Tag Archives | Highlight Ingredients

Why we love geranium oil

KAHINA ESSAOUIRA BODY SERUMIf you’ve tried our new ESSAOUIRA Body Serum, you’ll notice a bright note of rose geranium on first sniff. Not only is it a favorite scent of ours, rose geranium has wonderful skin and aromatherapy benefits.

Here are three ways rose geranium in ESSAOUIRA Body Serum can come to your aid:

1. Rose geranium helps support your body’s lymph system and can temporarily improve the appearance of cellulite. For best results, as you massage the body serum in, focus on long, vigorous strokes toward your heart.

2. Rose geranium is a female hormone balancer, meaning it can help relieve uncomfortable pre-menstrual or menopause symptoms. For cramps or other discomfort, add a few pumps of ESSAOUIRA Body Serum to a bath to take advantage of the aromatherapy benefits while also moisturizing and soothing. For hot flashes, we recommend a cool shower or spritzing the body with water and then applying a light layer of ESSAOUIRA Body Serum all over.

3. Rose geranium calms frayed nerves. Paired with lavender, the Essaouira scent blend is the perfect aromatherapy ritual for relaxing at the end of the day, or beginning your day in a centered frame of mind.

Don’t just take our word for it – the ladies at No More Dirty Looks are also big fans of this wonderful oil!

Shop ESSAOUIRA Body Serum.

Spotlight on Kahina Serum

Kahina Giving Beauty Serum

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

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.

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

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.

– 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.

– 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


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

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.

Prickly Pear Seed Oil NEW from the women of Kahina Giving Beauty

Prickly Pear cactus photo edited for blog

Prickly pear seed oil came onto my radar shortly after I discovered argan oil in Morocco in 2007. Numerous suppliers in Morocco were touting the anti-aging effects of the hard-to-obtain oil, which was taking off in Europe at the time. I tried many samples from different producers and, while I was becoming convinced of the skin claims, the scent was something that I – not to mention my husband – couldn’t exactly embrace as part of my nightly ritual (something akin to grassy cat urine).

Then, four years ago, my argan supplier in the Mid-Atlas mountains began a Prickly Pear Seed planting project to provide additional economic activity for the women inhabitants. The work of extracting the prickly pear seed oil is even more labor intensive than for argan oil, requiring approximately four days to collect and dry the tiny seeds for one liter of oil. Since that time, I have witnessed the growth of the cactus plants on my annual visits, including watching them survive one severe drought that practically demolished every other harvest (and which took its toll on the extremely resilient argan trees).

The same attention to every harvesting and production detail that has resulted in our superior argan oil, has produced a superb outcome in our new Prickly Pear Seed oil. Richer in weight than pure argan oil, the Kahina Prickly Pear Seed oil goes on velvety smooth without leaving skin greasy and has a unique odor reminiscent of fresh hay (to me, at least).

While we love our argan oil for its multi-tasking prowess, particularly its ability to control sebum production, prickly pear seed oil is finding a place in my anti-aging arsenal for its high concentration of tocopherols, betalains (powerful antioxidants) and Vitamin K. And, like argan oil, it is loaded with essential fatty acids to smooth and plump fine lines and wrinkles.

Prickly pear seed oil is an excellent source of essential fatty acids (approximately 83%), especially linoleic acid (63%), tocopherols (1000 mg), betalaines, Vitamin K, amino acids and trace elements. Ideal for mature, dry skin, prickly pear seed oil moisturizes and softens skin while restoring skin’s elasticity, protecting against free radicals, and brightening under-eye circles.

Our pure cold-pressed Prickly Pear Seed oil is bottled at the source, including the Berber women in even more of the value chain.

Available only on givingbeauty.com.

Prickly Pear Seed Oil bottle cropped


Ingredient Spotlight: Vitis Vinifera Grape Juice Extract

Kahina Night Cream - Vitis vinifera

Kahina Night Cream features high concentrations of vitis vinifera (grape juice) extract. Although this ingredient is inspired by Katharine’s time at her Napa Valley ranch, we source our grape juice extract from the Languedoc region in France.

What is grape juice extract and why is it special?
Grape juice extract is produced from resveratrol through a process that mimics a natural reaction with a fungus. It contains delta-viniferin, an antioxidant, in higher concentration than in actual grapes. Grape juice extract also has other polyphenols.

What benefits does grape juice extract have for your skin?
Grape juice extract preserves current skin health and helps defend against aging. One way it does this is by increasing the activity of enzymes that protect mitochondrial DNA, even after UV irradiation. Studies show a 66% boost in defense against MMP-1, which degrades collagen, and a 48% boost in defense against MMP-3, which degrades elastin. Using skin care products that contain grape juice extract – like Kahina Night Cream – will ultimately decrease the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Shop Kahina Night Cream

Ingredient Spotlight: Resveratrol

Kahina Night Cream

When Katharine set out to create an advanced anti-aging moisturizer, she knew immediately she wanted resveratrol to be a key active. She had witnessed firsthand the hardiness of grape vines, thanks to the vines’ production of resveratrol during times of environmental stress like bacterial or fungal attack. Though resveratrol has been the subject of studies relating to heart health, resveratrol has important skin benefits as well.

What is resveratrol?
Resveratrol is a phyto-nutrient that defends against inflammation by stopping the peroxidation process.

What form of it is used in Kahina Night Cream?
Our resveratrol is listed as “pichia/resveratrol ferment”; it is extracted using a yeast (pichia pastoris). The benefit of this extraction process is a very small molecule that is bioavailable and readily penetrates skin for maximum efficacy.

Why incorporate resveratrol into your skincare regimen?
Resveratrol has been shown to significantly downregulate cyclooxygenase, a key indicator of inflammation. Inflammation contributes to physical signs of aging. Resveratrol also upregulates collagen IV, which over time promotes elasticity and produces a microlifting of the skin. In a 28-day trial using pichia/resveratrol ferment, participants reported a noticeable improvement in fine lines and skin tone. Kahina Night Cream contains the same concentration that was used in the study.

Shop Kahina Night Cream

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.


  • 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.

Our New Body Serum, FEZ inspired


It has been said that the city of Fez is more of a state of mind than a place. Having been there a number of times and anxious to return, I would have to agree. Fez gets under your skin.

Founded in 787 by a man purported to be a great grandson of Mohammed, Fez retains the feel of a medieval city, practically unchanged in the past 1200 years. A great maze of stalls selling fresh meat, spices, olive, cheese, and pastries (as well as some not so appetizing options) under lattice mats that filter the sun, and workshops holding tailors, ironworkers, engravers, weavers and more live amidst ancient mosques and koranic schools. Beautiful tiles, woodcarvings and engravings are everywhere. The call to prayer mingles with the sounds of the ironworkers and the clattering of donkeys’ hoofs on cobblestone streets. And the smells, oh the smells. Wafts of bread cooking in the communal ovens, spices and sandalwood in the souk, rose petals in the riads, incense burning in the mosque, mint in the tea, and the prevalence of orange flower blossoms in the spring, all of it melding for complete, sensory absorption.

It is this multi-layered experience that inspires the scent of our new Kahina FEZ Body Serum, blending the scents of antiquity with floral, citrus and spice notes. Named after the soulful city of Fez, our Body Serum combines our signature argan oil with other antioxidant rich oils, including coconut, olive, and watermelon seed oils in a restorative, moisturizing and utterly luxurious cocktail. Pour it in the bath and transport yourself in time and place, or massage it into your neck and shoulders for a sultry perfume before going out. I’m sure FEZ will get under your skin, too.

-Katharine L’Heureux, Kahina Giving Beauty Founder

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.

Toxic Ingredients to avoid in Skincare

Many of our customers are already dyed-in-the-wool natural skincare users.   Others, are just making the switch.  For those of you in the second category, we at Kahina Giving Beauty know that there is a lot of new information to absorb.  This list was published in Natural Solutions Magazine.  Of course, Kahina products are free of all of these:

Our Formidable 15-Toxic Ingredients to Avoid in Skincare

Natural Solutions, in collaboration with Whole Foods, developed this list of what you don’t want in your products:

1. Synthetic fragrances often contain phthalates (pro- nounced THAY-lates), synthetic chemicals commonly used to stabilize fragrances and make plastic more pliable. These endocrine disrupters mimic hormones and may alter genital development. Avoid products that list fragrance as an ingredi- ent unless the label states that it’s derived from essentials oils, or look for a phthalate-free label on the packaging.

2. Parabens, ubiquitous in skincare, preserve other ingredi- ents and extend a product’s shelf life-but these antimicrobial chemicals also have hormone-disrupting effects.

3. Ureas, formally known as diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidi- nyl urea, or DMDM hydantoin and sodium hydroxymethyl- glycinate, are preservatives that have the potential to release formaldehyde in very small amounts and are a primary cause of contact dermatitis.

4. 1,4-dioxane, a chemical carcinogen, is created when ingredients are processed with petroleum-derived ethylene oxide. Common ethoxylated compounds include sodium laureth sulfate and polyethylene glycol (often listed as PEG). To avoid it, skip any product with the following ingredients: myreth, oleth, laureth, ceteareth (or any other -eth), PEG, polyethylene, polyethylene glycol, polyoxyethylene, or oxy- nol.

5. Petrochemicals are derived from crude oil. Petroleum- based ingredients such as petrolatum, mineral oil, and paraffin (derived from nonrenewable sources) form a barrier when applied to the skin that does not allow it to breathe and can clog pores.

6. MEA/DEA/TEA are “amines” (ammonia compounds) and can form harmful nitrosamines when they come in contact with nitrates. Used as foaming agents, synthetic stabilizers, and to adjust the pH of cosmetics, they can cause allergic reactions, eye irritation, and dryness of the hair and skin.

7. Sulfates, such as sodium lauryl and sodium laureth, are harsh detergents that give cleansers, soaps, and shampoos their latherability. Often derived from petroleum, sulfates can also come from coconut and other vegetable oils that can be contaminated with pesticides. Sulfates can cause eye irritation and skin rashes.

8. Chemical sunscreens, such as oxybenzone and octyl methoxycinnamate, have been shown to disrupt endocrine activity. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are safer alternatives.

9. Quats, such as benzalkonium chloride, steardimonium chloride, cetrimonium bromide, and cetrimonium chloride, give a positive charge to conditioners in order to prevent static. They are necessary for conditioners, but we have allowed only the mildest quats in our Beauty With a Conscience standard: guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride, hydroxypropyltrimo- nium oligosaccharide, and SugaQuats.

10. Antibacterial compounds, such as triclosan and chlorphenesin, do not break down in the environment and may contribute to bacterial resistance.

11. Synthetic polymers, such as sodium polyacrylate and carbomer, come from petroleum and give viscosity to skincare products. They are highly processed and their manufacture creates toxic by-products.

12. Synthetic colors are made from coal tar. They con- tain heavy metal salts that may deposit toxins onto the skin, causing skin sensitivity and irritation. Animal studies have shown almost all of them to be carcinogenic. They will be labeled as FD&C or D&C, followed by a color and a number.

13. Chelators, such as disodium EDTA and tetrasodium EDTA, are used in personal care products to remove impurities from low-quality raw materials. They do not readily biode- grade in the environment.

14. Nanos are a new technology with inconclusive but potentially hazardous study results. Research suggests that when tiny nano particles penetrate the skin, they may cause cell damage.

15. Animal testing: A grim history of cruelty to animals lies behind many cosmetic ingredients. But scientists are developing new technologies to test cosmetics before a European Union ban on animal testing begins in March 2009.

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