Our old favorites are back in time for the holidays, and not a minute too late. I, for one, have simultaneously run out of my brightening serum, toning mist (more here), and cleanser, all of which I swear by for everyday use. And, really, I’m not sure there’s anything I want more for Christmas than the things I depend on daily to keep me feeling (and, OK, looking) my best.*
Some reasons we love the products, if you’re new to Kahina Giving Beauty: The line is incredible. Their products have been in my bathroom and on my vanity for more than three years now, and there are a few good reasons why. First, the products are gentle enough for my very sensitive skin. Second, they’re so full of natural actives that you get the satisfaction of knowing, because of what you see in the mirror and how your skin feels, that they work. Finally, they’re pleasant to share. Men like them because they’re unisex and unfussy but get the job done. Our moms like them because they’re appropriate for more mature skin, too. Our friends like them because they give them a taste of luxury and high-performance without being frou-frou or gimmicky.
Simply put: They work. And like a great friend or partner, they’re reliable and they make you feel good, day in, day out.
Without being over the top, I’d like to add: I’m also wild about the eye cream and the mask and the argan oil soap trio. They’re also selling these unpredictably chic pouf necklaces (I have one of those, too). They make boring outfits pop and attract compliments from the most unlikely people, like cranky strangers on the train.
So with that said, this Friday we’re delighted to share a very merry Kahina site-wide deal. It’s simple: A generous 15% off your purchase. The code is nondenominationally charming: HAPPYMERRY. And the deal lasts until next Thursday at midnight.
What are you getting? I hope my pals and mom aren’t reading this, because I think I just gave away what’s going in their stockings.
* K, maybe there are a few things, but they’re not the kind of things I would print here. Womp!
When a brand says right on their website, “what goes onto your skin, goes into your body,” I’m going to take a closer look.
I did just that with Griffin Remedy and found some go-to products. Though I typically look for unscented skin and hair products, sometimes I do appreciate a light, energizing scent in the shower. This clean, vegan, gluten-free brand makes a variety of products, and I’m a regular user of their hair care.
Griffin Remedy Daily Shampoo and Daily Conditioner: Both have a pleasant, mild orange scent and are my very favorite scented hair products. The shampoo lathers nicely, and cleans thoroughly but gently. I shampoo every few days or so, and this one is the best for when my hair is really feeling dirty. I often choose this shampoo after a coconut mask, and it gets out just enough oil but leaves what my hair needs. The combination of the orange shampoo and the coconut oil smells sooooooo good. The conditioner is fantastic for no-shampoo days, especially when I don’t need a huge amount of moisture, but I want to use a little something. I also like it for post-shampoo, and it’s great for helping to rinse out the last bit of henna after I color. They also make a Restorative line (lavender scent) that is more moisturizing, and have a Volumizing line too (lemon verbena scent). The prices are quite reasonable, much less expensive than most clean brands I’ve tried ($8/8oz bottle). I find them in various local stores, including Whole Foods, and you can order online.
I’ve also tried in-store testers of some of their lotions (lovely, especially the grapefruit). Have you tried anything from this brand?
I’m scared to ask, frankly, but I can’t help myself: What products are you guys looking for advice on? I ask because I have lots of fun new things taking up space on the cabinet where I keep such things, and I can’t decide where to start.
So, open question: What beauty problem is stumping you? What are you almost out of and looking to replace with something better? Be as specific as you can! This is where we get inspired.
Now, some blind-item options, should you need a boost: These are products we are loving. We’ll tell you about all of them, but what sounds most exciting to you now?
1. This hair product is from a line I’ve tried here and there in the past. It’s a spray-on leave-in, it smells bananas, but not like bananas, and it leaves my hair so soft and so loose. I use it three times a week, and I think it would work well on people with different hair textures, too.
2. This solid perfume took my breath away by the packaging alone. I instagrammed a photo of it! (No cheating.) It’s feminine but not sweet, it’s accessible, it’s all natural. My only beef? It’s so pretty that it’s on my altar instead of in my handbag. Champagne problems, I know.
3. This cleanser-toner-oil trio popped up at my house. I used them once, hesitantly, and my brain melted. I don’t mess around with my face, using the same products for years at a time. But I tried these, and I really, really like them. I think I’m sold on all three, and I think you guys might be too.
4. A makeup line we love has a new lipstick shade, which I recently discovered while shopping at ABC Home one chilly Saturday. “More of a lip stain,” said the woman who sold it to me. She was wrong, though. This puppy works best full-pigment, and it looks amazing on different complexions, too. New favorite?
5. A skincare line we love has two new detox masks out. I tried one, our friend Anna tried the other. I’m completely addicted to both.
So, yeah. The floor is open. What do you want more reviews of? And any of these entice you?
“Does anyone actually use aromatherapy every day?!”
I was asked this very reasonable question the other day at work. My answer: “Have you ever been in my office?”
I get it, though. Even for those of us who embrace integrative medicine, use organic beauty products and regularly get stuck with tiny needles, aromatherapy can seem a little frou-frou: an indulgence, a touch cosmetic. For a long time, that’s how I felt. Sure, I always had some cheap lavender by the bed. An old friend called it my “sleep juice” because I’d developed a habit of dabbing a little on the skin under my nose before retiring, but that’s as far as I went. I suspected aromatherapy might be a very useful tool, if only I could remember to use the stuff.
Since then I’ve developed a more sophisticated relationship with essential oils. If you haven’t done the same, I’d like to encourage you to.
That’s because aromatherapy can, I believe, kill a cold in its tracks, transform your stressful day into a productive one, help you unwind after work, gear you up for important meetings, and, much more simply, make you feel happy. It also has the added benefit of helping those around you, too, without them even realizing it.
I’m getting pretty deep into researching how aromatherapy really works and when I’m done, I’ll share that. For now, I’ll share the six products, from three lines, that I use every single day:
We’ve discussed this one before. As much as it is, in fact, an irritability zapper, this is also my daily perfume. There’s no getting around it: People freak out when they smell it. It’s impossible to describe, but it’s complex and gorgeous and unlike anything I’ve ever smelled. A lady on the train stopped me the other week—it’s the only way I can handle commuting on the jam-packed 4 train at 8 am—and asked me what I was wearing. I dug into my giant bag and produced the little vial to show her. Her eyes went wild while she smelled it, so I invited her to put some on. She did, and then pulled out a notebook to write down its name. “You made everyone on the train happy just by coming on this car!” I melted…and I kind of think she was right.
When I use it: Before I get on the subway in the morning, before hot dates, before important meetings.
How it makes me feel: Like…myself? In a good way.
We wrote in the book that we’d wear this as perfume, too, if it weren’t for its completely unsubtle narcotic properties. This stuff knocks me out, inducing sleep as deep as a baby’s. I like to shake a few drops onto my hands, cup them over my nose, then take 10 very deep breaths. I try not to do this every night, lest it stop working at some point. I gave this stuff to a colleague when she was going through a terrible breakup and she swore up and down it worked. I’ve subjected boyfriends to it, too. I’ve yet to find someone upon whom it does not cast a sleepy spell.
When I use it: Only the second I’m ready to sleep. It works usually within 10 minutes.
How it makes me feel: Couldn’t tell you. I’m asleep, remember?
3. Hope Gillerman Travel Remedy. Hope Gillerman is, I’m convinced, the standard-bearer for high-quality, potent EOs that work almost medicinally—and I’m not just saying that because she’s my next-door neighbor. She’s a natural healer, and I first met her a couple of years ago when she gave me a complimentary Alexander Technique treatment. That was so cool! Even cooler, for me at the time, was the aromatherapy 101 class she gave me before the session. I left her office with the Stress Remedy, which I adore. But lately, my go-to is her Travel Remedy. I wrote about it recently, when I started using it to fend off a seasonal cold. I’ve also used her Muscle Relief on my achey bones (and the achey bones of skeptics): always works. And on my desk at work, I have her Tension Remedy. It’s invigorating and a little zesty, perking me up when I’m computer-tired or anxious about a big meeting. Works every time.
When I use it: All day. Travel Remedy when I feel rundown; Stress when I’m feeling unshiny and haggard from a tough day; Muscle after a killer yoga glass or boot camp; Tension on the go, during the work day.
How it makes me feel: I’ve already explained this, but let me add: The Stress and Tension remedies make me feel much more present, much more in the moment.
Your turn. What’s been your experience with aromatherapy? Anything you love or—gasp—can’t live without?
In my good-hair-day arsenal, there are three products. They each serve their purpose, and I use none more than the other, so I’ll tell you about all three at once!
One is sort of new and achieves such a pretty air-dry that it makes me want to do so even when it’s cold out; and the other is an old favorite that I buy over and over again; and the last one is brand new and so versatile that I use it on my arms and legs, too.
Yarok Feed Your Ends Leave-In Conditioner
What it’s good for: Bounce, waves, air-drying, styling when you have to use a really crappy hotel hair dryer, and for smelling really good when you go in for a hug.
This is my go-to guy for air drying and for those days when I only have time to blast my roots and the strands around my face before I book it to work. It brings a nice shine, a soft, kind of sexy bounce, and it weighs nothing. It leaves my hair not piecey but with a nice texture, and like the shampoo and conditioner from Yarok, it smells divine, and the scent lasts. Last week I spent the night in Pennsylvania for work and I was traveling super-light. I knew the hotel hair dryer was going to suck; they all suck. So this was my product of choice. I had a nice, relaxed-looking hair day and despite the unseasonably high temperature that day, my hair didn’t get gross.
Intelligent Nutrients Volumizing Spray
What it’s good for: Fuss-free styling, hold, adding texture to thick long hair, defining curls and waves, and also smelling really, really good when you go in for a hug.
No stranger to regular readers, this product is still a favorite of mine. Has been for a few years (years!) now. It’s a little boosting, volume-wise, but the real reason I love it is the fact that when I use this with my amazing hair dryer my hair just ends up looking super done with very little effort (that last part is key). Work’s been crazy great (and crazy busy) lately, so looking put-together—or at least more put-together than I looked all summer—is important. This product is my secret weapon. It also helps you hold a style or wave. Love.
Intelligent Nutrients Hair Shine
What it’s good for: Everything. On wet hair before you style, on dry hair what needs texture, shine or control, on curly hair, straight hair, and African American hair, and on color-damaged hair. It’s also great on your arms and legs as a light body oil, and it smells like lemongrass. Yum!
This is the new kid in my caddy. It’s a new product from our friends at IN and I absolutely love it. I discovered it when it was sent to my job and another editor stopped me in the hall and said, “You’re going to freak out.” She handed me the bottle, I fell in love with the look of the thing, took one whiff—a combination of non-skunky lemongrass and something else—and, well, I freaked out. I sprayed a little on my hands, ran my hands over my poofy hair and spent the rest of the day admiring the subtle sheen and insanely good smell (I’m an inveterate hair sniffer). Since it’s made of several light oils, it occurred to me it might work as a body shine too, so one day I sprayed a little on my arms and legs and loved that too! It’s subtle, non-greasy, and makes me look like I am much better about applying daily body lotion than I am. Heh.
Have you tried any of these? What’s your favorite leave-in?