Wearing Kari Gran: 'The Little Black Dress of Eco-Skincare'



Lately I've spied a trend popping up in magazines and on blogs: making an effort to look 'expensive.' Expensive-looking hair, expensive-looking eye makeup, even expensive-looking skin. Sounds silly at first, but, really, don't we all want to look like we have a (very pricey) beauty and fashion team at our beck and call? Of course, especially when we don't actually have to pay for one!

Two hallmarks of expensive beauty: 1) quality and 2) understated elegance (Note: I didn't say sticker shock!). These happen to be the same two characteristics that stood out to me when I first tested a chic new natural skin care line: Kari Gran. This Seattle-based line is instantly memorable for its sleek packaging: weighty, deep violet glass that's both expensive-looking and practical, as it keeps the antioxidants in these natural formulas from deteriorating in the sunlight. And the kicker: it's a steal, especially when you consider the quality of the ingredients.

What's inside the bottles is equally as luxe as their outside look:

  • Calming, lavender-scented Cleansing Oil ($30/100mL) rich in avocado, castor and sunflower oils that instantly revives dull, dry skin (few things make you feel more expensive than a luxurious face massage with oil). It's designed for once-daily cleansing (and makeup removing- it just melts eye makeup) at the end of the day.
  • Lavender or rose Hydrating Tonic ($35/100mL), with aloe and glycerin to soothe, calm and moisturize skin.
  • Essential Serum ($60/30mL) with a soft, natural fragrance you'll want to drink in, even as you quench your skin's thirst with camellia, rosehip, sunflower, jojoba, almond, avocado, sea buckthorn and olive oils.
  • Deeply hydrating Lip Whip (hello winter dryness defense!) ($15), with beeswax, camellia, castor, avocado oil and vitamin E that works as well on lips as it does on cuticles and other dry spots. My favorite is the peppermint version- tinted pink with a fresh mint bite. (See below— aren't they tempting?)


Gorgeous Lip Whips!

I had the chance to interview founder Kari Gran herself about her beautiful line, her own favorite beauty rituals, her secret for hiding skin dehydration, and why a Kari Gran Body Whip could be next. Believe me, you'll want to give this line a try for natural skin care with an expensive feel that's worth every penny...

BIW: Tell me about your favorite product from the Kari Gran Skincare line. What's the story behind its creation?

KG: My favorite product is the Essential Serum.  I love the way it smells and more importantly, the way it makes my skin feel so soft and hydrated.  Oh, did I mention that I love that it's also the only thing I use in place of my previous moisturizer for day, night, eye, neck and décolleté area too? Because it's pure product without fillers, I get to customize my level of hydration every single day. If I'm feeling parched and have not been good about drinking water, I just use a little more. If I've been walking the nutritional "straight and narrow" I don't generally need as much.  It's lovely to use at home but even better when I travel, so much less to take along with me and a little goes a very long way.

BIW: Do you have a favorite natural skin care ingredient?

KG: Oh, so many to choose from.  I think I would have to pick Avocado Oil right now.  It's so good for your skin and good for your body.  I love edible ingredients.

BIW: What's your must-have beauty food?

KG: Kale, hands down winner.  So, so good for you and so many ways to prepare it.

BIW: Tell me about the beauty ritual that you most enjoy.

KG: For me, a true ritual is something that I look forward to doing every single day and it's no longer in the "have to” column, it's something I really want to do.  I love a trip to the spa, but it's not something a do more than once or twice a year, at most.  Being able to recreate that experience for myself in five minutes at the end of every day (well, maybe longer if I really take a good long time with the cleansing oil) feels like I'm really treating myself. Even better that I'm not inviting any toxic chemicals to the party.

BIW: What's next for your brand?

KG: I love being able to get feedback directly from my customers and meeting people face to face in the Seattle loft is pretty wonderful.  Many have been putting the lip whip on their cuticles, elbows and any other areas that need a bit of extra attention.  I would love to create a body whip that is unlike any other, a completely waterless formulation that isn't greasy and smells divine.

Purchase Kari Gran skincare at karigran.com, and at select boutiques around Washington!