When it comes to luxury, organic beauty there isn't anyone quite like Vapour Organic Beauty. Founded by Krysia Boinis and Kristine Keheley after years of working together and making secret formulas, they waited just for the right time to share their exception creations. When a prototype of their product fell into the hands of someone looking for 'the next big thing' he learnt that not only does Vapour offer exceptional performance but their products are made from entirely certified organic minerals and vitamins! From here Vapour was born and it has since gone from strength to strength in the green beauty world and beyond. We meet the ladies behind the brand to talk inspiration, green washing, natural beauty and lots more!
What inspired you to start Vapour?KRYSIA: My mum introduced me to making my own skincare. She had one rule: use anything in the kitchen except what's under the sink. Anything that was edible was fair game, and powerful seeds were planted; food is not only what you eat, but what you put on your skin. So after a long struggle to find colour cosmetics that were both luxurious and organic I was inspired to make my own.
KRISTINE: There was a void in the cosmetics world in 2007. There weren't any products that spoke to my ethics or needs. I wanted organic, responsibly sourced, high performance cosmetics. I've been a makeup user from my early teen years and I started with Chanel. I wanted to bring that same level of glamour, sophistication and performance to natural products.
Where do you find inspiration now?KRYSIA: Taos, New Mexico where we live and create Vapour is my inspiration and muse (pictured at the top of this page). There is a unique energy and light here. The sky itself is intoxicating. Taos also has a rich history of ancient and multicultural traditions that mingle with inventors, free–thinkers and artists. The result is a creative atmosphere with soulful depth, natural beauty and a sense of place and time. Taos allows me to be expansive and open to innovation.
KRISTINE: I've learned as an artist to place myself in the way of Inspiration. I throw myself in front of it. Travel is a primary inspiration. I am a seeker of beauty, adventure, and learning. These experiences affect my art, but also my ideas for Vapour - the two creative paths are definitely entwined. Nature and watching light and weather change over the course of hours has been part of my painting process for 25 years.
Why is ‘natural beauty’ worth pursuing?KRYSIA: Natural beauty is an intangible quality, a state of being that radiates from within. It’s worth pursuing because it’s authentic and it can’t be contained. I’m drawn to cultivate it inside and out with mindful choices and practices, and Vapour is one way I’m able to share it with others.
KRISTINE: The world benefits from a shift toward organic farming. That reasoning is based on environmental common sense and also a respect for the healing power of plants. The ingredients can be challenging to work with but that effort translates into a soulful creative vibe in all Vapour products.
What makes Vapour different from other natural & organic cosmetic brands?KRYSIA & KRISTINE: We're so hands on. The most obvious difference is that Vapour is not solely a marketing company, like most beauty brands. We actually manufacture Vapour products ourselves. Kristine sources every ingredient and does the initial quality control step for each of our production runs. We set a high bar of excellence for ourselves and our products. We go deep and we're transparent. We sincerely care about every choice. Ever since the beginning of Vapour, we agreed it was about remaining open to a state of constant evolution. That's a good survival instinct, but it also springs from a recognition that we "work" for so many women. We take that responsibility seriously and we truly love to create beauty.
Founder Krysia Bonis
What advice would you give someone looking to swap from conventional beauty to natural/organic?KRYSIA: Choose products from brands with high levels of transparency and integrity. Make that easy by shopping at retailers who have already done that vetting for you…
Which Vapour products do you never leave the house without?KRYSIA: Stratus Skin Perfector + Atmosphere Foundation + Halo Illuminator = my best skin. I love all three.
KRISTINE: Atmosphere Luminous Foundation in #110, Siren Lipstick in Madam, Chere, Bold & Torrid (yes all of them!)
You’ve been creating and manufacturing natural & organic products for 16 years, what has changed in that time?KRYSIA & KRISTINE: Growth and possibility. The number of organic ingredients increased significantly in 2008. Before that there were very few organic options. In 2013 we started to see a growing number of luxury oriented brands focused on truly plant based formulas and organic ingredients. In the past year, we're seeing an explosive growth in the amount of these independent organic and natural brands. We've been experts in this field since 2000, and thankfully we've seen a lot of people turn into believers.
How is green washing and misleading marketing still affecting the natural products industry?KRISTINE: Right now consumers are being duped into thinking a brand or a product is "vegan" when it is really the same old, same old toxic stew of chemicals and dyes. The product has zero connection to healthy ingredients or plants but because there is no carmine or beeswax the product rates as “Vegan”. This is misleading and unethical. People who choose to be vegan by large care about health and environmental issues as well as animals. Women are being tricked into using chemicals when there are genuine plant based vegan products available. Vapour is not vegan and we have never claimed to be, but we are champions of transparency and educating the consumer about safe plant based cosmetics.
What are some of the challenges working with organic ingredients?KRISTINE: Vapour bases are entirely made from plant oils, beeswax and plant butters. These organic ingredients are from crops that vary from year to year, and even lot to lot. The texture, colour, scent and even the functionality can change. So they are incredibly temperamental and require a lot of finesse. It's a constant process of patience and experimentation. We aim for and achieve a remarkable level of consistency from batch to batch in our finished products. You'll never see our behind the scenes dedication to that process, but we hope you feel the integrity in every Vapour product.
How do you like to relax away from the business?KRYSIA: At the end of the workday I sit outside, become still and expand my awareness to the sky. I find that staring out at the blue sky, beyond the clouds and weather, clears all mental activity of the day. It brings a quiet, clear, open state of being. I have been ‘sky gazing’ for over twenty years in Taos and just recently learned that it is a formal Tibetan practice from the meditation tradition of Dzogchen, which aims to cultivate resting the mind in a natural state, free from conceptual elaborations.
Founder & artist Kristine Keheley
What are your top beauty rituals?KRYSIA: 1) Moisturising my skin with plant oils rather than creams. Plant oils are super compatible with skin and provide moisture and nutrients without any fillers. A typical cream is about 70% water that does not penetrate to hydrate skin, so it is just filler. Plus, creams require aggressive preservatives and pure oils do not. Plant oils are also versatile. They can help normalize over active oil glands and at the same time nourish and moisturise dry skin.
2) Lymphatic Facial Massage – This is my most treasured beauty secret. I perform this simple ritual every evening when I remove my makeup with Vapour’s cleansing oil and makeup remover - Clarity. Lymphatic facial massage will noticeably change the appearance of your complexion. It improves skins appearance from the inside out by helping stimulate fibroblasts to release collagen and restore skin elasticity, tone and texture. Lymphatic facial massage removes toxins, increases oxygen and nutrients flowing to the skin, and reduces inflammation & puffiness.The key is to open the lymph pathways that drain fluid from the face before massaging.
How To: Step 1: To begin gently stroke downward from in front of your ears, down neck to collar bone several times. Step 2: Next begin stroking gently from the centre of your forehead at the hairline outward to temples and down in front of your ears. Then stroke down your neck to the collarbone. Step 3: Continue the same series of motion out and down from: centre of forehead, centre of eyebrows, bridge of nose, tip of the nose, above lips and finally your chin and jaw line.
Where would you like to see Vapour in the next 5 years?KRYSIA & KRISTINE: We’d like to see our reach increase while maintaining our standards of excellence and the quality of our relationships. We want to see our staff thriving along with our products. It has been a wild ride for all of us and we want to continue to blossom and innovate together.