Krysia Boinis in her happy place, the garden; Kristine Keheley in her happy place, the easel
Originally published on the Free People Blog.
Vapour founders Krysia and Kristine share how they met, inspirations, challenges and what the word "free" means to them with Free People.
Here is an intimate portrait of two women who have been committed to the pursuance of true natural beauty long before it became the trendy thing to do, thanks in part to the magic of Taos, New Mexico (their base) and their beautiful and genuine talent.
Krysia Boinis understands the power of plants and the alchemy of using simple, potent ingredients to create a product that is greater than the sum of its parts.
Kristine Keheley is an established fine artist and sees color as a language with life force. Her masterful blending of natural mineral pigments creates Vapour’s palette of modern, classic Fine Art Infused Color.
Tell us the story of how you (Krysia and Kristine) came to find each other?
Kristine: We’ve been working together since 2000. I began in production for Krysia and her partner’s natural lip balm company. After about a year I became interested in formulating and tapped a natural vein of talent there, by experimenting with our product expansion from natural lip care into cosmetics and skin care. In 2008 Krysia and I began what today is known as Vapour. We collaborate on its vision, always infusing our desire to be both an inclusive and progressive company.
Why pursue natural beauty?
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.
"Lava Falls" by Kristine, oil on canvas; Kristine's paints during a session
How has the city of Taos influenced Vapour?
Krysia: Taos is a natural beauty. 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 is Vapour’s muse and allows me to be expansive and open to innovation. It is a source of inspiration for all of us.
Kristine: It’s a profound place. The light and landscape inspire me daily. The sustainable and creative values of the community are powerful reminders of the high bar we set for ourselves, as well as Vapour’s products.
What aspect of Vapour has proven to be your greatest challenge? What has been your greatest reward?
Krysia: Greatest Challenge: Maintaining balance and a smile in a storm of obstacles.
Greatest Reward: Watching people light up from the inside when they feel beautiful.
Kristine: Challenge: Maintaining product consistency using organic ingredients — the character of the ingredients changes from crop cycle to crop cycle.
Reward: Hearing feedback from women who find beauty in themselves as they see their skin improve.
What’s your company’s mantra?
Krysia: Innovation and Integrity.
Kristine: Quality. We work together to create experiences of quality and integrity.
Krysia applies Vapour during an in-store makeove; Siren Lipstick in Torrid
Fave Vapour product?
Kristine: Atmosphere Luminous Foundation. It’s what started this for me. Atmosphere Luminous fills in fines lines and makes my skin look perfect.
Your spirit animals?
Krysia: Spider. She weaves it all together. Spiders have the extraordinary ability to create webs from the inside out. We have the opportunity to co-create our lives with the intentions, attitudes and actions we bring, as well as the existing situations that we are presented with. Spider guides us to deep integration through her relationship with the spiral, a core symbol of universal energy and the figure eight, represented by spiders shape, a symbol for infinity.
Kristine: My spirit animals are plants: night blooming jasmine, artemisia, vetiver and tuberose.
If you could change ONE thing in this world, what would it be and why?
Krysia: I would open every human heart on the planet. Imagine the possibilities if we were all open-hearted…
Kristine: The treatment of women. Women should feel safe from violence and have greater social and economic opportunities globally.
What does the word free mean to you?
Krysia: Free is a state of being where we are able to be our true selves. To create, express, love and be.
Kristine: Contact with the Universal flow. It manifests as a thriving, soaring joy and creativity.
BY CARRIE at FREE PEOPLE
Krysia ponders her next move in the garden
Originally published at BondEnAvant.com
Whether you’ve made the transition to green beauty or are just dipping in your big toe, Vapour Organic Beauty needs to be on your radar....
We wanted to tap into the essence of this earth goddess brand and reached out to co-founder and CEO of Vapour Beauty, Krysia Boinis, to learn about her morning routine and how she cares for her skin:
“Each morning brings the opportunity to co-create a new day. I say ‘co-create’ because each day is created with the intensions, attitudes and actions we bring, as well as the pre-existing situations that we are presented with.
Upon rising each morning I consciously set an intension for ‘pure clarity’ for the day. To establish this I drink a glass of pure water with lemon juice or ginger (depending on the season). Drinking water, especially warm water, first thing in the morning can help flush the digestive system and rehydrate the body.
I then walk out to the aviary through the vegetable garden to feed the chickens. This daily duty allows me a few precious minutes to be alone with the earthy energy, plants and animals, away from technology and the modern world. I breathe deeply taking in the cool mountain air and ground into the Earth’s energy (Also known as the Schumann Resonance, the Earth’s field has a frequency of ~7.8 Hz). This natural rhythm is also found in the human body and brain. It is inherent to functioning at our most efficient, sustainable and coherent state, and enhances our mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.
I exfoliate about every other day alternating physical exfoliation (Clairsonic) with chemical exfoliation (using natural hydroxyl acids from fruits like papaya), since exfoliation is the first step to fresh and radiant skin.
Then in the palm of my hand I mix a small amount of L-ascorbic acid powder (vitamin C) with a few drops of floral water (right now it’s calendula water from flowers from my garden) and massage it into my skin. Vitamin C degrades quickly when mixed with other ingredients so I prefer to mix it on the spot. And applied topically, it promotes collagen formation, diminishes the effects of free radicals, and helps maintain firm and youthful skin.
Next I apply Vapour’s Essence Restorative Treatment to deeply moisturize, nourish and feed my skin with seventeen of my favorite organic plant oils and algae extracts. Then I use Stratus Skin Perfecting Primer, the bridge between skin care and cosmetics. Stratus further moisturizes and feeds my skin while providing optical skin smoothing and illumination. Last I apply Vapour’s Atmosphere Foundation to even out my skin.
I am ready to take on the challenges of the day when I take the time to set an intension, ground into the Earth and beautify my skin before heading out the door. These simple rituals serve me well and allow me to show up, be present, balanced and ready to ‘co-create’ the day.”
AS TOLD TO BOND EN AVANT BY KRYSIA BOINIS
Autumn has arrived here in the high desert of the Sangre de Christo Mountains and the change of season (though incredibly beautiful) often means the arrival of fussy sensitive skin. Here are my early fall favorites to keep it all in check...
Everything pictured above and listed below (clockwise) is available at Credobeauty.com.
Sans [ceuticals] Nourishing Nair Hydrant Ultra is a weekly evening ritual. I comb a dollop through damp hair and leave on overnight. A morning shower reveals soft nourished locks that can take regular heat styling.
I keep my complexion calm and eliminate the look of redness with Vapour Beauty Stratus Instant Skin Perfecting Primer 902.
Fig + Yarrow Rose/Sandalwood/Neroli Complexion Water is a soothing way to get meetings started in my office. Everyone, male and female, enjoys and seems to benefit from the centering aroma of this misting spray.
I’m really excited about Vapour Beauty Halo Illuminator. I'm having fun 'Strobing' with Halo. I love that being 'on trend' can be this quick and easy, thanks to the stick format.
Red Flower NYC Wild Cherry Blossom Rice Buff gently buffs skin for a super smooth refined texture from neck to toe. And it fills your space with the most divine scent imaginable.
S5 Skincare Resilience Mask Advanced Normalizing Treatment is mask that is extra satisfying since it peels off. I’ve noticed I can boost its effects by layering Vapour Essence Restorative Night Treatment on skin before applying.
Captain Blankenship Anchor Balm. I'm using this on elbows and heels. I love its simple ingredients and how honestly it works.
These luscious products are helping me set the tone for fall and the busy, exciting winter to come. I'm feeling hydrated, exfoliated, alert and nurtured.
Bees are dear to Vapour’s heart: 146 of the 150 products in the Vapour line contain organic beeswax. Beeswax is what gives Vapour stick products form and stability; as Krysia puts it, “Beeswax is the foundation of the foundation.”
Vapour used to buy organic beeswax as close to home as possible, from Canada, but that small family farm lost its certification after Monsanto crops were planted nearby. Certified organic bee products are hard to come by: first, the beekeeper must manage hive and farm without using pesticides or antibiotics of any kind; then they must only use natural practices for harvesting the honey, smoke rather than the often-used fume boards. Nearby farms must also be pesticide-free in order for the bee colony to qualify as organic. Bees collect nectar and pollen in a four-mile radius from their hives. Now Vapour sources its organic beeswax globally based on seasonal availability. Between sourcing and shipping, this ingredient can get pricey, but Vapour’s commitment to organic is unwavering; as Krysia says, “Vapour will never create product without the highest percentage of organic ingredients possible.”
The rapid population decline of honeybees gained attention in 2006 when the disappearance of bees from their colonies was given a new name, Colony Collapse Disorder. Washington, D.C.–based education and policy non-profit Beyond Pesticides first started publicizing the role of pesticides in bee decline years ago and their scientific database has “identified new findings demonstrating that pesticides, especially the neonicotinoid class of insecticides, have sub-lethal and chronic impact on bee behavior, immune system, and colony longevity.”
Buying organic beeswax, although not always easy, is the right thing to do on two counts. One, keeping Vapour products organic is good for you because 60 to 80% of what you put on your skin is absorbed into your body. Mainstream cosmetics can be chock-full of chemicals that are scientifically linked to a host of physical maladies. And two, keeping Vapour products organic is good for the planet. By purchasing organic beeswax, Vapour is supporting bee population health, habitat and, hopefully, longevity. According to Beyond Pesticides website one in three bites of food require pollinators. There could be serious implications for the stability of ecosystems, the economy and our food supply if bee populations continue to decline.
Krysia is looking forward to having her first beehive in her garden next summer. Thanks to her ever-growing garden, she understands and appreciates the job that wild pollinators do. Talking more about pollinating she says, “We don’t think about the pollinators’ roll in the process of growing food because it happens seamlessly; it’s invisible to most of us. Pollinators are the unsung heroes of the food chain.”
Behind the scenes: New shade development and the naming process
As a writer looking through the Vapour canon of beauty, I can’t help but notice the names of the products and shades. Questions like: “What’s in a name?” and “Who names these products and how?” leads me to the doorstep of Vapour Co-Founder and Formulator Kristine Keheley’s Southside loft.
Large abstract paintings recently taken down from a show in a local salon are layered over Kristine’s living room and furniture, gorgeous colors everywhere. We sat on her large comfy couch and she told me about a re-upholstery project she’s been working on for the couch’s pillows; a new color was coming forward.
Kristine has “been an artist forever.” She began showing her work professionally when she was 25 and brings her experience titling paintings to naming Vapour products. About paintings Kristine says, “Titling a painting is an important piece of the communication that I’m having with the viewer. I don't title gratuitously and I’ve never shown an untitled work.”
When titling shades of Vapour or works of art, Kristine finds words with richness and depth, then the “user or viewer has an interpretation of what that word means to them.” Kristine paints about beauty and calls Vapour, for herself and Co-Founder Krysia Boinis, “an act of creative love.”
“There’s a long history in cosmetics of being evocative with names,” Kristine says. Vapour is meant to “coexist in a meaningful way with fashion house brands,” such as Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent. When creating Vapour, she and Krysia want Vapour “to exist in a realm of glamour and poetry.”
While naming shades Kristine is thinking about “weather, romance, sex, love and flirtation.” Light is an important part of Vapour, which is “light on the planet and light on your skin,” but Vapour also creates light; a radiant look.
Take Stratus Skin Perfecting Primer as an example. Stratus is a type of cloud and the word stratus comes from the Latin prefix strato-, meaning layer, which is exactly what the product Stratus is doing. Kristine says, “Stratus is optically blurring. It’s perfecting. It’s kind of a cloud.”
In college, Kristine majored in Greek Archaeology, which inspired the name for the lipstick line: Siren. Sirens were the femme fatales in Greek mythology who lured sailors to a shipwreck with their entrancing music and voices.
Practically speaking, the question “What is the product?” is often answered poetically in the name. Mesmerize for the eye products, Aura for the multi-use color, Solar for the bronzer and Clarity removes make-up while clarifying the skin.
When we get to the names of the shades, Kristine says, it’s “about having fun.” And the most uniting theme for shades is romance and “playing with that idea.” Tease, Purr and Tempt are only a few examples. Mesmerize names speak to the imagination with names such as Nightfall, Smolder and Firefly. Trick Stick Highlighter is named what it does, with Dazzle and Luster, but also what it hopes to be, Star. Marrying the practical with the poetic truly is a gift of Kristine’s, and she’ll tell you, “it’s a dream job,” perhaps both literally and figuratively.