At our San Francisco spa, we’re constantly inspired by our clients, products, and team of healing experts. Inspiration comes from near and far, yet no closer to our hearts is the story and soul behind Kahina Giving Beauty, one of our beloved Argan-oil based skincare lines.
With a mission of “women helping women through shared beauty rituals,” we couldn’t be more inspired. Here’s what Katharine L’Heureux, founder and beauty extraordinaire at Kahina had to share with us on a recent visit to San Francisco.
Describe the Berber women, their beauty and their skin and why Argan oil is the liquid gold of Morocco.
The Berber women are known for their mysterious beauty. There is much speculation as to their origins, but it is believed they migrated from the Orient and they often have beautiful almond-shaped eyes and complexions of that heritage.
I hesitate to generalize, but the Berber women I meet in the countryside are mostly very poor. Because of their religion and their economic situation, beauty regimens are limited to traditional remedies using natural ingredients such as argan oil, which comes solely from their region. As a result, despite the harsh conditions in which they live, they have beautiful radiant skin and lustrous hair.
What about the Berber women inspires you the most?
Their simplicity, their generosity, their happiness, their artistry.
Sustainable – is apparent in your philosophy, packaging and product extraction process. How has the argan tree provided not just a source of well-being for the Berber women but also the earth?
The argan forest is situated at the Northern edge of the Sahara desert in a region with very little vegetation. The tree loves to grow in the dry conditions of the region and has resisted efforts to be cultivated in other parts of the world. The deep-growing tree roots help to keep the growing desert at bay. It also serves as an important food source for the people and animals of the region.
How long is extraction process, start to finish?
First the argan fruit is harvested from the argan tree. The women need to gather approx.. 15.5 lbs of fruit to obtain the material for one liter of oil. The fruit is then dried in the sun, peeled and the seeds are cracked to get to the tiny interior “almond”.
The work of cracking the nuts is extremely labor-intensive and can take one woman approximately 8 hours to crack the nuts to produce one liter of oil. The oil is then cold-pressed by machine to ensure there is no bacterial contamination.
How many Berber women are now employed through the coops that you work with? It is hard to know exactly as some women choose to work from home to crack the nuts rather than go into the cooperative, and many women work only when they are able to. I work with several cooperatives and each of them employs approx. 50 to 100 women.
What does wellness mean to you?
Wellness is finding balance through optimal physical, mental and spiritual health. When one of these areas is out of whack in our lives, we aren’t “well”. In our culture, it is easy to take for granted that we are in good physical health and have access to food and clean water, and in seeking to have more material things than we need we tend to neglect our spiritual well-being by letting stress get the better of us.
What are your top 3 wellness tips?
It is so obvious to do the things we need to do to stay healthy – eat properly, get plenty of rest and exercise, but sometimes we need to be reminded. In addition, embrace some sort of spirituality in your daily lives by being grateful for what you have, act consciously, and help others. Practice gratitude. I was always told that you can choose to be happy. I never thought it was as simple as that, but we can choose to be thankful for what we have every day rather than dwell on the negative.
What is next for Kahina?
We have some exciting new product launches planned for this year – hello soap and brightening serum! I am hoping to extend the line to body care soon.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Love International Orange! ☺