Archive | Katharine L’Heureux

The Power of an Image

girls with photo

In this age of the ever-present selfie, it is hard to imagine a world where many people have never even seen a photograph of themselves. This is often the case in the remote villages of rural Morocco. Sharing my photos with the women and children on my visits has been a great source of entertainment for all of us, especially seeing the young girls and boys striking poses and racing back to me to look immediately in the view finder, then demanding more while jockeying for a prominent position in the group photo. Seeing the young women carefully analyze their photos is fascinating to me. I can’t imagine being so unfamiliar with my own image, but with mirrors and glass windows a rarity, these girls rarely even see a reflective surface. Far from disliking their photos because of an unflattering angle, as we are so ready to do, these girls typically respond with peals of laughter.

I recently had the honor of an introduction to Heather Binns, a talented photographer volunteering for an organization called Prints for Prints. Prints for Prints reminds me of the value of the family photograph. From the Prints for Prints website:

A family photograph is a precious thing to many of us, and especially to people who live in rural areas and often do not have a record of their children or elders. Prints for Prints creates makeshift studios in rural villages, working with local student photographers when possible, for the purpose of donating prints to those who do not have photographs of their loved ones.

Heather will be traveling to Morocco in February. It gives me great pleasure to sponsor her work with Kahina’s charitable partners, the High Atlas Foundation and Education for All, Morocco, where she will document their work and donate prints to families and the girls in the boarding home to send home to their loved ones. I hope you will join us in following Heather on her journey via instragram @heathre. We look forward to sharing some of her photos here.

women with photos

Being Content Interviews Katharine L’Heureux

Kahina Giving Beauty at Content Beauty

As we celebrate the launch of Kahina Giving Beauty in-store and online this week, we caught up with the inspiring founder, Katharine L’Heureux, to find out more about this #mindfulbeauty brand – as kind to skin as it is the environment.

Katharine L'Heureux of Kahina Giving Beauty at Content Beauty

What inspired you to create Kahina Giving Beauty?

I had been searching for effective organic skincare at the time when I traveled to Morocco in 2007. It was on that trip that I discovered Argan Oil and realized I had found the single ingredient I had been searching for – sustainable, multi-purpose and effective. After sharing the oil with friends I discovered that I wasn’t the only one searching for simple organic skincare that works. I made frequent trips to Morocco to source the highest quality Argan Oil and developed a deep appreciation for Morocco, particularly the Berber women who do the hardwork of extracting the Argan Oil. It was then I decided to create the Kahina line of ethically sourced skincare that honors and gives back to these women.

We love a company that gives back. How does shopping the Kahina collection benefit the world outside the direct benefit for the company?

The philosophy behind Kahina Giving Beauty is to create a sustainable skincare line that respects the environment and provides real benefits to the women who do the hard work of extracting the Argan Oil which is at the heart of the line. To that end, we use organic ingredients whenever possible, recycled or recyclable packaging and, most importantly, work only with co-ops in Morocco who pay a fair wage to the women. In addition, we donate to programs that support the Berber women and their families.

I’m always looking for ways to give back and provide the Berber women with opportunity. As a small company, sometimes we need to be creative! For the women who inhabit the Argan forest in the Southwest of Morocco, the hard work of extracting Argan Oil offers them their only means of financial and social independence. Here are a few ways we have helped them in – and outside of the workplace:

  • Funding the organic certification of a women’s cooperative to allow them to more successfully participate in the international Argan trade. The previously unprofitable cooperative now provides steady wages for its 46 members.
  • Donations to Education for All in Morocco (EFA), an organization that provides free boarding for girls so that they can continue their education beyond primary school. Currently, most girls end school after third grade because their parents are not comfortable sending them away to the cities where the centralized upper level schools are located. EFA provides room and board as well as extra-curricular educational programs for these girls.
  • The purchase of sheep for the women of the Idzouane Mountains in southern Morocco. With the purchase of a sheep for each woman in a village there, these women now can provide milk for their children and have a supply of wool for weaving rugs, now sold on the Kahina website, to further their economic independence.
  • Donations to the High Atlas Foundation to support their one billion tree campaign. To date, Kahina has raised money to plant, irrigate and transport 250 trees to support rural villages through community run nurseries in the Southwest of Morocco.
  • Donations to the High Atlas Foundation to deliver clean drinking water to a girls’ school in the High Atlas Mountains.

The range incorporates the star ingredient, Argan Oil, how does it benefit the skin?

Argan Oil is my first love and the real star of Kahina Giving Beauty. With twice the amount of tocopherols (Vitamin E) as in olive oil, and high concentrations of Omega 6 and 9 fatty acids in Argan Oil moisturizes, reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, restores elasticity and calms inflammation. It also contains plant sterols that actually treat acne and because it isn’t greasy it works well for all skin types and on a multitude of concerns.

If we wanted to try one key product from the range, where would you suggest we start?

I love all my products and they all have their individual place and purpose. But the one product I can’t live without is the pure Argan Oil. I use it as an eye make-up remover for my face and body and in my hair. It’s the perfect all-purpose product.

Is there a specific combination of products that work well for different skin types?

Spot prone:

AM: Cleanser + Toning Mist + Argan Oil (optional: Brightening Serum between Toning Mist & Argan Oil)
Eye: Eye Serum
PM: Cleanser + Toning Mist + Argan Oil (optional: Brightening Serum between Toning Mist & Argan Oil)
Eye: Eye Cream
Twice weekly: Antioxidant Mask
Dry + mature:

AM: Cleanser + Toning Mist + Argan Oil + Facial Lotion (optional: Brightening Serum between Toning Mist & Argan Oil)
Eye: Eye Serum + Eye Cream
PM: Cleanser + Toning Mist + Serum + Night Cream (optional: Brightening Serum between Toning Mist & Serum)
Eye: Eye Serum + Eye Cream
Twice weekly: Antioxidant Mask

AM: Cleanser + Toning Mist + Argan Oil + Facial Lotion
AM: Eye Serum
PM: Cleanser + Toning Mist + Argan Oil + Facial Lotion
PM: Eye Cream
Once every week: Antioxidant Mask

We love the new Fez Hand and Body Balm – what are some of the key benefits we can expect to experience from regular use?

Inspired by the mysterious and exotic city of Fez, Morocco, our Fez Hand & Body Balm is a nourishing and soothing balm that will instantly restore and soften severely dry, chapped skin. A rich blend of argan oil, carrot seed oil, shea butter, coconut oil, olive oil and mango nut butter – this unique blend creates a velvety base that deeply moisturisers and naturally soothes irritated skin. Infused with Calendula, known for its anti-inflammatory and powerful healing properties, the Fez Hand & Body Balm can be used on hands, feet, elbows and any other areas in need of softening and deep hydration. Scented with Kahina’s signature Fez fragrance, the balm leaves behind a subtle earthy, warm scent to calm the senses and ground the spirit while leaving the skin soft and radiant.

View the original post on Being Content.

Eco Diva Beauty Interview

I had the pleasure of meeting Katharine L’Heureux, founder of Kahina Giving Beauty, at the Elements Showcasein January. With her came a spirit of humility, gratitude, and an overall passion for life. She is the perfect example of sometime who is creating the change that they wants to see in the world, and that’s why this luxury organic skincare brand is going to be around for a long time.

Tell us about yourself and Kahina Giving Beauty.

I’m the founder of Kahina Giving Beauty, a simple and effective skincare line based on highest quality and ethically sourced ingredients from around the world.  With organic and fair trade argan oil at its core, Kahina Giving Beauty provides real skincare solutions that advance people and the planet.  A percentage of profits from the sale of all Kahina products goes to the indigenous Berber women of Morocco who extract the oil at the heart of our line.

“I am certainly ecologically minded and don’t believe I need to sacrifice my personal style to do so.”

Kahina Press

 Name one of Kahina’s recent successes, and tell us about your next big goal!

My latest business success was to be able to provide 100 sheep for the Berber women who source the argan oil at the heart of Kahina.  My next goal is to provide them with clean, solar-powered cooking stoves so they don’t have to cut down argan trees for cooking.

Take us behind your brand, what does a day in your life look like?

Since I just returned from visiting my argan suppliers in Morocco, I’ll tell you what my day in the village of Tazghelilt looked like.   After waking up to the sounds of donkeys braying and roosters crowing, I eat a breakfast of crepes and eggs in the home of my supplier. Then I’m off to see the sheep I donated living in the homes of the Berber women.  I’m happy to discover that the sheep have grown big and fat.  A quick visit to the center for weaving in the village, where I purchase some hand-loomed rugs from the women.  After that I do an inspection of the facility where argan oil is cold-pressed by machine and have a meeting with my supplier before driving down the mountain toward Agadir, where I eat fresh fish at the port!

What part of your job do you love most?

My favorite part of my job is working with the Berber women and being able to help them materially.  I also love developing fabulous new products for our line using argan oil and other amazing all natural ingredients.

Do you think it’s important to love what you do, or make good money?

I hope that if you do what you love, the money will follow.

Is owning your own business as glamorous as it sounds?

Owning a small start-up means I have to be ready to do most all jobs from doing interviews to packing up boxes for shipping and to sourcing the argan oil.  Some of it feels very glamorous, but the majority of my time is spent doing pretty unglamorous work.

Would you consider yourself an Eco Diva?

I am certainly ecologically minded and don’t believe I need to sacrifice my personal style to do so.  To the contrary, I believe that being conscientious is the most on-trend way to live – and hopefully will be for a long time to come.

Tilda Swinton at the Veni 001

What celebrity do you look at for style inspiration and why?

I love Tilda Swinton for her beautiful minimalist style – and that she doesn’t follow trends, but has identified her own individual style and adheres to it.

Where are Kahina products made? And how did you choose your supplier?

I import the argan oil from Morocco and manufacture products in the US.  In selecting my argan oil supplier and my manufacturer, it is important to me that they share my vision of providing the highest quality products based on ethically sourced natural and organic ingredients.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

French fries and red wine

Favorite way to unwind?

French fries and red wine 🙂

Fes Morocco

What is your favorite travel hot spot?

I prefer to avoid hot spots, but my all time favorite destination is Fes, Morocco.

Thank you Katharine! To buy all Kahina‘s ethically sourced and sustainably made products, head over to Eco Diva.

luxury organic skincare

My personal faves are the Serum and Cleanser and Brightening Serum.

See the original post on Eco Diva Beauty.

Interview with Bare Beauty

Katharine took some time with Jessica of Bare Beauty to share the history of Kahina and what keeps her motivated – enjoy the interview! Read the original here.


Kahina Glow Box on Bare Beauty
Bette Walker Photography

Girrrrrrl, I’m about to save your @$$ this holiday season. The Kahina Giving Beauty Glow Box is the best Green Beauty gift set I’ve seen for under $100. It contains Kahina’s organic, fair trade argan oil, a beautifully wrapped handmade rosemary lavender argan soap and their intoxicating FEZ body serum. Not only is it a fantastic sampling of Kahina’s life-changing, eco-conscious product line, the packaging is so beautiful – all you need to do is tie a ribbon around the box. Done and done. Why haven’t you bought five of these already? Cost: $75. Purchase it here.

And because you should know a thing or two about what exactly you are giving this holiday, (hint: when you give the Glow Box, you are doing more than just gifting your sister some high-end argan oil) read on for an informative and inspiring Q&A with Kahina Giving Beauty’s founder, Katharine L’Heureux.

Katharine L'Heureux in Morocco

BB: There are so many Argan oil companies out there. What makes Kahina Giving Beauty different?

KGB: There are quite a few companies selling argan oil and claiming argan oil as an ingredient in their formulations now. This wasn’t the case at all when we launched Kahina in 2009. At that time, argan oil was hardly known and people were reluctant to use pure oil on their faces. Times have really changed and argan oil has become extremely popular. As is often the case with popularity, companies tend to jump on trends without attention to details that ensure quality. We have always gone to great lengths to ensure that our oil is of the highest quality, carefully harvested and produced using the best extraction techniques, then packaged with an eye toward preserving the ingredient. We create thoughtful formulations using high concentrations of argan oil with other high quality, carefully sourced ingredients from around the world, with as much organic content as possible to create products that really work and that have a minimal impact on the environment.

BB: Kahina is Fair Trade. What does that really mean for the women who work at your co-op?

KGB: Purchasing certified Fair Trade Argan Oil means that women are paid a fair wage for their work and that a percentage of the purchase price of the oil goes to programs that support them. At Kahina Giving Beauty, we go beyond Fair Trade requirements and donate an additional percentage of our revenue to support the Berber women of Morocco. Kahina provides support to these women in the areas of health, literacy, work education and increased opportunity.

BB: What are your favorite, cannot-live-without beauty products?

KGB: I use the entire Kahina line everyday. The product I’m especially loving right now is our FEZ Hand and Body Balm. Other products I use on an almost daily basis are Suntegrity 5 in 1 Moisturizing Sunscreen, W3LL People Foundation Concealer, Yarok Feed Your Volume for hair, and Ilia lipstick in Arabian Nights.

BB: Kahina Giving Beauty was somewhat of a happy accident; you “discovered” an amazing product while on vacation. What drove you to persist in establishing and growing your company?

KGB: I strongly felt that there was a need in the market for beautifully packaged, organic skincare that delivered, but I was also driven by my love for Morocco and desire to help the impoverished women of that country.

BB: You are a mother. What do you hope your children, particularly your daughter, learn from you and your venture with Kahina Giving Beauty?

KGB: I hope I set an example for them to live consciously, compassionately, and healthfully. I hope to show them that they can create, and succeed, while helping people and the planet.

Thank you, Katharine!

Creams vs. Balms

Green beauty maven Sarita Coren pitted balms vs. creams and asked the experts to weigh in on when to use which and why. Katharine spoke about Kahina Night Cream, FEZ Hand & Body Balm, and (surprise!) our newest launch, which will be a Lip & Face Balm, out in mid-January.

Photo Credit Sarita Coren Photo by Sarita Coren

What advantages are there to using a cream vs. a balm?
Our skin is made up mostly of water. As oil and water don’t mix, the liquids, whether water, or in the case of our Night Cream, aloe vera juice, glycerin and grape juice extract, in a cream create an emulsion with the oil allowing the active ingredients to penetrate more deeply into the lower layers of the skin. For the same reason, we recommend applying a hydrosol, such as our Toning Mist before applying oils. Because fluids aid in oil absorption. The liquid ingredients in our Night Cream are also working to hydrate and calm skin and to deliver powerful antioxidants.

It’s important for skin to be hydrated and moisturized. Emollients like oils or butters accomplish moisturization but hydration comes from water. Think about “dry skin” vs. “dehydrated skin.” You can have oily, dehydrated skin. What is your skin lacking in that case? Water. All the oil/butters in the world are not going to help you if your skin is dehydrated.

Why did you choose a cream base and not a balm? Was a balm a consideration?
There is a place for both in our skincare line. The Night Cream was developed for nightly use (although many people love it during the day) as a deep moisturizer with serious anti-aging properties that will allow skin to breathe during its restoration cycle while you sleep. Balms are wonderful for protecting and healing surface layers of skin. We have a Hand and Body Balm that is great for moisturizing and healing extremely dry hands, feet and elbows, and we will soon be introducing our Kahina Lip and Face Balm, which will be wonderful to protect skin during the cold NYC winter.

How have you handled the issue of preservatives, emulsifiers, additives that are necessary when water is an ingredient?
The primary preservative we use in our formulations is p-anisic acid, derived from anise, and rosemary extract. Our formulations undergo extensive challenge testing to ensure stability and shelf life of at least two years.

You include many outstanding ingredients in the formula. Can you tell me about absorption of nutrients?
As I mentioned earlier, the aloe vera juice, glycerin, and grape juice extract, create an emulsion to assist with absorption of the resveratrol and the oils and plant extracts in the Night Cream.

Read the full article here, with insights from brands like Osmia and Cecilia Wong.

Fresh Faced Interview

Katharine L'Heureux of Kahina Giving Beauty Interview by Fresh Faced

A lifetime believer in the potential of beauty rituals to delight and empower, Kahina Giving Beauty founder Katharine L’Heureux discovered argan oil on the first of many journeys to Morocco. Recognizing a need in the marketplace for beautifully packaged, effective organic skin care that nourishes skin and spirit, Katharine conceived of a niche beauty brand that would give back. To realize her vision to connect women across the world through beauty, Katharine developed and produced the Kahina product line and brand, infusing it with her minimalist esthetic and philanthropic spirit (the company donates 25 percent of its profits to the indigenous Berber women who extract the oil at the heart of the line). She personally sources the argan that goes into Kahina products to ensure the highest quality oil and fair compensation for the women who extract it.

I had a chance to ask Katharine about her inspirations, how she balances business with personal life, and her own beauty philosophy. (And I’m super excited to share the new products she’s working on!)

FF: What inspired you to start Kahina Giving Beauty?
KLH: I had been searching for a natural skincare line that was truly effective. In 2007 the choices were limited.When I discovered argan oil on vacation in Morocco that year, I realized I had finally found the skincare ingredient I had been searching for. When I learned more about the women who work to extract the oil and about the argan forest, I realized I could create a company that could have a positive impact both socially and environmentally, while providing high-performance, results-driven skincare.

FF: What does a typical day look like for you?
KLH: My day starts at 6:45 when I wake up to get my kids breakfast and off to school. Luckily, my youngest goes to school close to our apartment in Manhattan so we can take it a little easy until 8:30I usually get some emails done over morning coffee. When I’m not travelling, I’m at my office, which happens to be my dining room table. We’re a small company, just myself and one employee, so we both have to wear many hats.I spend most of my time managing the sales team, developing new products, working with Moroccan suppliers, and overseeing production, but I can also be found packing boxes for shipping or affixing tags to our limited edition gift sets. The good thing about working from home is that I can be there when my kids return from school. In between the travel, the work, and the kids, I try to fit in some sort of exercise routine, whether it’s a yoga class, some time spent on the treadmill, or a walk along the Hudson River. I’m at home for family dinner and helping my kids with their homework most nights.

FF: Where do you draw inspiration?
KLH: My father for his sense of humour in the face of life’s challenges and his integrity. The Berber women for their strength, their spirit, and their ability to create beauty from the simplest of materials. Morocco inspires me for the complete sensory experience it providesvivid colours, exotic smells, and the beautiful sounds of music and the daily call to prayer. Finally, Donna Karan for her minimalist but accessible aesthetic and for creating Urban Zen, a company and foundation based on the principle of helping others.

FF: Can you tell me a little bit about your ingredients and how you select them?
KLH: First and foremost, our ingredients need to be effective, whether they’re the actives that contribute to skin health or the preservatives that support shelf-life and stability. Our products are certified by Ecocert, so the ingredients and their processing methods must pass Ecocert’s rigid standards for environmental protection and consumer safety. Finally, we source ingredients ethically, from small family farms and certified fair trade whenever possible.

FF: What sets Kahina apart from other brands?
KLH: Kahina was one of the first brands to bring argan oil to the U.S. In 2007, there were a handful of brands using it in their formulations, but we were the first to create a complete natural and organic skincare line based on its amazing properties. We use very high concentrations of the best, selectively-sourced argan oil, something that can’t be said for most brands piggy-backing on the argan oil trend. Kahina is also one of the pioneers of the “luxury organic” category, bringing luxury packaging and efficacy to the natural market. But what really makes us stand out, I think, is our dedication to sustainability from the ground up, beginning with our sourcing the best organic ingredients, to our recycled and recyclable packaging, and finally to our support of the women who extract the oil at the heart of our line.

FF: Can you share your personal beauty philosophy?
KLH: I hate to sound cliché, but beauty really does come from feeling good about yourself. When a woman is confident and happy, she is beautiful. As for my own routine, I keep it simple. I believe in eating well, getting plenty of sleep, staying hydrated, using natural products on my skin, and trying to minimize stress. If I lapse in any of these areas it tends to show up on my skin. I am very no-frills about hair and makeup, so having a good skin and hair maintenance program is important.  

FF: How do you balance running a business with family and other priorities?
KLH: It’s a bit of a juggling act.But the advantage of running my own company is that I can be somewhat in control of my time. My family always comes first, but they know that I am running a business and respect my need to work most evenings and on weekends. I’ve learned not to stress about the things that aren’t that important at home and at workif it means we’re eating scrambled eggs for dinner, or the beds don’t get made sometimes, so be it. Exercise at least four times a week helps me stay sane and I try to get at least eight to nine hours of sleep every night. I also couldn’t do it without an amazing support systemmy husband and my incredible, but small, team. 

FF: Your argan oil has become a bit of a cult favourite among Fresh Faced customers. Can you tell me what new products you’re working on?
KLH: We are very careful about adding new products to our line as we intentionally want to keep the line tight and simple.  After two years in development and testing, we are excited to be launching two new products this fall and wintera wonderfully restorative night cream and a beautifully scented body oil. That’s all I can give away now!

See the original post on Fresh Faced.

Gratitude Speaks Interview

Gratitude Speaks Interview with Katharine L'Heureux

Thanks for the interview! Gratitude is so important to the work we do at Kahina!

“Through Gratitude Speaks, I get to interview people whose work and presence I admire; who embody that divine spark of aliveness that draws you in; whose love has touched souls and saved lives, and this planet is kinder for it; people who are bright, spirited, and rooted in joy,” Miriam Ava, author of Gratitude Speaks.

Who: Katharine L’Heureux, founder of Kahina Giving Beauty

Katharine L'Heureux with her children

It’s a pleasure to feature Katharine L’Heureux, the founder of Kahina Giving Beauty, on Gratitude Speaks. When I met Katharine for the first time in person at this year’s ANFGB, I was drawn in by her radiance. Yes, her skin is beautifully radiant but she’s also got a good aura that adds to the light. We had a sweet chat and I got to say hi to her lovely daughter, Grace. Being a green beauty enthusiast, I’ve used Katharine’s creations for quite some time. The Antioxidant Mask and the 100% Organic Argan Oil are staples in my routine; the Facial Cleanser doubles as a nice enzyme mask. Oh, and the new Fez Hand & Body Balm is divine. The beauty of Kahina reaches beyond skincare, though. Katharine works with the Berber women of Morocco who extract the organic argan oil using techniques passed down through generations. By the sharing of traditions, a bridge between Northern Africa and New York has come to life that honors the craft of the Berber women, improves their lives, and offers pure beauty to women around the world. Named after a Berber queen and prophetess, Kahina reminds us that beauty is power and power is beauty. I’m excited to share Katharine’s life experience and wisdom with you. Hope you enjoy.

1) How do you define gratitude, and what are you grateful for?

Gratitude is being thankful, and I have so much to be thankful for: my health and the health of my family, the love of family and friends, the privilege of living in the society I do, the opportunity to create and operate a successful business

2) What is art to you?

Art lies in the intention of the creator. The best art connects one to something larger, such as a shared human experience.

3) When did you experience significant personal growth, and how did it impact your perspective on life?

When I was starting Kahina, which was a time of great excitement as well as tremendous anxiety, my then teenage daughter became critically ill. Over the next two years she was hospitalized and underwent numerous surgeries that severely impacted her quality of life during her high school years. It was during that time that I learned to pray. To me, this meant focusing on what was good in my life, even if only feeling love and support from those around me, and giving thanks for those things. This kept the negative thoughts at bay and helped me stay afloat and moving forward through a very difficult time. I learned to practice gratitude during that time.

4) What other gems of joy & wisdom would you like to share with us?

Put out positive energy and you will attract positive energy

Create beautiful things that you can be proud of

Avoid waste in anything, ie. time, words, materials

Live simply and appreciate the moment

Be satisfied with what you have

Always consider those less fortunate

Know you can achieve great things

Indulge often”

See the original post on Gratitude Speaks.

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