Kahina Giving Beauty; Discover Organic Argan Oil

Kahina

Argan oil, which is extracted from the nuts of the argan tree, is the heart of the Kahina Giving Beauty skincare line. It is indigenous to Morocco where Kahina’s founder Katherine L’Heureux has lived and devoted much time and energy to the women who work in the argan cooperatives that provide the argan oil for Kahina. The argan cooperatives afford these women the opportunity to learn to read and write, sustain valuable friendships, and help provide financially for themselves and their families which is a dire need. When you buy a Kahina product, a generous 25% of the profits go back to programs that help these women.

wk_zahraAmarirThe word Kahina is the name of an 8th century Jewish Berber queen and prophetess who successfully resisted the first Arab invaders, and symbolizes empowerment to women worldwide. The last part of the company’s name Giving Beauty, is self evident.

I have been looking for organic argan oil to purchase for about a month now. I loved my little sample that came with my Josie Maran Earth Day Kit and knew I would purchase a full bottle at some point. Fortuitously, Lucy at IndiePerfumes brought Kahina to my attention and I wanted to give the line a serious look, due to Ms. L’Heureux’s generous donations back to the Moroccan women. When I checked out the Kahina website, I was thrilled to see several tempting skincare offerings.

sustainableBeautyI would have thought argan oil would be argan oil, but I have read several reviews of different brands that have alerted me to the fact that some argan oils can be rather unpleasant smelling. Not so with Kahina’s. It does have a very mild nutty scent, but it is not bothersome in the slightest and is hardly noticeable (and I am very sensitive to smells in my skincare products). My only comparison is Josie Maran’s, whose argan oil has a more distinct smell, almost a petroleum type scent. But that was not unpleasant either, just a bit odd and faded quickly. My point is, if scent is an issue for you, I don’t think you will be bothered by Kahina’sArgan Oil. As for its performance; I love facial oils and Kahina’s 100% Organic Argan Oil is wonderful. I use it at night and wake up with soft skin. It doesn’t break me out, and in fact is purported to have antibacterial properties. It’s also rich in vitamin e and antioxidants. If you’ve never used oil as a moisturizer I know it can be a little strange to consider, but it feels amazing to massage on your skin and discover its benefits.

The Kahina Facial Cleanser is a lovely foaming cleanser that I have enjoyed using on those days or nights when I’m wanting a little extra clean-up. I typically use a facial oil or cream cleanser, but I do like gentle foaming ones and Kahina’s is perfect. The scent is amazing, let me just tell you! The organic floral water and neroli oil create a light citrusy floral scent that is refreshing and relaxing. The gentle foaming action gets my face clean, but does not feel stripped dry thanks to the argan oil, oat amino acids and organic honey in the formula.

Finally, I have also been able to try the Kahina Facial Lotion which is a highly efficacious, yet lightweight moisturizer. 95% of its botanical ingredients are organic and like all Kahina products, it is 100% natural. It also contains organic argan oil as well as organic shea butter and is ideal for this time of year as it’s not heavy in the warmer temperatures. My skin gets quite dry in the winter months, so I’ll definitely need more hydration at that point, and would love to give the Kahina Seruma try underneath the lotion to give it a moisturizing boost. There’s no SPF in the lotion, but since it’s so lightweight, it would wear very well under a tinted moisturizer with SPF.

Here’s huge kudos to Ms. L’Heureux for creating such a gorgeous skincare line that gives 1/4 of the profits to programs that will benefit those women who work hard to create the argan oil. And not only that, just by purchasing the product you are helping sustain the argan cooperatives and thereby sustaining these women’s livelihoods, educations, sense of community and empowerment. Additionally, the Kahina website states : “Our products do not and will never contain parabens, synthetics, sulfates, petroleum, GMOs, animal byproducts, artificial colors or fragrances.”

I also give Ms. L’Heureux raves for the packaging. Yes, the bottles are recyclable and the boxes are made from 100% recycled materials, but scroll back up to the top image. Do you see the inscriptions on the bottles? Those are the signatures of some of the women who work in the argan oil cooperatives. Yet they are not words, as most of the women are illiterate. They are symbols and designs they have created to meaningfully represent themselves, and Ms. L’Heureux has chosen to put their marks on the bottles. Beautiful.

Photographs from the Kahina Giving Beauty website. Photos from Morocco taken by Katherine L’Heureux

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Trying Something New. MyChelle’s Honeydew Cleanser

3182143705_4cbfea7a3d1I have been a Dr. Hauschka skincare devotee for quite sometime now. I use their Cleansing Cream and Cleansing Milk religiously, and even go so far as to integrate the Lavender Bath oil into the process. Sometimes I just cleanse with the Milk; sometimes just the Cleansing Cream. Sometimes both. When I have enough time I fill the sink with warm water, add a few drops of Lavender Bath oil and rinse my face with the aromatic brew and feel like I have just treated myself to a relaxing ritual. For those of you unfamiliar with Dr. Hauschka’s products, they are beyond lovely. They employ sustainable farming, fair trade practices, and of course no synthetic ingredients.  And because they take into account the cycles of the moon when they plant their flowers that are harvested for their organic formulas, I feel like little celestial fairies have somehow helped create my tubes and bottles of goodness.

The only downside, is that they are a German company. If you are in Germany, that’s great! If you are in a different part of the world, that means your skincare has to be flown over the ocean to get to you. Not ideal if you are trying to decrease your carbon footprint. Not to mention the high cost of their products. It’s an expensive routine. But breaking my Dr. Hauschka skincare habit is a tough one. I’ll illustrate it with a true story.

A few weeks ago I was at a restaurant with my husband and older son. I got a cell phone call that I had to take, and excused myself from the table. While I was away, my son asked who I was talking to. My husband said, “Mommy’s talking to a doctor.” My son then asked, “Oh! Dr. Hauschka?” Yeah, even my son knows about Dr. Hauschka; even how to pronounce the name correctly. I’m a little attached. But, in the spirit of looking for more locally made skincare, at least on this continent, I went shopping.

38859hnydewcleansrunsc44oz1MyChelle Dermaceuticals has been my first attempt. MyChelle is based in Colorado and does not use phthalates, parabens, or petroleum ingredients in their products. Some, but not all of the ingredients are organic, such as organic honey, blue algae and glycerin in the Honeydew Cleanser. I have heard  about their high quality reputation over the years, so I figured this was a good enough place to start. And well, Colorado is a lot closer to the Northwestern US than Germany. I saw a travel sized bottle of their Unscented Honeydew Cleanser at my local health food store about two weeks ago and decided to take the plunge. I am happy to report excellent results thus far.

I like to warm a nickel-sized amount in my palms and massage it on my face. It has a silky slip when applied and rinses nicely with warm water.  The consistency is creamy but does not leave a residue. Nor does it leave my skin feeling taut; just clean and soft. (As an FYI, my skin in general is fairly normal, but prone to dryness in the winter and breakouts every now and then). After two weeks’ worth of use, my skin looks as good if not better than it does when I use my beloved Dr. Hauschka routine on a twice daily basis. Even though the Honeydew Cleanser is labeled as “unscented” there is a mild, slightly floral scent that is very pleasant but does not linger.

For those of you who enjoy a cream cleanser, I encourage you to give this one a try. I don’t think I will ever stop using Dr. Hauschka’s Cream Cleanser, which is not creamy but rather granular and more of an exfoliator. And I won’t abandon the aforementioned cleansing ritual entirely. But I think I am ready to let go of the Dr. Hauschka’s Cleansing Milk and allow MyChelle’s Honeydew Cleanser to be its lovely, and far more reasonably priced, replacement.

~MyChelle is sold at Whole Foods and many health food stores. See this link to find a store near you in the US.

photograph by muffet on fllickr

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