Argan oil has become increasingly popular in recent years, and has gained a well-deserved reputation as the natural elixir of youth. Rich in powerful antioxidants, vitamin E and omega fatty acids, it's no wonder Katharine L'Heureux, founder and CEO of Kahina Giving Beauty, has built her Ecocert certified organic skin care line around this magical multi-purpose oil.
But not all argan oil is created equal. Kahina's top quality oil earns the GSB stamp of approval with flying colours: certified organic, extracted from only top quality nuts, and personally sourced by Katharine to ensure the ethical treatment of the indigenous Berber women of Morocco who work to extract the oil by hand (and whose signatures grace the beautiful glass packaging!). Going beyond simply using fair trade ingredients, Kahina even donates 25% of profits to support programs that improve the lives of these women.
Before establishing Kahina, Katharine founded her own marketing and public relations firm and represented several well-known natural and organic brands including Bare Escentuals (bareMinerals), one of the first natural cosmetics companies. Katharine, who now works with top chemists and continues to try and build a bridge between the women (and men!) who use the Kahina line and the Berber women in Morocco, tells us about when she made the switch to a natural beauty regime and what made argan oil her star ingredient of choice.
1. Why did you turn to organic and natural beauty?
I had been using traditional luxury brands bought in department stores for many years when I decided to make the switch. I hadn't been satisfied with the results, despite the hefty price tags, and was starting to make the connection between what I was putting on my skin and what going into my body. I was eating more organic foods and decided I should take the same care with my personal care products. The problem was finding something that met my criteria as a luxury consumer in terms of aesthetics, and that really worked on my skin.
2. Why did you pick argan oil as the foundation of your line? What makes it so special compared to other natural ingredients?
I stumbled on argan oil on a trip to Morocco in 2007. It wasn’t my intention to start a skincare line then, but when I discovered how well it worked on my skin I saw an opportunity to create the natural skincare line that I had been seeking based on this amazing ingredient.
There are so many special ingredients found in nature – and we like to combine them with our argan oil to meet a variety of needs. Argan oil is so good, on its own or in combination with other ingredients, because it is easily absorbed by the skin and it is so versatile. Argan oil is extremely rich in vitamin E, essential fatty acids, antioxidants and squalene. It can be used on face, body and hair. It is a wonderful anti-aging ingredient, and can be used to treat acne as well as eczema. In addition, it is sustainably produced and serves an important purpose in creating economic opportunity for underprivileged women in Morocco.
3. The organic and natural movement has taken off a bit slower in Asia compared to the rest of the world. What do you think is the reason for that?
I think Asian consumers readily embrace established brands and these tend to be more traditionally formulated. I see the region catching up now, though. There has been lots of interest from Asia recently. We just launched at a major new chain of cosmetics boutiques in South Korea as well as in Robinson’s in Malaysia.
4. What’s your five minute beauty routine?
In the morning, I cleanse first with Kahina Facial Cleanser, followed by spritzing with Kahina Toning Mist. Then I massage two pumps of Kahina Brightening Serum into my skin, and then a couple drops of the Kahina Serum mixed with the Kahina Facial Lotion. In the morning, I dab the Kahina Eye Serum around my eyes. Before bed, I skip the Brightening Serum and replace the Facial Lotion with the Kahina Night Cream and use Eye Cream instead of the Eye Serum. It seems like a lot of products, but honestly it takes only about a minute!
I keep my makeup routine simple – Suntegrity tinted sunscreen, Tarte eyeliner and mascara, and a lip balm or an Illia lipstick. My hair is naturally curly, so I don’t bother brushing it. I usually wash it before bed and go with what I wake up with.
Kahina Night cream is one the line's latest releases and a GSB fave
5. What’s the product you won’t leave home without (whether it’s for travel or just a day out)?
It has always been argan oil, but lately I am substituting the oil with the Hand & Body Balm for when I’m out and about to deeply moisturise and protect my skin. With all the benefits of argan oil the balm is wonderful for travel and smells divine!
What's your favourite use for this magical multi-purpose oil? Share your tips with us!