Some backstory about my love of natural beauty product:
When I was 16, I was a granola crunching vegetarian that wanted to join Lucy Lawless on a Green Peace boat to protest against whaling. I loved anything labeled “Natural,” and as I sidled up to the health and beauty care isle at my local Whole Foods, I would spend hours just staring at labels. Once I found something that seemed suitable (you can use this soap for laundry detergent AND your body? One and done!!) I used it, for everything. Was it good for my hair or my skin? “Who cares! It’s natural, cruelty-free, and good for the environment!” I’d exclaim, happy to support the cause while my skin got overly sensitized and my hair dried out due to my overzealous misuse of product and harsh ingredients.
Fast forward 12 years, and I’m a stylist working with Kérastase, a luxury brand that performs beautifully on hair. My young 16 year old self, persistent and stubborn, still quietly reminds me to choose natural whenever possible, and my adult self argues that natural products, especially in the hair world, never perform as well as their less natural counterparts. This struggle has been a constant battle for me, until now.
Introducing: Aura Botanica, a naturally derived line from Kérastase that is silicone, sulfate, and paraben free. It delivers not only in product performance, luxurious feel, but also in it’s humane and ethical sourcing of ingredients.
Yesterday, Michelle Hoffman, our rep for Kérastase came in to tell us about the new line, and so far, we’re hooked.
Kérastase has partnered with Fatima Ihihi, president of Toudarte Cooperative, near Agadir, Morocco. The argan oil used in Aura Botanica is hand-picked by these Moroccan women. Within the past 10 years, Moroccan woman have pushed towards emancipation, challenged patriarchal authority, and have been given more rights and freedoms. Fatima began by gathering 29 women and created a cooperative, crushing the argan nuts hand by hand, taking the process step by step. Now her organisation has grown to almost 100 women. By working with Toudarte, Kérastase ensures that these women are able to earn a livable wage- they are happier, and have a better quality of life. L’Oreal is also using Samoan coconut that is handpicked, and is able to invest in the healthcare and training of over 200 women.
L’Oreal’s manufacturing plant in Burgos, Spain where Aura Botanica is manufactured is also unparalleled in it’s environmental performance. It was developed with a bio-ethical conscience and doesn’t use any fossil fuels. It is trigeneration plant- meaning that it creates thermal energy, provides cooling capacity, and electricity, and has been fitted with solar panels to maximize efficiency in the consumption of renewable energy. They barely waste anythin; any product wastes goes through the plants own special treatment facility to ensure proper disposable of product and to prevent harm to the environment. This facility has also partnered with 3 integration centers, most notably Servigest Burgos, to bring persons with disabilities into the workforce, providing packaging and handling jobs.
So, Aura Botanica is able to provide Moroccan women and disabled people with jobs while being ethically sourced and manufactured? This line creates transparency, and that speaks volumes to me about what type of product this is and the kind of company that is willing to head in a more sustainable, socially and ethically conscious direction. But what about performance?
Not only can Argan oil and Coconut oil be ethically sourced, they are two powerhouse ingredients that are also amazing at making hair feel incredibly soft, supple, manageable, and strong.
The shampoo, Bain Micellaire:
Leave it to the French to take something and make it infinitely better! Micellaire technology is an old French method of cleansing. Instead of using a surfactant to pull off dirt and oil, this sulfate free shampoo uses a molecule that has a uniquely hydrophilic head (loves water), and hydrophobic bottom (hates it). The result is that the oil in the molecule will get eaten up and dissolve any residual oil in the scalp and the hair, leaving your hair super clean, but with softness and shine from the coconut and argan oil.
Bonus: since this product cuts and slows greasing, you get an extra few days out of your shampoo. (I don’t have to shampoo as often? Yes!!)
This conditioner is lightweight, and has beautiful detangling properties. It provides immense shine, but doesn’t weigh hair down.
This luxurious serum can be used multiple ways: you can use it in the conditoner for a deep treatment mask (use about 2-4 pumps), use it as a massage oil for your hands and scalp, to provide nourishment to thirsty ends before a blowdry, or as a finisher to add some extra shine to a style. My absolute favorite product of the launch and one that I’m going to be using a lot behind the chair. This lovely oil mist is technically a primer; it prepares hair for the receival of styling product and treatment product. It also provides up to 72 hours of frizz control, and thermal protection up to 250ºF.
I’m anticipating more products in this line to be rolled out within the next year or so (the fragrance is so amazing, literally like liquid sunshine, I want a candle, a bathroom spray, and an oil diffuser!!) but for now, I’m going crazy over these 4 solid products.
A luxury line that’s naturally derived, ethically sourced, developed with sustainability in mind, helps people earn a living, promotes beauty and unites women across all cultures and backgrounds.
That earns a ONE Salon and Spa seal of approval.
-by Kat Prush