My recent Spirit Beauty Lounge splurge

Here’s a peek at my recent SpiritBeautyLounge order. Of course my favorite part of receiving an SBL package is the goodies inside, but I also love the entire presentation. The sweet pink tissue paper, the way in which each item has been carefully placed in the box, and the always generous samples make an SBL haul, a special haul.

I haven’t tried the Rahua hair samples yet, but you can be sure that lollipop went right into my mouth as I unearthed the Kahina Toning Mist that I’ve been wanting since I read Dain’s review as well as the Intelligent Nutrients Finishing Gloss that will replace my almost empty bottle.

I reviewed the IN Finishing Gloss last fall, and it’s back in heavy rotation this summer. I’ve taken to mixing a few pumps of the gloss with Weleda’s Rosemary Hair Oil and warming it all over my hands. I then run my fingers through my hair and pat the hair that frames my face to give it a little extra help tamping down the frizzies. A nice combing and an air drying gives me soft, pieced-out waves. Of course a great haircut also helps, but this method tames my thick, frizz-prone hair like nothing else.

In addition to my order, SBL included a Wild Rose Lip Balm by Phoenix Botanicals for me to sample for possible review, and I am so glad they did. I adore this little balm! Its cute design belies its 100% biodegradable packaging with sweet illustrations and a sturdy feel. I love how you pinch the bottom of the tube to access more balm which also makes it easy to use every last bit. The balm itself goes on smoothly and hydrates just as well as my holy grail of lip balms, Dr. Hauschka’s Lip Care Stick. The balm itself is a bit thinner than the Dr. H balm, but it feels supple and does the job.

As for the Kahina Toning Mist, I love it too. I would be hard pressed to do a more thorough job at reviewing the toner than Dain already has done, so please check out the above link to her blog, ARS Aromatica. Suffice to say, I am in full agreement with her rave review.

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention my fabulously efficacious Soapwalla Deodorant Cream! I wrote about this product last summer and am thrilled that SBL has included it in their offerings. It’s a simple, all natural deodorant that truly works.

Intelligent Nutrients Finishing Gloss is $29 for 1.7oz, Kahina Toning Mist is $36 for 1.6 oz, and the Phoenix Botanical Lip Balm is $6, Soapwalla Deodorant Cream is $10. All at SpiritBeautyLounge.com

 

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Highlights of 2009: A Joint Blogging Project

I started blogging about natural and botanical perfumery in 2009, and this will always be the year I began discovering the depths of its beauty. Scent Hive grew out of my love for perfume, but this passion has become more profound since I have been fortunate enough to meet some of the gifted people behind the creations. 2009 gave me the opportunity to meet Ayala Sender of Ayala Moriel Parfums, Roxana Villa of Roxana Illuminated Perfumes and Julie Elliott of In Fiore, all extraordinary women devoted to the world of naturals. Each of them are fascinating individuals of course, but have a common trait of serenity in the midst of their bustling, independently-owned businesses which provide some of the most sumptuous fragrances I have ever come across.

Other perfumers that I have not met face-to-face, but with whom I have corresponded via email and phone quite a bit are Mandy Aftel of Aftelier Perfumes, Laurie Stern of Velvet & Sweet Pea and Dawn Spencer Hurwitz ofDSH Perfumes. All of these women are some of the kindest people you will ever know, and their attention to detail in packaging their orders is exquisite. Opening a box from an artisan who has put much time and love into her creations takes on a deeper meaning in this tight economy and mass-produced society.

It’s challenging to make a “favorites list” as there are so many fabulous perfumes I discovered this year. Nevertheless, I would like share some fragrances, beauty products, and experiences that have made an impact on me in 2009.

1). Reading Mandy Aftel’s Essence and Alchemy was a very poignant experience. Her book allowed me to delve further into the realm of fragrance, and appreciate the power of natural essences as a medium to transform and transcend one’s material world. It also provides a thorough history of natural perfumery and is very informative regarding the essences as well. I know Mandy has inspired many persons to become perfumers after reading Essence and Alchemy, and for me, it allowed my understanding and appreciation of this art to deepen and evolve.

2). Discovering DSH Perfumes’ 100% Botanical Perfume Collection was an olfactory highlight this year. Was I a kid in a candy store? Oh yeah. I wanted one of everything. Epices d’Hiver satisfied my need for a spicy, comfort fragrance this winter, and Yuzu will give me something to look forward to this spring when my citrus cravings ignite. Bancha is not available yet on the DSH website, but is here. I won’t reveal too much as my review is coming, but I will let you know that it’s Ayurvedic in inspiration, and entirely calming and beautiful.

3). Julie Elliott relaunched her body oils! In February 2009 I wrote about In Fiore’s Maia Body Oil, even though it had just been discontinued. Thankfully, Julie listened to the collective sigh of disappointment and has given us Jasmin Supérieur, the Body Oil formerly known as Maia. Julie reassured me that the formula has not changed, only the bottle which is more user friendly as it now has a pump. When I visited In Fiore this fall, I tested all of her Bath & Body Oils (there are seven, pictured above) and left with a bottle of Patchouli Royale which is made with the most gorgeous vintage patchouli from Grasse, France. I still have my bottle of Maia, or else I would have walked out the door with Jasmin Supérieur as well because it layers beautifully with Patchouli Royale.

4). Kahina Giving Beauty, is a line of skincare based on organic argan oil. Founder, Katherine L’Heureux, gives 25% of her company’s profits to educational and women’s rights programs for the women of the Moroccan argan cooperatives, an incredibly generous action. I have reviewed the line here, but wanted to let you all know that I have used this line almost everyday since I reviewed it, and will continue to use this lovely and efficacious skincare regimen.

5). I remain steadfast with Red Flower Guaiac as my favorite citrus fragrance. Its rich, zesty, citrus quality is unparalleled, and the more I wear it, the more I become attuned to its woody aspect. I have had the good fortune of visiting San Francisco three times in the last eight months, and Guaiac has been my fragrance choice for each trip. This uplifting perfume now speaks to me of California, warm citrus, and getting away.

6). Ajne’s Fleur Blanche is hands down, the most gorgeous gardenia fragrance…ever. And I’ll stand by that proclamation too. I’ve introduced enough perfume-lovin’ fiends friends who go gaga over it to know that I’m not the only one who drools over this beauty. It’s creamy and buttery, yet slightly smoky and woodsy, with a luscious hint of indoles. A common (and frequently undeserved) complaint with naturals is that they don’t last long enough. I have never found this to be the case with Fleur Blanche. It lasts from morning to night, and hints of its soft petals can be discovered on your scarf and blouse the following day.

7). I’ve already reviewed Velvet & Sweet Pea’s Body Frostings twice on Scent Hive, so you know I love them. I use them almost every night to soothe my dry hands and to fall asleep with their creamy floral redolence. It’s difficult to pick one that I like the best, since it seems to be whichever one I have on at the time.Kashmir Rose and Tuberose Gardenia usually compete for 1st place, but Orange Blossom edges in closely as I do adore neroli and have been enjoying using this as a neck cream at night.

8). Finally, becoming a part of the perfume blogging community has been most touching to me this year. As an avid reader of blogs such as NowSmellThis, Bois de Jasmin, PerfumeShrine, TheNonBlonde and IndiePerfumes, I feel very grateful to have been supported by them and anyone who has taken the time to read Scent Hive. The perfume-loving community is filled with the most generous, kind-hearted and intelligent group of people a gal could ever hope to engage with. Thanks to Lucy of IndiePerfumes and Jessica of NowSmellThis for meeting me this summer in NYC, you two are fantastic! And Angela, another NowSmellThis writer extraordinaire, thank you for swapping scents and stories over the past several months. And thanks also to Elena at PerfumeShrine for your advice and encouragement when I was getting this ball rolling. You all are awesome.

Please visit the following blogs for their 2009 highlights!

Perfume Shrine

Mossy Loomings

1000fragrances

Ayala Smelly Blog

Bittergrace Notes

Shoes,cake,perfume

Eiderdown Press Journal

Olfactarama

Roxana’s Illuminated Journal

A Rose Beyond the Thames

The Non Blonde

Notes from the Ledge

Under the Cupola

All I am a Redhead

Perfume In Progress

Savvy Thinker

I Smell Therefore I Am


Happy New Year to the Scent Hive community and all of your friends and family.


Gather ye Rosebuds while ye may by John William Waterhouse at artmagick.com
Primavera detail by Sandro Botticelli at visualstatistics.net

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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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