I met the founder of Kahina Giving Beauty, Katharine L’Heureux, a month or so ago over a cup of coffee. She was absolutely delightful, her company with its argan oil based products has an impressively ethical mission, the products look fabulous and are even glamorous enough to be accepted in to the haloed shrine of the Bergdorf Goodman beauty department.  The Kahina range is totally organic and safe enough to be beloved by cancer survivor and author Britta Aragon whom we interviewed last year. Nonetheless, when Katherine kindly handed me a bottle of her recently launched Kahina Serum, I was secretly a little dubious.

Argan oil is unquestionably a good ingredient that is full of essential fatty acids and vitamin E. But it I feel that it has become a victim of hype and it crops up all the time, often in products that are otherwise not especially interesting. Hair products such as Josie Maran’s or MoroccanOil are a case in point; I’m afraid they qualify as overpriced silicone. I like Zinn’s argan oil range as the products have a reasonable price to quality ratio. A $90 serum on the other hand would have to perform. And, as an additional challenge, it would have to perform on my 50-something skin.

A month later, I am delighted to report that I think that Kahina Serum is an excellent product. What it excels at is making the skin feel firmer, while looking a little plumper and smoother. As part of my test, I have been using it on my hands and see a notable difference – and the most spectacular part is that my nails have been growing so much I have to keep clipping and filing them. I know that argan oil is good for hair and nails as well as skin, but I hadn’t expected talons to grow before my eyes.

What makes this stand out from many of those argan oil products that I referred to earlier, is that argan oil takes center stage and the rest of the cast is pretty A-list as well. There’s coffee seed and pomegranate, which are rich in antioxidants. Sea buckthorn extract also has great credentials with plenty of vitamin C, vitam E and folic acid. There’s also rosemary, a herb that tends to be overlooked by the cosmetic industry. Carnosic acid and carnosol are the most important active components of rosemary extracts.  Carnosic acid and carnosol have been suggested to account for over 90% of the antioxidant properties of rosemary extract and are slso powerful inhibitors of lipid peroxidation. The only thing in the formula not to like is linalool, a compound that is possibly carcinogenic.

Kahina Serum has a pleasant, flowery fragrance and is an oil with a medium to light consistency. My estimation is that the 1oz bottle could last for a good three months or more. While using it, I like knowing that Katharine has made multiple trips to Morocco to personally source the oil and ensure the ethical treatment of the women who work to extract it. As a testament to them, their actual signatures grace the stylish packaging and they receive a portion of Kahina’s profits. While, I my 50-something skin responded well to this serum, I think it would be a great choice for 40-somethings and as a preventative for 30-somethings.

Ingredients: Argania spinosa (argan) kernel oil*, coffea arabica (coffee) seed oil*, bisabolol, punica (granatum (pomegranate) seed extract*, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract*, hippophae rhamnoides (seabuckthorn) fruit extract*, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil*, daucus carota sativa (carrot) seed oil*, lavandula angustifolia (lavender) flower oil*, anthemis nobilis (roman chamomile) flower oil*, citrus aurantium (neroli) flower oil*, cananga odorata (ylang ylang) flower oil*, commiphora abyssinica (myrrh) resin extract, benzyl salicylate, geraniol, farnesol, linalool, benzyl benzoate, d-limonen

*Ingredient from Organic Farming. 100% of the total ingredients are from natural origin; 98.8% of the total ingredients are from Organic Farming. Natural and Organic Cosmetic certified ECOCERT Greenlife according to ECOCERT Standard available at cosmetics.ecocert.com