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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.

Katharine Interviewed by ECO DIVA

Katharine in Essaouira Morocco

Nicolle Mackinnon penned this interview of Katharine for ECO DIVA, one of Kahina’s web retailers for the U.S. and Canada. See the original post here.

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!

Katharine in Morocco

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.

International Women’s Day 2015

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

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

Katharine L'Heureux interview with Oresta

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

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

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

Katharine L'Heureux in Morocco

O: How did you discover argan oil?

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

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

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

O: What role does Kahina play in supporting women?

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

O: What is Kahina’s latest project?

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

O: What is your beauty routine?

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

O: What is your beauty motto?

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

O: What woman do you admire most and why?

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

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

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

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

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

An interview with Conde Nast Traveler

Katharine L'Heureux Illustration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the original article here. Illustration Courtesy Louisa Cannell

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.

Being Content Interviews Katharine L’Heureux

Kahina Giving Beauty at Content Beauty

KAHINA INTERVIEW
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
Sensitive:

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.

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.

Meet Mairin Cipolla

mairin1

Many of you have already come to know the fabulous Mairin Cipolla, whether through answering your questions on the phone or email providing Kahina’s famous customer service, or through her Morning Routine Exposed on No More Dirty Looks. Honestly, Kahina couldn’t function without her.  Beautiful inside and out, I thought it was high time to share a little more of her amazingness with you.

Occupation/Title:

Marketing Manager at Kahina Giving Beauty, with customer service + operations on the side!

Before working at Kahina you…

Studied Spanish & Italian literature.

Playing on your Pandora station:

The Killers, The Naked and Famous, Earth Wind & Fire, Kid Cudi

Last book you read:

Skippy Dies by Paul Murray. It is tremendous. Read it!

Your favorite travel destinations are…

Home, family spots in Maine & Voyageur’s National Park, anywhere in Italy

Travel Wish List:

Mexico, Vienna, Bora Bora… not necessarily in that order

If you didn’t live in New York, you’d live…

In Rome

When you’re not working we can find you…

Cooking! I come from a large family of eaters, cooks & bakers.  I rarely follow recipes, so cooking is my way of improvising and practicing creative thought. Seriously. That, and mixing my own nail polish colors.

Best feature:

Physical feature? my big curly hair certainly garners much curiosity and attention. I’ve met loads of people because of my hair.

Your guilty pleasure:

Peanut butter cupcake from Empire (formerly Lulu’s) Bakery

New Years Resolution(s):

Listen to more Bob Dylan and Van Morrison with the bf.  At this point, I’m still working on more serious new year’s resolutions from like, 5 years ago, so that’s the only new one for 2012.

What is in your makeup bag?

Makeup BAGS. Like 5 of them. Must-of-the-moment is Koh Gen Do moisture concealer compact.

Practical beauty tip:

Pick your beauty battles! Enhance what you already like, adjust some of the things you don’t, and stop worrying about the rest. Besides money, you waste mental energy fretting over “fixing” yourself.

Internet stuff you read on the regular:

East Side Bride, Textbook by John Jannuzzi, Cat Marnell at xoJane.com

Causes you support:

Human Rights Campaign + Planned Parenthood

What do you like best about working at Kahina Giving Beauty?

Besides my lovely boss (and her fam!), interacting with the Kahina community- so special and rewarding

Awww, thanks : )

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