Tag Archives | random thoughts on beauty

The Samurai Shopper Asks: To Be, or Not to Be, Organic?

As a company founded and headquartered in the Big Apple, we love everything quintessentially New York– from Central Park to the High Line, The New Yorker to New York Mag, Bergdorf Goodman to Brooklyn Flea.  It goes (almost!) without saying that The New York Times and its T Magazine are daily reading material.  T’s blogger Samurai Shopper scouts & touts the best merch that New York & beyond has to offer.  A recently published piece on skin care products asks, to be, or not to be, organic?  The answer disappointed me.

S.S. states the dilemma: “Should I support organic skin care because it’s organic — a healthier choice for us and the planet and maybe other planets too? Or should I throw my weight behind skin care that works but may be organically incorrect?”  My question is, why is this the question?  How about throwing your weight behind skin care that works, is organically correct, and is a healthier choice for the planet? A Venn Diagram to better illustrate this possibility:


I can’t tell you how many Kahina users have let me know that they’re seeing visible results, that people ask if they’ve had work done.  And Kahina is not the only brand that is organic and effective.

Samurai Shopper goes on to list some of her favorite products that “blast” vitamins but contain some synthetic chemicals that are of concern, according to the Environmental Working Group.  S.S. stands behind the chemical-laden lines, using “baby-with-the-bathwater” reasoning.

The comments section is another trove of troubling feedback.  Some posters are saying that just because something is organic doesn’t mean it won’t irritate. That is correct!  But this isn’t a reason to shy away from organic products.  Why not try a single, 100% organic ingredient that is safe enough to eat? Avoiding irritants, hormone disruptors, and other nasties is one reason people “go organic”, but its impact on the planet (read: sustainability) is crucial as well. Check out this discussion on No More Dirty Looks’ blog about why more and more people are choosing organic & natural: Your Beauty a-ha Moment.

All said and done, we’re still loyal readers of the Samurai Shopper (we were featured back in April!).  We believe it’s only a matter of time before S.S. realizes organic & effective are not mutually exclusive.

– Mairin

And the winner is…


You can keep the January Jones’ and all the other starlets in their barely there dresses.  For my money, Helen Mirren and Tilda Swinton were the real beauties of the Golden Globes last night.Their understated style, confidence and elegance win over “look-at-me” styles.  Beautiful skin is the best accessory.  Special call-out to Hope Davis in this beautiful Bibhu Mohapatra gown.

What Are You Really Putting on Your Skin?


Did you know that the FDA has banned only 9 ingredients used in personal care items?Compare that to over 1,100 ingredients the European Union has banned and it is clear that we are behind on regulating what we put on, and in, our bodies.The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is taking action to push for more conscious consumption of personal care items and for legislative reform to help limit the toxic chemicals being are pumped into our cosmetics today.The site has recently launched an informative new video titled: The Story of Cosmetics –The Ugly Truth of “Toxics In, Toxics Out” (click here for the link to the movie), which not only breaks down marketing schemes and gimmicks of large personal care companies, but also shows how even small amounts of toxic chemicals in our cosmetics can be harmful to our health.The video also explains how faults in the system have led to poor regulation of what goes into our beauty products.

After watching the video, participate in a Twitter party at 9pm EST today (July 21, 2010), and learn more about what is being done and what you can do to push for better regulation of what is put in our beauty products.

To check the toxicity of ingredients in your personal care products, go to Skin Deep, a cosmetic safety database hosted by the Environmental Working Group by clicking here.

At Kahina Giving Beauty we are committed to keeping our ingredients list as short as possible. We have recently registered with Skin Deep, and are pleased to see that argania spinosa oil, the base for all of our products, has a hazard rating of 0 (out of 10).

Makeup Makeover

I am a big proponent of natural and organic cosmetics but I am late to the game on the all-natural cosmetics trend since I’ve never been a big makeup wearer.  I have always felt that there is a secret language around makeup that I don’t speak.  I usually resort to mascara and lipstick before I leave the house, always wondering if there is more that I could do to make my eyes pop and my cheeks more rosy.  Whenever I have tried more, I fear I look like a transvestite or one of those women of a certain age you see occasionally who retain a desire to imitate Greta Garbo and have lost their ability to see in the mirror after applying their lipstick.   I admit to a stash of makeup including eyeliners, bronzers, foundations, eyebrow pencils and concealers, tucked away in a bathroom drawer.  Each of these purchases have been acts of optimism in defiance of my personal history with makeup based on recommendations by pushy, overly made up women in department store cosmetics aisles who bear no resemblance to me in their personal style philosophy.

That is until recently, when I was introduced to organic beauty consultant Jessa Blades who did my makeup for a video shoot I was doing.  Jessa Blades is not your typical makeup artist.  Her bag is brimming with healthful products in an array of natural shades.  Her own look is fresh and glowing.  After she performed her magic on me, I looked younger, my eyes popped without looking garish and I had a bronzy glow that didn’t look like a mask.  She has sent me a face chart with recommended products and I’ve proceeded to throw everything away in the makeup drawer and start over with her picks of sustainable beauty products. 

The skin is our largest organ.  It is extremely important that the products we put on our faces, especially on our eyes and mouths, are not harmful.  If you need help getting started visit www.bladesnaturalbeauty.com or contact jessa@bladesnaturalbeauty.com.

Becoming Fearless About Our Looks


I just read the book “On Becoming Fearless,” by Arianna Huffington.  In her book she discusses the feelings of insecurity shared by so many women about their looks. Echoing my philosophy for Kahina Giving Beauty that we can work to overcome our negative self-images by focusing on those less fortunate than ourselves she writes:

“Instead of comparing ourselves to Angelina Jolie, how about comparing ourselves to a victim of Hurricane Katrina, a woman who lost her legs fighting in Iraq, or a woman diagnosed with breast cancer? They’re out there, too.  When we do this, we are sure to tap into our reserves of empathy and gratitude instead of our endless self-judgements, fears and jealousies.”

It is my hope that my products will inspire women to think of those less fortunate than themselves, and that this in turn will begin to stop the critical voices that are so self-destructive.

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