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03-08-10 | Posted by


Seeds from the Argan tree. Photo courtesy of www.kahina-givingbeauty.com.

Social responsibility and luxury meet as cosmetics brands incorporate a formerly little known oil into prestige hair and face products. Native to southwestern Morocco, organic argan oil–rich in vitamin E, essential fatty acids and antioxidants–works to fight signs of aging and soften skin and hair. It’s been used for generations by Berber women of rural Morocco for cooking but also to combat the effects of dry desert air on their skin. And these very same women benefit from its current popularity. By law, only they are permitted to extract the oil from argan tree seeds, a labor intensive process. In 2002, the Moroccan government established female cooperatives to manufacture argan oil, which not only provide financial and social independence for these women, but also offer literacy and other educational programs.

Kahina – Giving Beauty

Photo courtesy of Kahina - Giving Beauty.

“These women can’t even write their own names, yet they product the most amazing product. It occurred to me that I could help them with creating a skin-care line that really works and that women can feel good about buying,” stated Katharine L’Heureux, who founded Kahina – Giving Beauty in 2009.

The Kahina lineup comprises a cleanser, a face serum, an eye serum and a lotion as well as two bottle sizes of pure unadulterated oil, 1 oz. ($32) and 3.3 oz. ($72). “Argan oil works wonders on dry skin, but what’s surprising is that it actually has a balancing effect and antibacterial properties, which make it great for oily and acneic skin as well,”stated Ms. L’Heureux.

Kahina – Giving Beauty can be purchased at www.kahina-givingbeauty.com and select retailers such as Fred Segal in Los Angeles, ABC Home in New York City and International Orange in San Francisco. As part of the company’s social commitment, Ms. L’Heureux has pledged 25% of the profits from the Kahina products to the women of the cooperatives. The first project slated is building a new preschool.

Moroccanoil

Photo courtesy of Moroccanoil.

Since its debut nearly two and a half years ago, Moroccanoil, a pioneer of luxury argan-oil infused products, has become a runaway hit among fashion and beauty insiders, generating a cult following among editorial, fashion, celebrity, film and television stylists and their A-list clients.

Its hair care and styling products are known for their weightless quality and formulations rich in vitamins and natural elements that fortify and strengthen as well as protect the hair against environmental aggressors.

Available exclusively at salons, the Moroccanoil lineup now features nine products including the original Moroccanoil Treatment ($39). Roughly priced between $19 and $39, the range includes a styling cream, curl cream, glimmer shine spray, hydrating mask, restorative mask, repair shampoo, repair conditioner and a new luminous hair spray. Visit www.moroccanoil.com for salons that carry the Moroccanoil treatments.

Josie Maran Cosmetics

Photo courtesy of Josie Maran Cosmetics.

Growing up in a bohemian family in Northern California, Josie Maran’s experience with makeup was non-existent–that is until she became a top model. She discovered argan oil while working on a photo shoot in the south of France, when an older woman with glowing, beautiful skin revealed her beauty secret. When Josie launched her eponymous skin care and makeup line in 2006, she knew she had to include this organic wonder ingredient.

“For morning and night, Argan Oil is my favorite moisturizer for skin, hair and nails,” Ms. Maran stated. “Our Argan Oil, housed in a recyclable glass bottle, is purchased from women’s cooperatives in Morocco thereby supporting their social and economic welfare. These cooperatives also work within a UNESCO biosphere reserve, which ensures the protection and reforestation of argan trees.”

The Josie Maran Cosmetics line now includes more than 25 skin-care, makeup and hair-care products, priced from $12 to $52. According to Josie, her Argan Oil ($48) is a customer favorite, and inspired her to create the Argan Oil Moisturizing Stick ($22), which provides on-the-go spot hydration. Josie Maran Cosmetics are available at Sephora and www.josiemarancosmetics.com.

Kaé

Photo courtesy of www.kaetherapy.com.

Kaé is a 100% natural brand from France that combines the restorative powers of argan oil with other essential oils in a range of luxurious age-delaying products. In addition to fighting the signs of age, Kaé contends that argan oil can help reduce the appearance of burns, scars and stretch marks. As with many other argan lines, Kaé’s number one bestseller is its pure argan oil, called L’Huile de Beauté ($46). The brand offers products for face, body and hair, as well as a professional line used by estheticians. Visit www.kaetherapy.com for purchase information.

An Essential Ingredient

Even brands not based on the power of argan oil recognize its restorative and healing benefits. Horst Rechelbacher, the founder of Aveda, incorporates argan oil into his Intelligent Nutrients brand. Pangea Organics uses it in Nigerian Ginger, Sweet Lavender & Thyme Facial Cream ($36); Guerlain lists argan oil as an ingredient in its Terracotta Sunless Luxurious Self Tanning Balm ($50); and Laura Mercier includes it in Flawless Skin Day Crème SPF 15 ($95). Check out some of the brands mentioned above and discover why argan oil is commonly referred to as “The Gold of Morocco.”

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