Our gift guide for the hostess, traveler, fashion enthusiast. Our curated list of Kahina Giving Beauty gifts that come in their own beautiful wrapping.
Our gift guide for the hostess, traveler, fashion enthusiast. Our curated list of Kahina Giving Beauty gifts that come in their own beautiful wrapping.
Beautifully designed, crafted using traditional methods, culturally and environmentally sustainable – yes, we’ll take it.
These are just some of the reasons why we love Norlha Textiles, a luxury textile company that employs Tibetan nomads on the high plateau to process and transform the fiber from their yaks into beautiful and sophisticated goods of extraordinary quality.
Kahina and Norlha were first connected in the most serendipitous way, as most good things are, when brand strategist and Kahina fan, Marcella Echavarria, was unexpectedly staging a photo shoot for Norlha while in Tibet. Marcella is a natural Columbian beauty who rarely wears makeup herself. When she found herself required to do makeup for the Norlha tradespeople, she used the only thing in her cosmetic case – Kahina Lip & Face Balm. According to Marcella, they loved it, having never experienced anything like it before.
Now, we are thrilled to introduce the beautiful products from the Tibetan Plateau to our customers in the form of a Norlha case specially produced for Kahina. This limited edition sustainable yak and wool hair blend bag with braided horse hair tassle holds our certified organic and fair trade Argan Oil and Lip & Face Balm.
And the rest of the photo shoot? See for yourself. Click here for more information on Norlha and their offerings.
We are so thrilled to announce that Kahina has landed at Follain! Follain is the discerning green beauty destination in Boston and we couldn’t be happier to have a home there.
You can find select Kahina products at the following Follain Boston locations:
Boston – South End: 53 Dartmouth St
Boston – Beacon Hill: 65 Charles Street
And – bonus – while they’re just carrying our Eye Serum at the moment, we also have a home at Follain’s Washington DC outpost: 1309 5th Street NE
We’re looking to fill positions in Sales, Marketing, and Admin/Operations at our New York City office. We’d love to hear from you if you have interest & experience in any of these areas. To apply, please send resume and a cover letter detailing your interest, experience, and desired role within sales, marketing, and/or admin/operations to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Introducing FEZ Perfume Oil, a concentrated fragrance blend of Kahina’s beloved FEZ scent.
Inspired by the sacred Imperial city of Fez, Morocco, FEZ Perfume Oil has it all: seductive florals rose, ylang ylang and neroli, with a dose of heady spice from cumin and clove, earthiness from vetiver and sandalwood and a little grapefruit to lighten it all up.
Fragrance blend made from 100% steam distilled essential oils. Featuring a stainless steel roller ball for easy application.
Available now. Shop it here.
Happy Fall! Today marks the autumnal equinox and New York is welcoming the new season with lots of sun and brisk temperatures. Here’s how we’re easing into the transition to cooler weather with our skincare routine:
This month, Kahina is proud to partner with Beauty Heroes to celebrate the naming of Kahina Eye Serum as an Expert Selection. Beauty Heroes is a subscription box that gives you full-sized items that have been vetted by their team of spa & beauty experts. Interested? Subscribe before September 15, 2015 to get a full-size Kahina Eye Serum plus a deluxe travel size (1 oz.) of our Facial Lotion for just $39.
The recent update to our identity, now Beauty Heroes, could not have happened at a more appropriate time as we announce our September selection from Kahina Giving Beauty. Katharine L’Heureux, the founder of Kahina has taken her process of developing an ingredient driven, effective and beautifully packaged skincare line and turned it into a heroic venture that contributes substantially to the lives of women in Morocco. Deeply invested in their wellbeing, she travels to personally oversee how Kahina Giving Beauty can optimally direct resources, and ‘give beauty’ back to these women. I recently spent some time with Katharine in New York and got to see first hand how she balances the success of an iconic beauty brand with a mission to support communities of women making her a defining Beauty Hero. I hope you enjoy this glimpse behind Kahina Giving Beauty and take time to explore more of the line when you consider beauty products that benefit your skin while transforming the lives of women.
What inspired you to create Kahina Giving Beauty? Had you always wanted to formulate natural and organic skincare?
Following the birth of my third child 11 years ago, I was searching for safe and effective all-natural skincare products that, at the time, were hard to find. While on a trip to Morocco in 2007 I discovered argan oil – which is rich in Vitamin E, essential fatty acids and antioxidants. I began by importing the argan oil, then worked with an experienced chemist to formulate the line I was yearning for – simple, effective, organic skincare products, using high quality ingredients from around the world that are ethically produced and beautifully packaged with this amazing ingredient at their core.
What inspired the name Kahina Giving Beauty?
My aim was to honor the Berber women who extract the argan oil in Morocco. Kahina is the name of a Berber queen and prophetess who reigned in North Africa in 700 CE. Giving Beauty, our company name, refers to our policy of giving back to these women – by paying them a fair wage and donating to programs that support them and their families. It also acknowledges the generations of traditional remedies and healing techniques that they’ve been kind enough to share with us.
What’s your workspace like?
My space is very important to me. I’m very fortunate to work out of my loft in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan with my superstar employee, Mairin Cipolla, where we enjoy great views of the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings. Working at home allows me to be flexible with my time, which is necessary with my kids coming and going.
When it’s time to create a new product, how do you begin?
I’ve created each of my products based on what I personally need and would want to use. Usually, we’ll have internal discussions beginning with objectives for the product, outlining the benefits we’d like to achieve and how and when we’d use it.
What IS your process? Do you begin with an ingredient or an objective?
Once we’ve decided on the product we’d like to make, we’ll research ingredients that would work well. This is the fun part! We’re certified by Ecocert, so we search for certified organic and natural ingredients that comply with their standards. The list of proven effective natural ingredients continues to grow and evolve in exciting ways and this most definitely informs the products we produce. We discuss efficacy, scent profile, consistency, texture, and packaging options, and then my chemist gets to work. We’ll go through a number of rounds before we get to a point where we feel satisfied with the precise formula. Once approved, products have to withstand rigorous challenge and stability testing, so our chemist’s knowledge and experience is invaluable in creating products that will stand up over time and in a range of environments.
How often do you make a new product? How long does that process take?
We try to keep the line simple and meaningful, so we introduce a new product just once or twice a year. The entire process, from idea to finished product takes at least 18 months. With testing, certification, production and packaging, there’s no room to be impetuous.
What’s been the biggest discovery for you lately in terms of the creative process – or in creating a specific new product?
I have come to realize that much of the creative process is a result of having an open mind, letting go and trusting in forces beyond my control. If I envision a thing one way, but things happen to make it work out differently, often it will turn out better than originally planned. The most engaging works of art are often dialogues between the creator and the environment. It’s why I enjoy gardening, wine and creating natural cosmetics.
Is it safe to assume that Argan Oil is your favorite superpower ingredient? What specifically do you love about it?
Argan oil is certainly my first love. It’s a multi-purpose ingredient, with high concentrations of vitamin E and essential fatty acids, and works well on most skin types and for a myriad of skin concerns – from addressing signs of aging to acne. It also has uses for hair, nails and body. What’s not to love?
Since starting Kahina, I’ve discovered so many amazing new ingredients that we combine with the argan oil in our formulations, including sea buckthorn seed oil, carrot seed oil, and my latest love, Prickly Pear Seed Oil, which is sourced from the same women who supply our argan oil in Morocco.
How about a favorite product in the collection?
It’s so hard to choose only one, as they’re meant to be used together for the best results. Each product assists the next in achieving optimal, glowing, healthy skin. I do have a soft spot for the eye serum, though. It’s resolved issues of under-eye puffiness many mornings when I didn’t look as bright and awake as I would’ve wished!
How often do you visit Morocco? How long do you stay when you go? Any favorite places you’d like to tell us about?
I visit Morocco at least once or twice a year for at least 10 days each time. There is a lot of ground to cover on my trips, usually from Casablanca to Marrakesh, then Essaouira, Agadir and Taroudant in the South. This usually means a couple of hours a day are spent driving, but it’s a great way to experience Morocco and witness the rural way of life there. One of my favorite drives is from Essaouira to Agadir, through the argan forest and along the beautiful unspoiled Atlantic coastline, passing through some typical small villages along the way. My two favorite places to stay in all of Morocco are Riad Laaroussa in Fez and the Atlas Kasbah Ecolodge in Agadir – both of which are meticulously restored historic structures run by friendly and charming couples with an eye toward authenticity and cultural preservation.
You recently visited Morocco and the cooperatives where you source your ingredients? Can you share a glimpse into your trip?
Visiting the women who extract the oil for Kahina is always a touchstone for me, renewing my passion and excitement for the work I do. These women live in a remote village high in the Anti-Atlas Mountains in Southern Morocco. They are extremely poor, with no electricity or running water. They work hard just to survive, but they are truly aligned with nature in their daily rhythms, which connects them to the earth and to each other in a joyful way. It’s very rewarding for me to see how their work for Kahina benefits them, and to discover other ways in which we can help. In the last six months, we were able to build a bathroom with clean running water for a Middle School to help increase girls’ attendance. We also donated clothing and supplies to a village devastated by flooding last Fall.
Do you have a personal mantra that inspires you?
One very simple, but helpful one I picked up in Morocco, “give time to time,” meaning be patient and let events unfold as they will. Also, thank you, God.
Where might I run into you on a Sunday morning?
That depends on where I am and the time of year. Right now, weekends are spent at our home in the Hudson Valley working in the garden followed by lunch with my husband and whichever kids are home. Fall and Winter weekends find my family and I in Manhattan where my husband and I like to take walks along the Hudson River and then we shop for lunch at Chelsea Market.
How do you relax?
Nothing makes me lose track of time like working in the garden. I love that it stretches me physically while also offering a time of contemplation and a creative outlet. There are also so many philosophical aspects to working in the garden: You can learn so much from observing plants, their power to heal and delight, to attract and repel in order to survive.
As summer draws to an end and we prepare for “back-to-school”, it is easy to overlook what we often take for granted. Education is a privilege not readily available to many of the world’s girls, often due to an arduous commute.
In Morocco, adolescent girls living in remote villages are most likely to drop out of school around the age of twelve because of lack of access to middle and higher education in their immediate vicinities. Parents of teenaged girls are often unwilling to let them travel long distances away from home due to concerns for their safety and social restrictions. With few options, girls in Morocco are often forced into early marriage. According to UNFPA, “In developing countries, one in every three girls is married before reaching age 18. One in nine is married under age 15.”
Kahina Giving Beauty is proud to support Education For All, Morocco, now opening its fifth boarding school for girls in the High Atlas Mountains. This means that an additional 40 girls can attend school beyond the fifth grade. The success rate that can be attributed to the free room and board provided by Education For All is impressive, with a 97% pass rate across all levels (12-18 years). There are now 18 graduates enrolled at university – the first in their villages to ever reach this level of education. Education for All is also able to support them with living grants so they can focus on their studies and pursue their future dreams.
To get a clearer picture of just what free room and board for these girls means, watch this especially moving UNESCO video and powerful documentary about a day in the life of Fatima, one of the EFA girls. Without the help of Education For All, 15-year-old Fatima’s daily commute to school could take up to eight hours. Her only other option would be marriage at a young age arranged by her parents.
Your freshman year at skincare school is almost complete. Are you feeling that second semester listlessness? Stay with us! This session we’re detailing treatment products, including those for the eye area. What are they, what kinds are on the market, and who should use them.
What do we mean by treatment?
A treatment product has many forms: it could be a mask, a serum, a cream. Let’s define treatment as a product who has a fairly specific function, key ingredient(s) to realize that function, and is “targeted” toward improving one or more specific areas. It goes beyond the basics and is an add-on product; not one that your most basic skincare regimen has to have.
What kinds of treatment products are on the market?
So, so many. Products to combat redness, products to promote collagen, products for reducing breakouts, products to minimize dark circles… and neck creams. Retinoids are a huge category of tried-and-true treatment products. Retinoids can be prescription (less “green”) or OTC (lots of green options, though have different forms than their prescription counterparts and are generally regarded as gentler and taking more time to have an effect).
How do I choose a treatment product that is right for me?
For eye products, this is fairly straightforward: pick your top concern (wrinkles? dryness? puffiness? dark circles?) and research which products/ingredients will address that concern. Read product reviews and consider what form the eye treatment comes in. Do you prefer a cream over a balm? Or maybe you like a light serum? Or an oil? What about a rollerball or your finger? Lucky for you, the green beauty realm excels in offering eye treatments in all forms and modes of application.
As for all-over facial treatment products, the first rule is to cut through marketing hype. Mass market brands tend to be very specific in naming their products to appeal to one specific skin concern. If you follow their lead, you could have 20+ products in your medicine cabinet, one for each perceived flaw. These numerous treatment products do not a smart skincare regimen make. Start with a simple routine to support skin health; you might notice that those very specific “flaws” get better with consistency, simplicity, and quality ingredients. If, after a month or two, you’re still noticing the same issue, begin researching your options. Best practices alert: we always recommend incorporating one new product at a time, giving it a full month or more to do it’s thing, and then change it up or add more if you’re doing well. If you are considering treatment products for improving medical skin conditions (acne, rosacea), it’d be prudent to consult a dermatologist.
What does Kahina have on offer in terms of treatments products?
Well, we’d consider our Antioxidant Mask a great exfoliator, anti-ager, and anti-acne treatment product, but we’ve gone over it here. We’d also consider our Night Cream and Serum top anti-aging treatment products, but again – we’ve covered them here and here. What haven’t we covered in skincare school yet? Brightening Serum! This is really the definition of a treatment product as it was very specifically formulated to target dark marks caused by UV exposure – also known as sun spots – and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation – also known as post-acne marks. We’ve also got our eye treatment products: Eye Cream and Eye Serum. More on those two later.
Who should use Kahina Brightening Serum?
As we said above, those who want to improve the appearance of dark marks caused by sun damage or acne. Sea daffodil (pancratium maritimum) and wakame (undaria pinnatifida), are the two main ingredients that work to down-regulate a hormonal/enzyme process that produces excess melanin. This process takes time – 4-6 weeks. In the meantime, we’d recommend a zinc-oxide based sunscreen for whenever you’ll be exposed to the sun, as the sun will make fading those dark marks even harder.
Kahina Brightening Serum, though, has some additional benefits that may entice someone with little-to-no hyperpigmentation. First of all, it has a light aloe vera & argan oil base. This means it moisturizes and soothes on contact, helping calm redness which can contribute to uneven skin tone. Sodium hyaluronate, rice seed extract, spirulina, and shea butter further moisturize, helping smooth skin’s surface – this will also help with the appearance of more even skin. Wakame, other than decreasing melanin, is also a general skin protectant, along with pinus pinaster, both helping to support skin’s natural defense system against pollution like car exhaust, cigarette smoke, and heavy metals. Bisabolol and blue tansy are two essential oils with calming, anti-irritant properties. We recommend Brightening Serum for those who spend a lot of time in the sun or in big cities with high pollution levels, or for anyone with redness-prone skin.
When do you use Brightening Serum?
You can use it morning and evening (or morning or evening) after cleansing and toning and before your oil/serum/moisturizer. Since it contains no bleaching or photosensitizing ingredients (and in fact can help protect from the sun and pollutants!), feel free to use it before sun exposure. Use daily for best results.
Now… for the all-time most asked question in the Kahina FAQ hall of fame:
Should I get the Eye Serum or the Eye Cream?
We’re going to repeat this question in case you didn’t hear/read it the first time.
Should I get the Eye Serum or the Eye Cream?
Are you paying attention? Great. We will answer everyone’s question now.
Let’s start with the good news. Both products have the following key ingredients to combat your most common eye concerns: Peptides for collagen support and gradual reduction of fine lines. Argan Oil and sodium hyaluronate for moisturizing and plumping, good for temporarily minimizing fine lines on contact (plus the argan oil has skin-supporting antioxidants!). Rhodiola rosea and yeast extract to boost microcirculation for improving puffiness and dark circles.
Now, a few questions for you…
Are you open to owning and using more than one eye product?
Do you strongly prefer one texture (cream/lightweight serum) over another?
And finally, what is your primary eye concern? Circle one: Puffiness. Dark Circles. Dryness. Irritation. Fine Lines.
Why’d we ask #1? Because for some people who want some of what we call “eye therapy“, you can layer Eye Serum under Eye Cream, morning and evening as desired. OR you can use one in the morning and one in the evening; generally people prefer Eye Serum as a pick-me-up in the morning and Eye Cream as a soothing pre-bedtime ritual. If you’re into this idea, check out our deal on Eye Therapy (because we all know therapy is expensive). Not into buying two eye products? That’s fine; we’ll narrow down your choices.
Why’d we ask #2? If you strongly prefer a cream over a serum, get the cream. Like we said above, both products contain the key actives for all eye concerns. Go with what you like; don’t make this complicated!
Why’d we ask #3? So let’s say you don’t want to commit to Eye Therapy, and you don’t really care if it’s a cream or a serum, so you need to pick just one. If your primary eye concerns are puffiness or dark circles, go with the Eye Serum. If your primary eye concerns are dryness, irritation or fine lines, go with the Eye Cream.
Eye Serum contains the puffiness/dark circle fighting rhodiola rosea-yeast combo in a higher concentration and in a more easily penetrable form (liquid). Polygonum fagopyrum in the Eye Serum reduces the amount of fat in adipocytes or fat cells that develop below the skin’s surface (what?! wow!). Eye Cream is more emollient and soothing, providing a cushion of moisture that will hydrate, soothe irritation, and minimize fine lines (because they’ve been plumped by that moisture!).
Here’s another FAQ: Do you really need a separate eye product?
We’re of the opinion that yes, you do. Eye products are specially formulated for the thin, delicate skin around the eyes and their ingredients are chosen to target specific eye concerns, ones you might not have all over your face.
In summary, while we always recommend an eye-specific treatment product no matter who you are, a targeted treatment product might only be necessary if you have specific goals/concerns outside a basic skincare regimen (even a “basic” regimen can contain many effective actives, too!) and the product will meet/address them. Choose a treatment product only after you’ve committed to a steady daily regimen for a month, and then go one product at a time, giving it enough time to work. For our Brightening Serum, that’s 4-6 weeks for dark mark lightening and for many retinoids, it’s as much as four months.
And with that, class is dismissed!
BEHIND THE BEAUTY: MEET KATHARINE OF KAHINA GIVING BEAUTY
Meet Katharine L’Heureux, founder of Kahina Giving Beauty, one of the big players in the luxury green beauty industry. The line has been setting standards and raising the bar for quality and sustainable ingredient sourcing since its inception. With argan oil at the base of all its formulations, Kahina Giving Beauty is great for all skin types and tones, with hydrating, healing ingredients that support the indigenous Berber women of Morocco—plus, it’s ECOCERT certified, meaning you can trust where all its beautiful products are coming from. Read on to learn more about the line and how Katharine founded it (plus score a deal on the line’s newest product!).
Tell us how you started Kahina Giving Beauty.
I stumbled upon argan oil on a trip to Morocco in 2007. I was without my go-to brands after they were confiscated from my carry-on bag at JFK and so I bought some argan oil to try while shopping at the souk in Marrakesh. I never imagined that I would create my own skincare line, but when I discovered argan oil on that trip, I realized I had found the skincare solution I had been searching for—effective, organic and making a positive difference in the lives of the people who produce it. I began by importing the argan oil, and soon after I decided to create the line I was yearning for: simple, effective, organic skincare products, ethically produced and beautifully packaged, with this amazing ingredient at its core. Rich in vitamin E, essential fatty acids and antioxidants, argan oil is a superstar ingredient that works on a multitude of skin problems, from acne to eczema.
What’s your favorite product from the line? Why?
It’s so hard to single out one product as they are all like my children. And they are all meant to work together for optimal results. But if I have to pick, I’ll say argan oil as it was my first love. It is perfect in its simplicity and purity, and I love how multipurpose it is. Not to mention the financial and social opportunities that the work of producing it provides impoverished women of rural Morocco.
What makes you feel beautiful?
When I can truly relax and be myself is when I feel most beautiful. Usually, I’m without makeup, in my most comfortable clothes, surrounded by people I love—and not thinking about how I look!
What’s the most challenging thing about being a small business owner?
I’m fortunate to be doing what I love, but being the owner of a small business means never being able to truly be off-duty. With distribution partners around the globe, the emails never stop coming in (I need to start sleeping with my phone in another room). And with just one other person on my staff, It means we both need to wear many hats, often having to figure out things on the fly.
What passions do you have outside Kahina?
Travel. I love getting outside of my comfort zone, seeing unfamiliar landscapes, and finding common footing with diverse people in foreign cultures. It’s like a drug for me. And I obviously have a special place in my heart for Morocco.
Nature. On the weekends, I’m at our Hudson Valley home spending time outdoors, kayaking, hiking or working in our ever-expanding garden.
New York City. I am invigorated and inspired by the bustle of the city I call home.
My husband and three kids, of course!
What has changed most in the green beauty industry since you started Kahina?
So many great brands have taken the stage since Kahina launched. The demand for authentic natural beauty products has grown among consumers and retailers are rising to meet it. This has meant an explosion in small brands working to produce honest, clean products. This in turn puts pressure on the ingredients suppliers to offer more natural and organic versions of preservatives as well as active ingredients. As they say, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” It’s a win for everyone.
If you could share one piece of advice for holistic living, what would it be?
There is no one size fits all approach to holistic living, but I would advise planting an organic garden. Connecting to the earth and your food source, moving, creating, nurturing, meditating, improving the soil and growing your own healthy food are all components of gardening, and are, to me, keys to well-being. If you live in a city, you can join a community garden, which also serves to strengthen your bonds with the neighbors—an added bonus.
Any secret uses of your products that we should know about?
Many of Kahina products do double duty in my hair: Toning Mist and our balms provide moisture and hold, and I always rub what is left on my hands of the Facial Lotion onto my hair for added moisture, control and protection. Of course, everyone knows to use pure argan oil as a conditioner and de-frizzer at this point.
How can we be more conscious consumers to affect change in the beauty industry?
Learn how to read labels or buy from brands that are certified by a reputable organization like Ecocert so you aren’t supporting brands that make false claims. Seek out and support independent brands that are ethically sourcing ingredients and using environmentally sound packaging. Go to your local department store/apothecary and ask for those brands by name.
What do you do when you feel overwhelmed or burned out?
I try to focus on and feel gratitude for what brings me joy—my family, my health, having my own business and being able to help others. But sometimes I need a little help getting to that emotional plane. Exercise and time with my family are my stabilizers. Nature and museums are my chapels.
Katharine's lifelong pursuit of natural skincare that works finally culminated in a trip to Morocco where she discovered the effectiveness of pure argan oil. Working with a chemist specializing in organic cosmetics, she developed the Kahina line to fulfill her own desire for a simple yet effective organic skin care regimen.