BEHIND THE SCENES WITH KRYSIA + KRISTINE FOUNDERS OF VAPOUR ORGANIC BEAUTY
Painting faces is more than a vain pursuit, but not until meeting Krysia Boinis and Kristine Keheley, the co-founders of Vapour Organic Beauty, did I fully appreciate the transformative power of makeup. Much more than just a “cover up”, the pure and organic makeup from Vapour is as much about creating the right foundation shade as it is a steadfast mission to enhance your best self, inside and out. Kristine and Krysia understand the importance of healing botanicals and utilize plant essences for both naturally infused color and skin nourishing benefits. Together, they bring depths of experience in the fields of fine art, gardening, and cosmetic formulation. Paired with their divine intuition, the duo draws inspiration from their mountainous surrounding in Taos, New Mexico, where Vapour Organic Beauty was built.
While many brands work with cosmetic laboratories to achieve a specific consistency and arrive at a perfect shade, Vapour manufactures all of their products in their own facility. This has given them full reign to experiment with both color and ingredients, empowering the line to become the gold standard of healthy, holistic makeup. With ingredients like wild-crafted Holy Basil and Lotus Leaf in their top-selling Aura Multi-Use Blush and Organic Pumpkin Seed Oil, Papaya and Tomato Leaf extracts in their Hero product, Stratus Instant Skin Perfector, it’s clear that Vapour’s formulas don’t only look good on your skin, but deliver healthy skin benefits, too.
I recently sat down with Krysia and Kristine and our conversation evolved my understanding of what makeup can and should be. I’m honored to introduce the Beauty Heroes community to two visionaries who have a deep-rooted desire to create a healthy color line that delivers radiant skin, inside and out.
What inspired you to create your brand?
Kristine Keheley: It’s ‘personal’ and ‘universal’ at the same time. Personally, I wanted a foundation that wasn’t full of chemicals. Krysia and I had already developed a couple lines of private label natural cosmetics so the move to an organic mission was a logical step. We had to “wait” until more organic ingredients became available, and that all started revving up with our vendors around 2008. The ‘universal’ was a deep understanding that Krysia and I shared. We knew instinctively without any reservations that our peers wanted the same kind of clean organic products we wanted for ourselves.
How did you learn the art of formulating?
KK: Pretty unconventionally. My personal history and sensory gifts came into alignment. I have a deep background in making art and mixing colors. I’ve identified as an artist since I was two years old and I’ve been exhibiting as a professional fine artist since I was 25. Along the way, I also had a very fortunate decade-long education in fine wine. It was then that I learned I have a nose. Transitioning to natural skincare was a wonderful opportunity for me to join color and scent with my fascination for experimentation and process. It took many years of getting to know the natural and organic ingredients and trying out ideas. I am a creative risk taker and I’ve discovered a lot that way.
When it’s time to create/develop a new product, what is your process?
KK: Different product types call upon different approaches and skills. If it’s a new shade, it’s very instinctive and immediate. I get a vision of a color and then work with the pigment percentages until I reach that shade. With new products, it’s a little different. I think of the texture and consistency first, then regarding performance, I do some research but I also allow room for instinct about which plants speak to the specific benefits and needs of the product.
What’s been your biggest discovery in terms of the creative process?
KK: Creativity has been my playmate since I was a small child. Exploring it, stretching it, being frustrated, and coming through to the other side with something glowing and gorgeous, that is the process. To truly dive into creativity takes courage and faith. Making art has been my spiritual path and from it I have learned many lessons. Right now I would say the dominating discovery is Trust in the Creative. It’s the massively powerful force of the Universe. In painting and in formulating I trust that universal force to guide me, and then I rely on my experience to focus each decision.
Do you have a favorite ingredient? What do you love about it?
KK: Anything Organic. But primarily Organic Beeswax. It’s amazing in its skin benefits and its ability to transform texture. I also deeply appreciate working with organic beeswax since using it helps protect critical bee populations. Supporting organic farming globally is so important to the health of all species.
KK: We source ingredients with reputable vendors who can provide organic certificates and a host of other international regulatory documents. For sustainability and to ensure an ethical supply chain, we vet each vendor and ingredient. We source globally so it’s vital to keep up with international news about weather, especially droughts, and often tribal or political issues.
Do you have a mantra? Tell us how this came to represent your brand.
Krysia Boinis: “May I be light” is my focus. I believe what we cultivate on the inside is naturally reflected on the outside. Vapour perfectly embodies this concept. Vapour’s insides (ingredients) are pure, wholesome and organic and the effect of Vapour on the outside (skin) is gently light-reflective glow.
What’s your workspace like, and can you tell us a little bit about your team?
KB: Historically Taos has attracted artists, pioneers, and renegades. Our team represents this diversity. We are architects, healers, mathematicians, moms, fishermen, musicians, artists, and yogis. The diversity of our team brings vitality and creativity to every aspect of Vapour.
Our offices, lab, and warehouse are all under one roof, which allows for efficient communication. We can come up with an idea in marketing one minute and run over to production to see if the timeline is feasible the next. This nimbleness is one of my favorite aspects of being a small brand. It allows us to act on ideas in real time and bring real innovation to our audience.
Do you have a creative muse?
KB: Yes. Taos, New Mexico is my ever-present inspiration and muse. I am grateful that Taos allows me to make my home here under its big sky’s, crystalline light, wide mesas, majestic mountains, deep gorge and rushing waters. Taos’ ancient and mystical history and its expansive possibilities for the future inspire me every day.
Do you collect anything?
KB: I used to collect many things: tribal textiles, old mirrors, books, vintage dishes…even cars. But after ten years of illness overcoming Lyme disease and two rounds of breast cancer, I confronted my own death and became free…well, free-er. I began the practice of purging possessions. I found that with each object I eliminated my lightness of being increased. My goal is for each object that is allowed to stay in my home to be both beautiful in its own right and serve a functional purpose.
Where might we run into you on a Sunday morning?
KB: You will find me outside. I might be in my vegetable garden tending herbs or picking berries. Or maybe you will find me hiking or skiing on Taos Mountain. For me, being in nature restores what the technical world depletes.
How do you relax?
KB: I have always loved to play in the kitchen. Growing up I DYI-ed my own edible and topical elixirs, including makeup. My mom let me use anything in the kitchen except what was under the kitchen sink. A powerful idea was planted: food is what you eat and what you put on your skin. So today I like to unwind by creating food, tonics and beauty treatments from my garden harvest.
What is your vision for the future of your brand?
KK and KB: We are committed to staying true to our vision. Our aim is that Vapour products continue to set the highest standard for pure and elegant natural products.
TAGS: behind the scenes, natural beauty, organic skincare, vapour beauty