Kahina Giving Beauty is an organic, holistic skin care line focused on providing high-quality, ethically sourced products, while giving back to the women and communities behind them. CEO and founder, Katharine L'Heureux, was inspired to create the line after visiting Morocco in 2007 where she was introduced to the major benefits of argan oil. So inspired by the healing properties and multi-uses, she decided to bring it back to New York and share it with others. But Katharine's admiration for the product goes beyond it's beauty benefits. After connecting with the Berber women behind the extraction technique, she quickly fell in love with the rich history and tradition surrounding the product as well. Keeping the cultural significance tied to the products is a core philosophy behind the brand. Kahina donates a percentage of their profits to helping improve the lives of these women, and Katharine continues to keep in close contact with the Berber women to ensure ethical treatment and the highest workplace standards.
We've been a long time fan of their products (read up on Erica's favorite products here) and are thrilled to have recently launched our second collaborative makeup bag to accompany their Lip and Face Balm and Toning Mist. This season we've used neon pink French fabric combined with a gold, handmade leather tassel. To celebrate the collaboration we chatted with Katharine to dig a little deeper into her personal beauty regime, her connection with the Berber women of Morocco, and how she manages to find balance and maintain healthy habits in a busy world.
ET: Can you tell us more about your own personal beauty routines and beauty philosophies? What do you think are the most important factors in maintaining healthy skin? What are your tips on maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle?
KLH: I recently read a book called The Tuner of Silences by Mia Couto. In it was a quote that really resonated with me: “Busy making myself beautiful, I allowed my true beauty, that which dwells in a candid look, to escape.”
I try to keep sight of the fact that true beauty lies in being oneself, not in the latest shade of lipstick or hairstyle. I believe that if you take care of yourself, maintain a sense of humor, compassion, and style, you can be beautiful and powerful at any age. While diet and exercise are important, too much stress - over eating the right things and/or not exercising enough, or worrying too much about skincare ingredients - can age you more than anything else you do. Do your best to eat well, drink plenty of water, exercise, and take care of your skin with a good, natural skincare regimen for glowing, healthy skin. This means cleansing, moisturizing, light exfoliation and repairing. Be gentle with your skin. Whether your concern is aging or acne, a mild, protective skincare regimen is going to benefit your skin in the long run. My personal daily routine consists of: cleansing with Kahina Facial Cleanser, then a few spritzes of our Toning Mist to prep the skin for oil application. I follow that with either the Argan Oil, Serum, or Prickly Pear Seed Oil, depending on the time of year and my mood. I try to spend a minute or two massaging the oils into my skin to improve circulation. After the oils, I’ll use the Kahina Facial Lotion to aid in moisture retention and protect my skin during the day, and the Kahina Night Cream to aid in skin regeneration at night. For the eye area, I’m using the Eye Serum right now, which is great for summer because of its lightweight texture, and works wonders for puffiness and dark circles, so I look refreshed during the day. Once or twice a week, I use the Kahina Antioxidant Mask to detox and provide gentle exfoliation.
ET: Sustainability and using organic, healing ingredients is at the core of your business beliefs and practices. Can you talk a little more about how you first fell in love with argan oil in Morocco and a few of its many benefits?
KLH: Starting about 11 years ago, after the birth of my third child, I was searching for safe and effective all-natural skincare. At that time, quality natural brands were hard to find. I really never imagined that I would create my own line, but when I discovered argan oil on a trip to Morocco in 2007, 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 decided to create the line I was yearning for: simple, effective, organic skincare products, [that are] 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.
ET: These days it seems difficult to separate life from work, but we know that proper work-life balance is crucial for a healthy lifestyle. What do you do when you're not working? What are some of your hobbies and what do you like to do for fun?
KLH: I’m fortunate to be doing what I love. Being the owner of a small business means never being able to truly be off-duty, but working from home allows me to have the flexibility I need to be there for my kids and enjoy time with the family. I can also grab some time during the day to get to the Whitney Museum, which just moved to my neighborhood in New York, or take a walk on the High Line. On the weekends, I’m at our Hudson Valley home spending time outdoors, kayaking, hiking or working in our ever-expanding garden. I love the physical work of landscaping – the digging, the tilling, pushing heavy wheelbarrows and moving plants – as well as the creative and meditative aspects. I really lose myself when I’m working in the garden, and the aesthetic payoff is very satisfying.
ET: One thing that we love about Kahina is that you aim to empower women in other countries, and not only give back to them but also prioritizes their needs. Do you have a favorite story or especially inspiring moment working with the Berber women that you'd like to share?
KLH: It is always so inspiring for me to visit the Berber women who work to produce our oil. Although we don’t share a language, we communicate easily through gestures and smiles. While we are worlds apart in so many ways, we share many of the same concerns as women and mothers. Every time I visit, there will be a big celebration with singing and dancing in which they insist I join in, trying to dance in their traditional style, which they always find very humorous. The last time I visited the women gave me the gift of a rug they had woven using the wool from sheep that Kahina had donated to each of them. The rug is perfect in its simplicity, like so many things they design and make – a white knotted rug woven with the Kahina circle and star. I consigned them to make more to sell on my website, so we could provide this economic opportunity in addition to cracking the argan nuts.
ET: Our recent spring/summer makeup bag collaboration with you features the Lip & Face Balm and Toning Mist- can you tell us a little more about the benefits of each product?
KLH: What I love about each of these products is how multi-tasking they are.
The Lip & Face balm contains immortelle and calendula, which are powerful healing ingredients, combined with antioxidant rich argan oil, seabuckthorn seed oil, carrot seed oil, and soothing blue tansy. I use it on dry chapped lips, as well as any flaky spots on my face. Immortelle has been shown to relieve headaches, so I’ll massage a bit into my temples when I feel a headache coming on. It’s also great for smoothing unruly eyebrows, and to use as a highlighter on cheeks.
Toning using non-alcohol based products is an important part of a healthy skincare regimen, especially when it revolves around oils. Our Toning Mist, with soothing aloe vera, moisturizing sodium hyaluronate, and antioxidant rich argan leaf extract, works to prep skin for oil application by drawing moisture into the skin. But I also love it on its own. With its intoxicating rose scent and cooling sensation, I love to spritz it on my face for a little pick-me-up throughout the day. It’s also fabulous for plane travel, and poolside.