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Kari Gran: Exclusive One-On-One

Our very own Regina Plaza chats with the founder and skincare guru!

With a tagline like "skincare as simple as it should be" it's no surprise that our values are so well aligned with those of skincare brand Kari Gran. We adore their products and admire their approach so it's an amazing added bonus that we adore and admire the woman behind them just as much. Our very own COO Regina Plaza has formed a friendship with Kari from hopping around industry events together and recently had the pleasure of chatting with her for an exclusive one-on-one for the EVOLVher Journal. From her skincare secrets and favorite "skin-loving" foods, to her travel and positivity tips, Regina got the scoop so we could all learn from this skincare guru that's always accessorized with dewy skin and an infectious smile. Read on and you're sure to be smiling and glowing too! 

Your skin always looks so dewy and beautiful! You have to let us in on your secret(s) - what skincare tips do you absolutely swear by? What products do you use that we just have to know about?

Well, you are too kind and thank you! My skincare tips are pretty easy to follow, I’ve given up on the 6-step system long ago. I believe the foundation of healthy skin (and more importantly a healthy skin barrier) is to cleanse, hydrate, protect with SPF and go on with your life. I use our line, it’s really the only thing I’ve used since 2011 and there’s a bit of freedom in finding something that works and sticking with it. Prior to actually having a line, I was always on to the next shiny object when it came to skincare, but generally feeling a bit let down. Classic overpromise and underdeliver going on.  Once my skin was well hydrated, I felt like I didn’t need to keep switching things up. We have a Cleansing Oil, Hydrating Tonic, Essential Serum (or balm form) and an SPF. That’s it.   

On the topic of skincare - based off of your blog posts, it looks like you are a strong believer in not only taking care of your skin from the outside, but from the inside as well. What are a few of your favorite "skin-loving" foods to eat? 

Oh, I love anything that’s got EFA’s (essential fatty acids) like salmon, walnuts and chia - given that the body doesn’t naturally produce them. It’s like moisturizing from the inside out. Healthy fats like avocado and olive oil are also on my favorites list. Did you know that cooking your vegetables with a bit of healthy oil actually helps with the absorption of the fat soluble vitamins like A, D and E?  Plus, they taste better. I'm also a big fan of organic berries (frozen year round when they aren’t in season) and nut butters.

The traveling process is such an ordeal for most of us - as a brand founder, it’s safe to assume that you must do a lot of it! Can you share with us your favorite “tried and true” travel tips that minimize traveling stress for you?

That is such a good question and if I’m being honest, I’m still figuring it out. You would think I’ve learned my lesson by now, but I haven’t. I’m a picky eater so I always travel with tins of oysters and sardines. Not EVER going to open them on an airplane, but they are great pinch-hitters for breakfast if I’m in a hotel that has no mini fridge or limited food options. I also always find a place to pick up some water for my hotel room. Small containers of bottled water just feel so wasteful so I’ll grab a gallon at a grocery or drugstore. I’ve even found gallons at gas stations/mini marts. Staying properly hydrated is key. I also like having collagen powder mixed into my morning coffee (I really love a good dark roast coffee and organic is important so I travel with my own French press and coffee, totally makes my morning a little easier).  Lastly, earplugs and a good eye-mask have allowed me to fall asleep anywhere I go.

We've heard Kari Gran products referred to as "The Little Black Dress of Eco-Skin Care" (this is so cute!). Can you tell us what this means for you and the brand?  

The idea of a LBD to me is that it’s a go-to, a basic that you can always use in your wardrobe. That’s where this line came from. I feel like the line is a go-to that I just know will always work.

One thing we've always noticed about you is your infectious smile! What is some advice you can share about staying positive and smiling through life stresses and busy schedules? 

Who wants to hang around a cranky, grumpy person? Not me. Perhaps hanging out with you at events brings out the best in me! My goal is to bring my best self to any situation. I wish I could say I always do, sometimes I have an off day, but I try.

Imagine, you only have 5 minutes to do your makeup - what steps/products do you HAVE to squeeze in to feel human? 

You are asking someone who used to spend a solid 45 minutes doing her hair and makeup, granted that was many, many years ago (like 30!). Most days now I have about 5 minutes so I moisturize, mix mineral foundation powder into my SPF to save a step, apply blush, eyebrow pencil as I’m challenged in that department due to my thyroid issues, mascara, and some lip balm. I can do that easily in 5 minutes.

Formulating products has got to be such a fun and fulfilling experience! Where and how do you find inspiration when you’re creating something? When it comes to narrowing down the look, feel, scent, and everything in between - what does that process for inspiration look like for you? 

Formulating is fun. I don’t do as much of it as I’d like given we have such an edited assortment, but I generally take as much inspiration as I can from an experience I’ve had while traveling or just seeing something in my day to day existence. The fun thing is that you really never know when the inspiration is going to hit..

What has been the most rewarding aspect of founding your own brand and sharing it with the world? 

I love interacting with people and sharing information. I really feel like knowledge is power and people are really hungry for good information these days. 

How great is it that you get to work with your friend, Lisa! What fun things do you like to do together when you're not working or focusing on the business?

One thing we love doing is listening to live music. Lisa is a die hard Rolling Stones fan and so is her husband. Luckily, my husband and I are fans as well. It’s fun to have something we can all share in, since our work schedules are pretty demanding and the days of not working and doing all things business can be a bit few and far between. We’ve seen some pretty great shows!

How about when life quiets down and you have some “me time.” What do you like to do? What are some of your favorite products to use for pampering yourself? 

I’m a bit of an introvert and downtime is really good for recharging my batteries. Baths are my absolute favorite me time and I multi-task by getting some meditation in. I switch up the salts from Epsom to Magnesium to Himalayan Pink and add some of our Body and Bath Oil for scent. I also love watching RuPaul’s Drag Race, it’s my happy place.

Which products would you recommend to someone who is new to Kari Gran and why? 

Easy question because we don’t have a lot of products! Our mini kit is a great way to try our line out for a few weeks. Remember that “Cleanse, Hydrate, Protect and Go” I mentioned earlier. I think once you’ve experienced skin that’s hydrated, it’s hard to go back.  

Last but not least, what can we expect from Kari Gran in 2020? Anything juicy you can tease us with? 

I was actually just dropping some ideas on our team before this email showed up. I’m hoping to have something new this fall and it’s in the super early stages. I’d tell you more if I had more to offer! How’s that for a tease?  I only add something new to the skin/lip lineup if I feel like it’s missing and I would want to use it. So, stay tuned! | @karigranskin