myself, and I don’t have any problem going out to restaurants by myself. I think that’s such a treat, to go out on my own in a place that I’m not familiar with.

Do you have a spot in Morocco you always go to or do you try out different hotels each time? In Morocco I generally like to go to the same place: my favorite place is in Fès called Riad Laaroussa. I’ve come to know the owners there, and the staff is just so welcoming whenever I stay there.

Read the original article here. Illustration Courtesy Louisa Cannell

Hong Kong Kahina Pricing

February 17, 2015

A quick note to our Hong Kong fans to let you know that you will likely be seeing different pricing at your favorite Hong Kong retailers. To adapt to changing demands of the market, we have established new MSRP. We do not take MSRP changes lightly, and they are made to make sure that the retailers that offer you Kahina are able to do so sustainably and for the long-term. That means that pricing needs to reflect the very real costs of shipping internationally. We trust you’ll continue to honor them with your business as they provide you the top-notch service you deserve.