Katharine Interviewed by ECO DIVA
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!
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.