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Global Glow

by Celia Shatzman

Born in Morocco and raised in the south of France, when Khadija Fajry witnessed the start of the argan oil craze in the U.S., she wanted to bring the real deal to her adopted country, so she founded Kenza International Beauty, a natural skin, hair and body care line.

Why did you launch Kenza International Beauty?

I decided to start six or seven years ago when I saw people going crazy for argan oil products here in the U.S. But it was not real argan oil, and being Moroccan that made me very upset. People would mix argan with another oil and make it cheaper.

I’ve been using argan oil for over three decades. I know what it is and the best way to use it, which is to use it purely. I decided to do my research and go to Morocco and find the best argan oil. I was able to find the best organic supplier, but he was working only with big corporations around the world. I talked to him about my project and he said knowing your story and you being Moroccan, I’ll support you and give you my product. That’s how everything started. My main goal was to show the American market what is real argan oil.

In addition to argan oil, you’re also known for your prickly pear seed oil.
What’s the story behind that?

In France, they moved from argan to prickly pear seed oil a long time ago, but it was very, very pricey. I said no one would ever buy this because it’s too expensive. For my budget, I wanted to focus on argan. My supplier saw that I had hyperpigmentation on my face, so he gave me a little prickly pear seed oil and it went away—now I don’t have to wear foundation to hide it. That’s what I sell the most, the prickly pear seed oil. And then, slowly, I started to introduce essential oils from where I grew up, like lavender and orange blossom, and now I have over 50.

Kenza International Beauty gives back. Why is that important to you?

I was looking for something that would improve people’s lives, so I decided to make it a social enterprise. The supplier I use works with 200 cooperatives in Morocco, and we also help a small women’s cooperative in the south of Morocco by giving them donations. I give about 10 percent of my net profits to that organization. Additionally, in the U.S., I support several nonprofit organizations with causes like domestic violence and education.

Women in Morocco make these products, people like the idea of having high-quality products at reasonable prices, and then the added value is that we support others. At the same time, women using this natural product get empowered because they see results on their skin and that makes them confident. It’s a full circle—we’re all getting the benefit of all this.

What do you wish everyone knew about argan oil?

They don’t know it’s a pure oil that can be used from head to toe. My mission has been educating people and giving them the oil to try because they were misled. They have been afraid of using oil on their skin, on their body and their face. But once they try it and see it’s non-greasy and penetrates the skin and leaves it soft, silky and glowing, they have big eyes and are super shocked.

How do you use argan oil?

For the face, since all the oils are super concentrated, I always recommend two to three drops and then you rub it on your fingers and spread all over your face, neck, décolleté and finish up with hands, nails and cuticles—you don’t want to wash your hands after that. I have oils for the day and oils for the night.

People are used to body lotion that they have to reapply. When they put on argan oil, they are shocked when they have to put on just a little bit and their skin stays hydrated. The prickly pear seed oil is very good for dry skin, for hyperpigmentation and dark spots, uneven or dull skin—when you don’t have that shine or that glow. It’s more for mature women.

The hair is a different story. I have a hair serum that you can apply, a few drops every day. I also have hair treatments, where you really soak your hair from roots to end, massage, and then wash it. Hair oil is for everybody. You’re never too young to start feeding your hair.

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