An Interview with Kahina Giving Beauty’s Founder Katherine L’Heureux

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Kahina Giving Beauty is one of those brands which is just special! All of the products I’ve been lucky enough to try just feel so sumptuous and luxurious to use, and when I learned that the brand is making a real difference to women in Morocco, I fell even deeper into love with Kahina! I was lucky enough to have Katherine L’Heureux answer a few of my questions, and I have to say, my wish list has grown considerably!

kat at tazghilite

How did you find out about Argan oil’s amazing skin benefits?

I fell in love with argan oil when I used it for the first time on a trip through Morocco in 2007.  My skin, which was mostly dry, with oiliness at the t-zone, became balanced for the first time.  Intrigued by this oil, which I had never heard of before, I came home and did some research.

How did you come across the indigenous Berber women of Morocco? How does Kahina Beauty work with the women?

After my initial discovery of argan oil, I started importing the oil and sharing it with my friends.   The response was unanimously favourable, so I conceived of an organic skincare line based on argan oil.  The first step was to return to Morocco to learn everything I could about its production methods.  It was then, in January of 2008, that I first encountered the Berber women who work to extract the oil.  I searched high and low for reputable suppliers and met and worked with several groups of women on my quest for the highest quality oil.  Today, a lovely group of Berber women in a remote village high in the Anti Atlas Mountains harvest and crack the nuts for Kahina’s argan oil. We have also commissioned hand knotted rugs from them to provide them with an additional source of economic income.  And we work directly with the women to determine programs that we can support to help them beyond providing the economic opportunity that purchasing the oil and rugs provides.

How does Kahina mix traditional Moroccan beauty with modern needs?

At Kahina, we combine traditional ingredients with modern technology to create truly effective skincare products that appeal to a contemporary woman.  You can’t improve on what is found in nature, and the Berber women have such a rich knowledge of plant remedies, but often these remedies require extensive mixing, drying, and pressing, and aren’t meant to last for more than a couple days beyond a trip to the hammam.   Women in the West often don’t have access to wide the variety of quality ingredients we use in our products, and they want their products to last a while.  We’ve created skincare products using active percentages of the highest quality ingredients from around the world, in formulations that are meant to last.

Your newest product includes Prickly Pear Oil – how beneficial is this oil for skincare?

Extremely rich vitamins E and K, essential fatty acids and antioxidants, prickly pear seed oil has been shown to moisturize and soften skin . restore elasticity . meutralize free radicals that cause signs of aging smf brighten undereye circles. Slightly richer in weight and texture than argan oil, prickly pear seed oil is ideal for dry, mature skin types.

Do you think all skincare should have a natural oil base?

Some oils, like argan oil, and prickly pear seed oil, are wonderful, nourishing ingredients and can be loaded with vitamins, but it really depends on the product you are formulating.  Our Toning Mist, for example, is oil free.  With an aloe vera base, it helps to calm skin and gently moisturize.  By spraying the Toning Mist on before applying an oil or serum, the oils are absorbed more readily into the skin.

What are your favourite products?

It is so hard to choose as they are all like my children.  And it can depend on the time of year.  Right now, I’m loving our Prickly Pear Seed Oil and our Night Cream for helping my skin make the transition from winter to spring.  I’ve also been traveling a great deal over the past month and my skin is in need of deep nourishment.

What would you recommend for someone who has never tried the brand?

I always recommend that people try our pure argan oil to start.  If people have tried other argan oils, they can smell and feel the Kahina difference.  Our argan oil is a testament the extent we go to to ensure quality.  If they don’t know about argan oil yet(?), it’s a good place to start to understand how amazing this ingredient is and why I started Kahina in the first place. 

What’s next for Kahina?

I’ve just returned from Morocco and am inspired to introduce more of the traditional Moroccan hammam products into the line.  We’re also playing with scent this year.  Right now, we’re introducing our new ESSAOUIRA Body Serum with the same base as our best selling FEZ Body Serum, but with a lighter, more floral, yet still sultry, scent.

Thank you so much Katherine for answering my questions, and I can’t wait to try more Kahina Giving Beauty products – they are really something incredibly special!

Kahina Giving Beauty is available from Net-a-Porter and www.beingcontent.com

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