What happens when you combine years of organic skincare development with an expert in luxury makeup lines? You find Vapour Organic Beauty – a line that effortlessly provides amazing performance while caring for your skin. It was the collaboration of three passionate people that brought this brand to life. Co-founders Kristine Keheley, Krysia Boinis, and Eric Sakas continue to develop products that allow every woman to create luminous, flawless looks using only the purest natural and organic ingredients.
Below, Kristine and Krysia take turns answering questions about their line, their motivation, and their beauty philosophy.
Can you tell us how the brand came about, and your respective roles in the company?
Krysia: Kristine is the formulator, Eric is the beauty director and I am the CEO.
Kristine Keheley and I have been working together designing and manufacturing natural and organic skincare for other brands for over a decade here in Taos, New Mexico. All along we have been tucking away special formulas for the day we would launch our own line. Then we met Eric Sakas, a long time prestige cosmetics insider and previous President of Kevyn Aucoin Beauty. When Eric tried a Vapour prototype he said, “This feels light-as-air on my skin and looks like gorgeous young skin– it’s like nothing I’ve ever tried.” My favorite part is how shocked Eric was when I told him, “Not only does Vapour offer amazing performance but it is made entirely from certified organic plants, minerals and vitamins.”
What inspired you to make your line green?
Krysia: My passion for green living developed during my sustainable design studies at Carnegie Mellon University. I was intrigued by the idea of making sustainability luxurious and even better than conventional luxury products. The modern world is full of toxins; none of us need to increase our toxic load with chemically based cosmetics.
Chemicals don’t make cosmetics better; they just make them cheaper for manufacturers. I survived two bouts of breast cancer and emerged stronger, smarter and more passionate about the importance of living clean and green. We launched Vapour while I was in treatment and it was the perfect counter balance – something that would have a positive impact on women.
Do you have a beauty philosophy?
Kristine: Maybe its a cliche but I find it to be true in my life that beauty starts from inside. I think beauty is all about fun – when you’re happy you glow, when you’re creative you are magnetic and attractive. A sense of internal life and passion are what we are engaged by in others.
In terms of products, I believe in beautiful skin first, and NO chemicals – they just aren’t necessary and in my experience they sensitize and irritate the skin. I’m not going to put anything on my skin that isn’t food grade safe. It all starts with that healthy look of well hydrated glowing skin, nothing contrived or artificial. Vapour’s Stratus Primer and Atmosphere Foundation are designed to be lightweight, yet they provide a flawless, even, polished finish. Light reflection and allowing for the inner warmth of the skin are huge parts of how Vapour works.
On top of that healthy look, I love to experiment with colour, especially on lips and eyes. Right now I’m loving a dark dramatic eye with a nude lip. For daily wear though, I go for a very pale face with a touch of rose only on my eyelids – it brightens up my whole face and looks fresh.
Is there a favorite product in the line, and why?
Kristine: I’m very close to all of them course and its hard to pick a favorite child! Stratus is certainly Vapour’s most elegant yet hard working product. The feel of it on the skin is remarkable. The skin’s surface becomes satin smooth, and Stratus takes years off your appearance immediately. I never get tired of seeing that happen in the mirror. I love to show people how magical it is by asking them to apply it to one side of their face only, especially the eye area, and then they compare the two sides of their face. When people see for themselves, how the Stratus side looks immediately younger and fresher, they are ecstatic – this method never fails to get an enthusiastic response. Stratus fills in fine lines and wrinkles, evens the skin’s texture, and by using light reflection in a very subtle way, you get a flawless surface.
We have built the Stratus line to include three shades to help achieve truly refined color correction. #902 the original shade, which looks white but applies clear, is great for fair skin with pink tones – it even helps minimize the appearance of rosacea. Our next shade is #903, a sheer warm gold that lights up and energizes medium toned and darker skin. Our most recent addition #904, is a sheer cool toned pink that evens and corrects sallow skin by neutralizing the yellow undertones. Stratus doesn’t exist in a vacuum though, Stratus under Atmosphere foundation is the ideal pairing of products. Used together they provide maximum anti-aging effects and even pigmentation, along with a perfect finish.
What is the biggest reason you think its important for people to be conscious and careful about the beauty products they are using?
Krysia: What we put on our skin is absorbed into our bodies. Like organic food is healthier to eat, organic cosmetics are safer and healthier for people to wear.
Using toxin free, organic personal care supports personal vibrancy and the health of our planet. With Vapour, there is no sacrifice of performance, efficacy or enjoyment so it becomes easy to make a healthy choice.
As a growing company, how will you continue to maintain the quality of the products, as well as your sustainable practices?
Krysia: We design and manufacture Vapour right here at our own facility in Taos, New Mexico giving us complete control over everything from sourcing raw ingredients to sustainable manufacturing methods to the evolution of eco- packaging. We are also constantly researching advances in sustainability and because of our hands-on approach we can quickly implement new ideas and stay ahead of the curve.
What would you say is the most satisfying part of your work?
Kristine: I love the path of creating a new product. Inspiration will come from a combination of ingredients, or an idea about how to solve a problem I’m having with my own skin, and that’s usually how it all begins. I get very engaged in the process and am very tenacious about staying the course until a product is perfected. Sometimes the process is very brief – the lightning strike of the idea resolves itself quickly and successfully almost from the start, other times it takes more work, time, and creative experimentation to achieve the perfect result.
When it’s complete and the formula is passed off to production its very satisfying to see that idea turn into a tangible product ready for sale. I love hearing testimonials from happy Vapour customers, too.
When you know that something really works for someone, often solving a difficult beauty issue for them, that is sincerely professionally and emotionally satisfying.
Do you have a favorite beauty tip or secret–or piece of advice you would like to give our readers?
Kristine: Know yourself. Experiment with products, use them in different ways, get a little creative. Find that perfect combination of skincare and cosmetics that works uniquely well for YOU and fits into your day.
Living your life is where beauty happens. Being easy and comfortable with products is where it’s at.
I think sometimes that women give up their power and get ruled by certain beauty regimes and the hope they give to an expensive “miracle” cream.
All ages and types of women are beautiful, it’s through living our lives that we earn our faces. Look at Jane Birkin and Catherine Deneuve, two of the loveliest most iconic faces still stunning as they close in on 70. You’ve got to believe that’s partially due to the joy they have found in embracing being alive.
KRYSIA BOINIS – Vapour Co-Founder & CEO
Fourteen years ago Krysia’s personal passion for plants, alchemy and sustainable design led her to create a successful private label company specializing in design & manufacturing innovative natural & organic cosmetics. This private label company is responsible for some of the best natural and organic products on the market today.
KRISTINE KEHELEY – Vapour Co-Founder & Formulator
Kristine brings to Vapour over 10 years of experience designing award winning products and color lines for leading brands in the natural personal care industry. Kristine is also a professional fine artist and abstract painter, bringing a unique approach to the design of cosmetic color.
ERIC SAKAS – Vapour Co-Founder & Director of Beauty
Eric brings to Vapour a 20-year cosmetics industry career that spans product development, marketing, public relations and experience working with the world’s most recognized names in beauty such as Kevyn Aucoin and Philosophy.