Katharine L’Heureux, Founder of Kahina Giving Beauty, has dedicated her career to building sustainable businesses around luxury.
After discovering argan oil on her first of many trips to Morocco, Katharine decided to create a niche beauty brand with Kahina Giving Beauty, not just offering organic products to women in Lower Manhattan and across the United States. In doing so, she provides much needed job opportunities for women in Morocco who help produce the sustainably-sourced and packaged products.
“As I came to know and appreciate the Berber women, she decided that a cornerstone of the Kahina brand would be giving back to them to elevate them and their communities,” she said.
The Downtown Chelsea resident frequently visits the Moroccan argan cooperatives from which the oil is sourced to ensure the fair and proper treatment of the Berber women who extract it. She also works with suppliers and local social activists to identify these women’s most urgent needs in order to give back to them in a way that directly improves their lives and communities.
For the Berber women who inhabit the argan forest in the Southwest of Morocco, the hard work of extracting argan oil offers them their only means of financial and social independence. In collaboration with cooperatives and local NGOs (non-government organizations), Kahina Giving Beauty works to enhance the quality of life for these women and their communities by supporting local educational, environmental, agricultural and clean water initiatives.
Kahina Giving Beauty donates 1% of its annual revenue to organizations that directly benefit the women in the South of Morocco and their families; Education For All in Morocco (EFA) an organization that provides safe boarding homes for girls so that they can continue their education beyond elementary school, and The High Atlas Foundation, which raises money for a number of regional initiatives including delivering clean drinking water to remote villages in the High Atlas Mountains, creating jobs and protecting the environment by planting community-run nurseries in rural Morocco.
“I was influenced early on by being raised on a vineyard in the Napa Valley to understand that products are only as good as the quality of ingredients that go into them,” she said. “The highest quality ingredients typically come from small family farms, where there is a measure of control over, and pride in, the end result.”
As for the products themselves, Kahina combines time-tested organic and natural ingredients with modern technology to provide effective formulations and packages them for the discerning customer, going beyond Fair Trade requirements and donating an additional percentage of our revenue to support the Berber women of Morocco who crack the nuts for the argan oil.
Standouts include pure Argan Oil, which is rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids which works on contact to moisturize, reduce inflammation, minimize fine lines, improve skin tone and protect skin from environmental factors that cause signs of aging. There’s also the unique Moroccan Rose Beldi Soap, a skin cleansing and softening treatment that serves as a key element in the traditional purification experience known as the hammam in Morocco. The gel-like soap is made from saponified olive oil and lightly scented with Eucalyptus Oil. Used as a body mask to soften skin and followed by massage with the traditional “kessa”, a rough mitt, this luxurious treatment cleanses and exfoliates leaving your skin detoxified and silky smooth.
Finally, the 15-minute Moisture Mask helps create a refined and rejuvenated complexion. An homage to Katharine’s wine country roots and her “first skincare love”, argan oil, extracts from red wine grapes, argan oil and prickly pear seed oil provide essential fatty acids and potent antioxidants to neutralize free radicals that contribute to signs of aging. Avena Strigosa combined with a naturally occurring unique sugar compound work to increase skin’s water reserves to plump skin and improve barrier function, while mushroom extract soothes skin.
When she’s not in Morocco, the downtown resident loves frequenting Murray’s Cheese, KISAN on Green Street for Icelandic fashion concepts, grabbing dinner at Cherche Midi on the Bowery, and taking walks along The High Line to take in the landscape and clear her head. After that, she’ll most likely stroll into the Whitney Museum or Aedes Perfumery on Greenwich Avenue.