August 12, 2014 Kari Gran


I love nothing more than rolling up my sleeves and spending the day in our Kari Gran formulation room, where all the magic happens. While I love geeking out, measuring, distilling and mixing, the most pleasant part is working with the raw ingredients. They make my heart sing!

At Kari Gran, we only use the highest quality organic and wild-harvested ingredients around. Our company was built on the philosophy to “be kind to your skin,” which means simple ingredient decks, and NO chemicals. Ever. Instead, I get to surround myself with all natural ingredients just begging to get under your skin and give it a healthy beauty boost.

Here are some of my absolute favorite ingredients to work with, landing a spot smack on the LOVE list:

1. Camellia Seed Oil (a.k.a. Camellia Oleifera) – this has one of the loveliest scents around and is famous for locking in moisture like a champ. Skin rapidly absorbs this stuff, and it penetrates into the deepest layers to help leave a smooth and supple finish. As if that’s not enough, it also helps restore pH balance and acts as a shield to protect skin from environmental pollutants.

2. Avocado Oil (a.k.a. Persea Gratissima) – great for salads, guacamole and your skin. Oil from the mighty avocado works all kinds of wonders: moisturizes; soothes sunburns; boosts collagen production and helps reduce age spots. It can also keep itching and skin inflammations at bay, while softening rough + cracked skin.

3. Rosehip Oil (a.k.a. Rosa Canina Fruit) – a rosehip is the fruit of the rose plant. You can use it in food for making jams, jellies, pies and such, but I love its oil for skin. It restores elasticity to help reduce scars and fine lines, and also protects against sun and other pollutants that just love to give you wrinkles.

4. Frankincense Oil (a.k.a. Boswellia Sacra) – courtesy of sap from the branchy Boswellia tree, exotic frankincense promotes regeneration of healthy cells while also toning skin.

On the other hand, here is my LOATHE column! Buyer beware – a lot, and I mean nearly ALL mass market beauty products have one or more of the below beauty product ingredients that I personally recommend giving a big ol’ miss to.

1. Parabens – it’s wonderful to see an uptick in paraben-free products as word gets out about these bad boys. They are banned in the EU, but still welcomed in the US where we have lax regulations when it comes to beauty products. A paraben is a chemical preservative used to give products their loooong shelf life, but once off that shelf and in your body they mimic estrogen and have been linked to wreaking all sorts of medical havoc, including disrupting endocrine systems and aiding breast cancer.

2. Mineral Oil – let your skin breathe! Mineral oils and petroleum-based products are known pore-cloggers, but are also known as a very cheap ingredient attractive to beauty brands protecting the bottom line. Your skin both needs to absorb and excrete (to breathe in and out) and you severely limit its ability to do so when you use products with these ingredients, which is akin to wrapping your skin in Saran Wrap.

3. Synthetic Fragrance – hey, is that a high horse I see over there? I’m climbing on, as this one really riles me up! Because of the lax safety regulations in the beauty industry, manufacturers are not required to disclose what ingredients they use in perfumes as it’s considered a trade secret. These synthetic ingredients could be made from up to 1,000 chemical compounds…you have NO IDEA what you’re putting on your skin and the maker doesn’t have to tell you.

4. Water – ok, I’m not H2O bashing here. Obviously water is amazing for your skin, and you should drink lots of it. But it’s not an ingredient you want in your beauty products because it’s simply used as filler to stretch the product, so you’re paying more for less. Most beauty products are made with up to 80% water. Yikes.

Moral of the story: read your labels.




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