Tag Archives | argan oil

Beauty Heroes Q&A with Katharine L’Heureux

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.

See the original posting of the Q&A here.

Katharine at Agadir Beach

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.

Katharine L'Heureux in Morocco

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.

Women cracking argan nuts photo credit Kahina Giving Beauty

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.

Children outside schoolhouse

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.

Hello Spring!

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!

Buy Sheep for Year of the Sheep!

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.

Kind Eye’s Interview with Katharine

Kahina Giving Beauty on Kind Eye

A Kind Brand: Meet Kahina Giving Beauty
by Rachel Murray, founder of Kind Eye

You hear about finding beneficial ingredients from the rainforest, or the ocean but what about the desert? Kahina Giving Beauty prides themselves on offering a truly effective line of skin care, with organic argan oil from Morocco at its core. All products are certified by ECOCERT, which provides a rigorous process for ensuring sustainable agricultural practices. Founder and CEO Katharine L’Heureux graciously shared information about her company, their processes and more. Kahina Giving Beauty’s eye serum is part of our Spring Skin Discovery Kit Giveaway, open until March 8!

What is your company’s philosophy?
At Kahina, we believe: The best skincare ingredients are found in nature. Luxurious and effective skincare can go hand in hand with care for the environment. Companies can do well while doing good.

Is there anything your customers may not know about your company that you want to share?
In addition to providing economic activity for the Berber women who do the work of extracting our oil by purchasing Fair Trade Argan Oil, we donate additional funds to programs that help the women and their families.

What charities do you support (if any)?
As part of our initiative to help these women, Kahina supports Education For All, Morocco, providing free room and board so that girls can continue their education past elementary school.

The High Atlas Foundation, run by former Peace Corps volunteers, funds a number of programs in remote villages, including providing clean drinking water, and planting community run nurseries.

We also provide direct monetary assistance to the Berber women. Most recently, we provided clothing for victims of this winter’s flooding in the Anti-Atlas Mountains.

How do you decide what products to create?
I created Kahina for myself, out of my own desire for a simple line of truly effective natural skincare. I still strive to keep the line simple, and work to create products that I feel a personal need for, and with aesthetics that are pleasing to me. I often am inspired by ideas from our customers who can be very creative in coming up with new uses for argan oil.

What’s the number one misconception that people you meet have about ‘natural’ products and how do you answer it?
The number one misconception about natural products is that they aren’t as effective as traditional skincare. I argue that they are more effective as they don’t use unnecessary fillers and harmful ingredients. Plants have amazing defenses against all kinds of environmental stressors and contain the nutrients and fatty acids that our skin needs to be healthy and glowing. With advanced extraction technologies, we are able to tap into these extraordinary powers and use them in creating products that are safe and that really work.

What’s your top tip for health and well-being?
I believe in finding balance. We need to exercise, eat right (whatever that means for you), and get plenty of sleep, but we also need to make time for reflection, creativity, and for finding things that bring us joy. Finally, we need to be grateful for the ability to do all those things and forgive ourselves if we’re not always perfect at them.

How do you like to start your morning?
During the week, my alarm goes off at 7 and I’ll lie in bed and meditate for a few minutes to set positive intentions for the day. The first thing I do after brushing my teeth is perform my Kahina skincare ritual: Cleanse and Tone, then massage Brightening Serum, Oil, and then Lotion into my face. The scents make me happy, and the facial massage stimulates circulation while smoothing away any creases left from my pillow.

Then I spend some time with my husband and 10 year old son while he eats breakfast. I’ll have hot water with lemon, my multivitamin and probiotics, maybe I’ll fry an egg. Then I’ll spend a few minutes at my computer and throw a load of laundry in the machine before we’re out the door to get to school on time.

Thanks for the interview opportunity! Find the original post here.

About Kind Eye: Kind Eye is an informational website, aimed to help consumers make easy and conscious shopping choices about personal care products without running all over town or the internet.

Get Girls Back to School

Moroccan girls go to schoolGirls on their way into school

This September, 100% of every purchase of Kahina Argan Oil on givingbeauty.com goes to funding girls’ education so they can go BACK TO SCHOOL.

WHO: Girls in rural Morocco who otherwise would not be able to go to school past 3rd grade
WHY: Girls from rural areas of Morocco must travel to larger cities for access to education beyond basic elementary school. They need to be boarded, an expense that most families cannot afford – and conditions in government run housing are poor and unsafe. Education For All Morocco provides free, safe boarding homes for girls so they can continue their education. The organization, which was founded in 2007, has recently opened its fifth boarding home in the High Atlas region of Morocco. It costs approx. $2,000 to provide free food and board to each girl for one year. The organization is providing housing for approximately 100 girls.
HOW: We are donating 100% of sales (that’s $36 for 30 ml argan oil and $82 for the larger 100 ml size) of Kahina Argan Oil purchased on givingbeauty.com to Education for All Morocco.
WHEN: The entire month of September, 2014.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Please visit Education for All Morocco’s website HERE.

This is Kahina’s fourth year supporting EFAM and we could not be more thrilled to continue with your help this year.

Open House at Everlane NYC

Kahina at Everlane

Everlane, a fashion e-tailer that’s made a name for itself with pared-down styles at “radically transparent” prices, is hosting their biggest pop-up yet in NYC this June.  We’ve been a fan of Everlane ever since it launched, so we were thrilled when they asked to include Kahina Argan Oil in their model home.

From their site:
“We’ve created a “home space” in our shop where all of the objects will be accompanied by their origin and cost stories. To uncover these, we researched household items and partnered with Taavo Somer’s creative agency Friends & Family and a number of like-minded brands, including Kaufmann Mercantile, simplehuman, and ABC Carpet & Home.”

You’re invited to stop-by, try on Everlane’s signature styles, and tour the house of the future, featuring Kahina Argan Oil. 

Where: 199 Lafayette St, NYC
When: Housewarming launch party is Friday, June 13th, 7-10 PM. Otherwise, stop by every day from 11 AM to 6 PM from 6/13-6/28
More information: Click here

 

All About Kahina Serum

Kahina Serum

This winter has started with a bang – we’re now into our second polar vortex and looking at about a foot of snow in Manhattan today. The heat is cranking inside, and when we do venture out, the cold and wind numb what areas of skin we have exposed. Many customers ask what the difference between our Serum and our Argan Oil is, and given our current weather conditions, it’s an opportune time to discuss these two products and when and how to use Kahina Serum. Hint: it’s a winter-time must for us!  Here are some key points about our Serum that will help you decide if it’s right for you.

1. Kahina Serum is a rich blend of oils, including high concentrations of argan oil. Our Serum is thicker and heavier than argan oil alone. Do you find that your skin is drinking up argan oil and you’re applying more and more as the weather gets colder/dryer? It’s the right time to switch to Serum. Emollient oils like sea buckthorn and pomegranate will help your skin feel more moisturized with less product.  Its superior moisturizing properties are part of why we highly recommend Serum during winter months, or any time you’re prone to dryness (travel, anyone?).

2. Kahina Serum contains a broad spectrum of antioxidants and vitamins. If anti-aging is high on your list of skincare goals, you should incorporate our Serum into your routine. Argan oil is high in vitamin E, sea buckthorn seed oil contains vitamin C, while carrot seed oil has vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene. Pomegranate, coffee berry, and argan oil provide antioxidant benefits. Ultimately, there are many ways to address skin aging, but two key goals are 1) preventing micro-inflammation (antioxidants assist in this) and 2) making sure your skin is adequately moisturized (incorporate emollient oils and Toning Mist).

3. We formulated the Serum to be healing and calming, regenerating and restorative. Many ingredients work toward this end, including rosemary, bisabolol (an incredibly soothing ingredient derived from German chamomile), and pomegranate. The formulation as a whole is meant to protect from oxidative damage occurring in the first place, but also repair existing damage. Oxidative damage deforms cells and disturbs cell functioning, the effects of which you experience as fine lines, wrinkles, and loss of elasticity (collagen/elastin).  Using Kahina Serum can help offset the aging effects of exposure to pollution and UV rays.

4. Appreciate aromatherapy in your skincare products? While we love that Kahina Argan Oil is unscented, we wanted to incorporate a greater sensory experience with our Serum. To that end, we’ve included a blend of essential oils that give our Serum a unique scent with notes of ylang ylang, myrhh, rosemary, lavender, and chamomile. They don’t just smell amazing; these steam-distilled oils have their own skincare benefits: soothing, regenerating, and antiseptic/antibacterial.

APPLICATION TIPS:

  • Do you have both Argan Oil and Serum? Don’t apply both at the same time – you don’t need to! Since the Serum contains argan oil, you’d be doing double duty. You can, however, apply one during the day, and one at night.
  • We recommend Serum as a nighttime treatment since it is reparative and your skin is doing just that as you sleep. If your skin is particularly dry, feel free to use Serum as a day and night moisturizer/treatment.
  • To start, use just a few drops and make sure your skin is absorbing it properly. If your face feels oily after a few minutes, you’ve applied too much.
  • Using a water-based layer (we recommend our Toning Mist) before and after application also helps the Serum absorb.
  • One other way to incorporate the Serum into your routine is to add a drop or two to a cream or lotion moisturizer, mixing them in the palm of your hand. Voila! You’ve fortified your moisturizer, adding vitamins, antioxidants, and making it even more moisturizing.

Leave a comment or email us at info@givingbeauty.com if you have any questions we can answer.

Decided our Serum is right for you? Shop Serum now.

Raising the Bar: 6 Reasons We Love New Kahina Argan Soap

rosemarylavendersoapbar_highresNEW! Kahina Argan Soap in Rosemary Lavender

There has been a movement afoot to give soap a dirty name.  As some women are forgoing the bar in favor of liquid options – or just rinsing with water, I remain a devoted bar soap-user.  Here are six reasons why:

1. Soap is the perfect, no-waste product.  Unlike liquid soap in plastic packaging, once it is used, there is nothing left to throw away.

2. I love the way a bar of soap fits in your hand.

3. Handmade soaps have character and charm and look great in the bathroom.

4. Soaps are easy to stack and store.

5. The best natural soaps are moisturizing, nourishing, and smell delicious.

6. Soap is an all-purpose product and can be used on face, body and hair.  Always handy for hand-washables when traveling as well.

Raising the bar on soap, we proudly introduce our new Argan Soap made with Rosemary and Lavender.All of the above and more, our handmade soap contains ground rosemary and high concentrations of our personally sourced argan oil for “scrubby, moisturizing goodness”.

Are you a lover of bar soap? Become one! Shop KAHINA ARGAN SOAP TRIO.

Kahina Argan Oil: How It’s Made

Did you know Kahina Argan Oil comes from the argan nut? Using two stones, Berber women working in cooperatives crack these argan nuts open to get to the fleshy interior. The fleshy interior is then cold-pressed to make our argan oil. The video above, shot by Kahina founder Katharine L’Heureux, shows this traditional process. The women often sing or talk while they crack the argan nuts. Other than a chance to gather together, the production of argan oil gives these women economic opportunities that they would not have had otherwise.

The truth about argan cooperatives

smiling-berber-girl-in-blue-small

While most companies selling argan oil and argan-based products claim to purchase their products from women’s cooperatives in Morocco, it is important to note that all cooperatives are not alike.

On each of my visits to Morocco, I spend lots of time in the rural south visiting argan suppliers in an effort to better understand the situation there.  Along with numerous success stories, I have unfortunately also encountered corruption, groups of women unable to sufficiently organize themselves in order to sustain a business, cooperatives and companies producing poor quality oil and selling it at a lower price, cooperatives run by men who do not pay the women who work there a fair wage, as well as larger conglomerates capitalizing the marketplace and squeezing out less organized/well financed groups of women.

On this visit, I had the pleasure of meeting Professor Charouff, who was responsible for establishing the first women-run cooperative for the production of argan oil in 1999.  During our meeting we discussed the current state of the argan oil industry and the accompanying challenges and opportunities.  Most alarming is the fact that machines have been introduced to do the work of cracking the nuts.  While preserving companies’ bottom line by producing oil at a lower cost, these machines will eliminate jobs for the women of the region.

It will be difficult to determine whether the oil you are purchasing is actually cracked by hand or machine, as it is hard to know whether the oil is organic, or produced using best practices.  At Kahina Giving Beauty we personally source certified Fair Trade organic argan oil and carefully monitor harvesting and extraction techniques.  This ensures the highest quality oil and a fair wage for the women who work to extract the oil at the heart of our line.

Free shipping in the US with orders over $75.