While growing up in Provence, in the South of France, I was always surrounded by Lavender scent, but I did not know the full story of how it was produced.
Because I like to know more than just the ingredients and benefits of the products we distribute at KENZA International Beauty, I decided to conduct some in-depth research on French Lavender from Provence, before I consider adding it to the KENZA Skin & Hair product line.
Always ask the locals
My brother Adil is very active in the community of our home town of Istres in Provence. He works for the city government, knows everyone in town, and is its “unofficial” mayor. So, when I mentioned to him I was searching for a good source of lavender, he started going through his contact list (LinkedIn would be jealous) and voila’ found the perfect connection.
He picked up the phone and called his friend Guy do Cavaco whose wife works at the largest Lavender distillery in France, in Sault en Provence.
With Guy da Cavaco
We soon learned that, coincidentally, the small village was celebrating “Le festival de la Lavande.”
I took the next train to Avignon, then rented a car, and headed straight to Sault through the most beautiful scenery, country side, and villages.
Sault en Provence & Le Festival de la Lavande
At the “Festival de la Lavande” in Sault, I met Bill Flanagan, an American blogger who vividly shares his experience in his blog Lost in Provence. He does an amazing job reporting on this beautiful region, on its people, and on Lavender, the “Purple gold”. Watch it Purple Gold, you will enjoy it.
The Lavender distillery
At the distillery, I tried to learn everything about Lavender, Lavandin, and the products they manufacture with these essential oils. I even tasted a drink, a cookie, and a crepe made with Lavender!
Lavender or Lavandin?
Both are essential oils produced by steam distillation.
Lavender is a small aromatic evergreen shrub of the mint family. It has narrow leaves and bluish-purple flowers. It has been widely used in perfumes and medicines since ancient times. It is mostly used in skincare and aromatherapy.
I like this article by Mind Body Green Uses of Lavender Oil
Lavandin, instead, is a plant that comes from the natural crossing (via bee pollination) of Fine Lavender and Lavender Aspic.It is uses for massage, home perfumes, laundry re-freshener, candles, soaps and more.
KENZA’ Beautiful Friends will soon be able to experience Provence, its beauty, charm, and scents through the KENZA Pure Provence Lavender collection: Lavender and Lavandin essential oils and other related products.
During the launch of our Provence Lavender line you will receive a sample of our Argan & Lavender Soap with purchase of KENZA Pure Lavender Oil OR KENZA Pure Lavandin Oil.
Do you use Lavender oil? Tell us how
How about lavandin?
After an 8hr bus ride from Casablanca to Agadir and another 2hr car drive, I arrived to Arazane. As soon as I pulled into the parking lot of Latifa’s house, I could hear the women singing a welcoming song in their Berber language. It brought tears to my eyes and warmed my heart.
Every year the coop makes some progress. Latifa, the coop Director, informed me the coop has joined a union of cooperative in the Taroudant area (this will allow it to pool some resources, to share best practices, and to have a stronger market presence); has been certified NormaCert which guarantees the Argan oil origin and quality; successfully underwent an inspection by the Moroccan department of Health; and it will be showcased in a fair in Germany representing Moroccan products. These are all great news, but have expenses attached.
On the other hand, new challenges always arise. I also learned the women had not been working for some time because the coop had run out of Argan nuts and it could not afford to buy anymore. Therefore, this year KENZA International Beauty donated the coop a lump sum to buy about 3,000 lb. of Argan nuts and to cover other expenses. This aid helps the coop provide jobs for the women so that they can be more productive and financially independent.
My assistant and I spent the day with the women to learn more about their work and responsibilities at the cooperative. Here are two videos that we hope you will enjoy and see how the Argan oil process is not as easy as it seems. We value the hard work of all the women working in cooperatives in Morocco producing many products that we all love.
We are grateful for your continuous support, for being loyal to our brand: KENZA“be generously beautiful”™ and for allowing us to spread more LOVE-BEAUTY-GENEROSITY
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• In a Moroccan Hammam SPA or your bathroom warm up your body with a hot bath, shower or steam for 10 min to open pores.
• Apply generously (1/4 cup) KENZA Pure Moroccan Black Soap all over your body. Let it penetrate for 5 to 10 min (it is important to stay in a warm environment).
Rinse off with warm water (no soap).
• Soak you KENZA Hammam Glove in hot water to soften it.
• Rinse the glove and start massaging gently skin (body only) in circular motion. After few minutes layers of dead skin and impurities will roll off the body onto the
“KIssa” exfoliating glove.
• Wash and dry your KENZA Hammam Glove.
• Soak hair with KENZA Pure Hair Treatment Oil, wrap with a towel or plastic cover. Leave 30min.
• In a glass bowl mix a cup of KENZA Pure Rhassoul Lava Claywith 1/2 cup of KENZA Pure Rose Toner , few drops of KENZA Pure Lavender Oil and add warm water or milk until You get the right consistency of a paste to apply all over your body and face. Lie down, let it dry for 15-20min. Rinse the clay off.
• Wash with your favorite KENZA Soap (SPA Bar Soap or Moroccan Oils Soap) and shampoo hair.
• Indulge in a rich, fragrant and sensual KENZA Pure Marrakech Body Oil and apply your favorite KENZA Facial oil (Argan oil, Prickly Pear Seed Oil, or Fusion oil).
Plan on creating your own Moroccan hammam experience. We provide the products: bit.ly/1S0k2WO
Prickly Pear Seed oil, barbary fig oil or Aknari however you choose to call it, is the “hot” beauty oil of the moment. The beauty industry and media like Allure Magazine have finally started buzzing about its miraculous benefits on skin and hair.
ELLE Magazine featured this precious beauty ingredient and our unique KENZA Pure Hair Treatment Oil.
What is Prickly Pear Seed Oil?
The Opuntia Ficus Indica plant is a member of the cactus family and is commonly known as Prickly Pear (also known as India Fig Opuntia or Barbary Fig). Native to Mexico, it can now be found in various arid and semi-arid areas of the world such as Morocco. Also called the miracle plant for its ability to survive during long droughts and still produce healthy fruits, the cactus plant grows in open fields without exposure to fertilizers or pesticides. The Prickly Pear fruit contains numerous small black seeds from which the precious Prickly Pear Seed Oil is extracted. The oil has been used by generations of Berber women to fend off the effects of dry desert conditions.
Prickly Pear Seed Oil is one of the most expensive beauty oils in the world. Its production requires a labor intensive and time consuming (up to four days) process manually handled by Moroccan women at cooperatives. The Prickly Pear seeds are separated from the pulp and are then dried before being cold pressed. Because each seed contains only 5% of oil, up to 60 lbs. of seeds (and a half a ton of fruits) are required to yield about 34oz. of oil.
Here you can watch a video from my recent trip to the south of Morocco, in the Ait Baamrane region, where the Prickly Pear Seed Oil is produced.
Composition & Benefits
Prickly Pear Seed Oil has a high concentration of Tocopherol (Vitamin E) and essential fatty acids (Linoleic Acid or Omega 6). This oil contains more Tocopherol than any other oil available in the beauty care market (almost 150% more Tocopherol than Argan oil). “Tocopherols are molecules with strong antioxidant and free radical scavenging properties.”*
Prickly Pear Seed Oil is a potent non-greasy treatment (due to its high level of antioxidant and fatty acids) that is easily absorbed by the skin. Among its many natural benefits, KENZA Pure Prickly Pear Seed Oil:
– protects against free radicals ( highest level of vitamin E)
– nourishes, moisturizes, and softens the skin
– tightens pores for a smoother and refined skin texture
– prevents premature aging and wrinkles formation
– brightens dark spots and under-eye shadows
– erases hyperpigmentation spots
KENZA Pure Prickly Pear Seed Oil is ideal to use as a night serum for an intense treatment of the face, neck, and décolleté that leaves your skin with a healthy natural glow.
At KENZA International Beauty we introduced you to this luxurious ingredient three years ago. And you can find it in four products of our KENZA “be generously beauty”™ line:
KENZA Pure Prickly Pear Seed Oil: 100% pure, organic prickly pear seed oil KENZA Pure Fusion oil: 100% pure, organic prickly pear seed oil and argan oil
Also in KENZA Pure SPA Bar Soap and KENZA Pure Hair Treatment oil (find them here)
Have you included pure Prickly Pear Seed Oil in your beauty care routine?
We would love to hear from you.
In October, I returned to Arazane, Morocco for the annual contribution that KENZA International Beauty makes to the Tirizite women cooperative that produces the KENZA Pure Argan oil. Watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMwtGwkFLRc
Upon arrival, I found out the coop had run out of Argan nuts and unable to produce Argan oil for the last two weeks, that the price of Argan nuts had doubled because of a recent drought, and that the coop had an outstanding bill from its last purchase of Argan nuts during the summer. Although the supplier had delivered the previous Argan nuts order on credit, he now needed to be paid in full before delivering any more Argan nuts.
This is when I decided that paying the coop outstanding debt and the cost of the new Argan nut order was a better way for my social enterprise to help the women cooperative rather than just distributing cash to them. This way, the coop was able to purchase 4,464 lbs. of Argan nuts that the women will use to produce about 18 gallons of pure Argan oil (both the edible and the cosmetic kind) and be debt free.
I was also pleasantly surprised by a few other developments at the coop:
– A very nice playground was built for the children community of Arazane on the coop grounds by “1040i for Humanity”, an American non-profit organization from Oklahoma. This playground is a wonderful facility for the local community as it is rare to see playing areas designated for children in Morocco.(Read more here)
– The women coop has a new building with reception area, shop, office, production lab, classroom, and a working room where the women crack the Argan nuts.
– The women coop has expanded its product line to include whole wheat and semolina couscous, exfoliating masks made out of Argan kernels, black soap with orange blossoms essential oil, and other beauty products.
Something that is in great need at the coop is an on-site day care for the pre-school children of the coop women. The daycare would allow these children to play, learn, and socialize with other kids instead of spending their day watching their moms crack the Argan nuts. I will focus on this project next with the help of all my “beautiful friends”.
Although I have used Argan Oil for many years, I have to admit that it was not until earlier this year that I discovered Pure Prickly Pear Seed oil. This happens to be another beauty treasure from my native country of Morocco and which Europeans have been crazy about for many years already. It is a potent antioxidant beauty oil that it is currently the most sought after ingredient for the beauty and cosmetic industry.
Pure Prickly Pear Seed Oil is also one of the most expensive beauty oils in the world. Its production requires a labor intensive and time consuming (up to four days) process manually handled by Moroccan women at cooperatives. The Prickly Pear seeds are separated from the pulp and are then dried before being cold pressed. Because each seed contains only 5% of oil, up to 60 lbs. of seeds (or half a ton of fruit) are required to yield about 34oz. of oil.
Prickly Pear Seed Oil has a high concentrations of Tocopherol (Vitamin E) and essential fatty acids (Linoleic Acid or Omega 6). This oil contains more Tocopherol (molecules with strong antioxidant and free radical scavenging properties) than any other oil available in the beauty care market (almost 1-1/2 times more Tocopherol than Argan oil).
I am myself a user and a fan of this precious oil. I had two large dark spots on my face due to hyper-pigmentation. My dermatologist prescribed the usual chemical “bleaching” hydroquinone creams as treatment.
However, my face skin had a bad reaction to the creams and it turned dry, itchy, with red spots. I immediately stopped using the creams, cancelled my follow up appointments, and instead decided to try this organic, pure, and natural product. I applied it religiously every night and, after a few months, I can show you that this precious oil does indeed work. My dark spot have diminished and my complexion is even and smooth. Also, my eye shadows are brighter while my skin is deeply moisturized and has a healthy, natural glow.
For people that, like me, have suffered with skin imperfections that make us feel uncomfortable, here is a completely natural product with exceptional components that, used in a concentrated form, will give you results.
1 – LIKE us and SHARE our page.
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3- Comment in this post and tell us why you would LOVE these KENZA Beauty products.
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Giveaway for participants in the USA only.
– Global Argan oil market was 4,835.5 tons in 2014 and is expected to reach 19,622.5 tons by 2022, growing at a CAGR of 19.6% from 2015 to 2022.
– The product is considered as one of the most expensive vegetable oil. This is on account of limited supply coupled with high requirement. Expensive nature of product is expected to result into high revenues over the forecast period.
– Cosmetics segment was the leading application segment and accounted for over 40% of total demand in 2014 and is expected to show significant growth in the coming years. Growth of personal care industry is expected to drive this segment over the forecast period.
– Medical and food application areas are expected to witness high growth rates over the forecast period. Product demand in medical segment is expected to be driven by its potential to cure diseases including cancer, inflammatory problems, cholesterol levels and food digestion.
– Middle East & Africa was the leading regional market both in terms of production and consumption. Argan oil is majorly consumed by rural economy of Morocco, which is major producer therefore demand rate is higher in the region as compared to others.
– North America is expected to witness the highest CAGR of 20.2% from 2014 to 2022 on account of its increasing demand in cosmetics for hair treatment and skin care products and in medical industry for disease treatment.
You can find our selection of personal care products made with organic Argan oil and Prickly Pear Seed Oil here