Vegan Cuts

Ruche New Arrivals

Shop Need Supply Co.'s Women's.


Shop Need Supply Co.'s Women's.

The Trend Boutique

Newsletter Sign-up

Holiday Portrait
Christmas Eve
Good Tidings
Holiday Parties

Beauty Review: Kari Gran 

Washing my face with oil? At first I wasn't interested. With long-time acne-prone and sensitive skin, the oil cleansing method that's on the rise in beauty circles didn't appeal to me. I had heard all the stories (myths) about how people with my skintype couldn't use oils. But I was wrong. After discovering the Kari Gran skincare line, I've changed my mind. 

Recently I had a chance to test drive this line using its Cleansing Oil, Essential Serum, Hydrating Tonic, Foundation, and Lip Whip (balm). And I was highly impressed by the whole line. The Cleansing Oil left my skin soft and fresh, while the Essential Serum kept that look going for the whole day long. The Lip Whip is a smooth lip balm that's a must-have and the Foundation is a new approach to mineral makeup: it comes in a powder form and you cleverly mix it with the Essential Serum for a dewy application. (I absolutely love this trick.)

Below is an interview with the founders, Kari Gran and Lisa Strain, who launched the line in 2011. 

How did the Kari Gran skincare line come to be? 

Lisa Strain: Kari battled an autoimmune thyroid disorder that caused her to take a second look at the beauty products she put on her skin. What she found wasn’t pretty.

Most beauty products on the market are full of parabens and toxins, which get into the bloodstream through topical application, and have been linked to very serious diseases and hormone disruption. Kari decided to adopt a natural approach instead, and after trying and failing to find a sexy, luxurious take on “green” beauty products, she set out to create her own.

Kari Gran: Once we decided to make the line a business, I kept perfecting my formulations and pursued several formal education tracks.

Where is the line sold? 

Lisa Strain: Kari Gran products are available for purchase at and at a growing list of boutique retailers. We’re excited to also share that Sephora will be carrying our Peppermint Tinted and Cinnamon Naked Lip Whips starting April 2015.

What is the premise of the line? 

Kari Gran: The Kari Gran line is a unique regimen designed to enhance the skin’s natural beauty and encourage a holistic path to healthy, radiant skin. It is made of all-natural plant and essential oils that gently nourish the skin. Several unique features include: All products are made using only the finest natural, organic, wildharvested and non-GMO ingredients.

All products are free of parabens and toxins. These agents have been linked to serious diseases and are known to act as hormone disruptors. Kari Gran is all natural with ingredients that are good for the body and the endocrine system.

All products contain absolutely no water, ensuring consumers get only pure ingredients for their skin instead of useless filler. Most beauty cleansers and moisturizers on the market count water as their lead ingredient, often up to 80 percent of the product.

Made from scratch, all products include a handwritten expiration date on the bottle.

What about the claims that acne-prone types shouldn't use oils? 

Kari Gran: Although oil-based cleansing is a new approach for many, it has been used by various cultures around the world for centuries. It provides a luxurious alternative to many detergent-based products designed to strip oil from the skin without replenishing it—succeeding only to signal the skin to make more oil.

Oil-based cleansing operates on the principle that “like attracts like.” Applying healthy, plant-based oil on the skin and steaming it away draws out grimy oils from within, while still maintaining the skin’s natural balance for soft and supple results. Another thing to note is that our products are not made from mineral oils or petroleum products which suffocate skin and clog pores—beauty products with these ingredients are never a good idea.

Can you tell us about some of the key products in the line?

Cleansing Oil: The Cleansing Oil contains a blend of natural ingredients formulated to deep clean while balancing the skin’s natural oil production. 

Hydrating Tonic: The refreshing Hydrating Tonic is a simple blend of soothing ingredients and, unlike traditional toners, contains no alcohol that strips and dries out skin. 

Essential Serum: The Essential Serum is a potent blend of 15 plant and essential oils known for their nourishing properties, plus a boost of natural Vitamin E, providing customizable levels of moisture to the skin. 

Lip Whip: A perfect everyday lip balm that complements the Kari Gran skin care system, the Lip Whip contains a soothing combination of ingredients. 

Foundation: Our lightweight mineral makeup provides long lasting, light reflecting coverage while allowing the skin to breathe. 

Mineral Blush: Our Peony mineral blush is a sheer, universally flattering shade suitable for all skin tones.

Setting Powder: Setting Powder is an essential product for every woman at any age. It extends the life of any foundation throughout the day and prevents smudging. 

Find Kari Gran products and learn more about the line at


Merry and Bright Wishlist

I’ll admit it: After I had kids I put my focus on my children, not on myself. Now that my kids are no longer infants, I can start putting effort into myself again. In an attempt to do that, here are a few wishes on my holiday list. I hope they might prove inspirational for your gift list as well if you're a bit stumped.

Clockwise from top left: Ankle boots are always in style. For years my favorites have been Swedish Hasbeens. A gorgeous tote from Anthropologie in metallic leather by Hayden and Harnett will hold everything and then some. These bobby pins are grown up and still hold my hair back. I like to cook, so these copper measuring cups are the perfect blend of form and function. And amazing skin is always on my wishlist with SK-II's Essential Power cream a must.


Holiday Boutique

Did you know that The Penny Rose has its own boutique that you can shop directly from? We have this boutique up all year long and it's constantly changing to offer our new, favorite things. Right now, we have our holiday wish list up. Check it out below.


Maker Spotlight: Urb Apothecary

The Penny Rose • Maker Spotlight • Urb Apothecary from The Penny Rose on Vimeo.

In this month's video series by filmmaker Deva Blaisdell-Anderson, we highlight the cool eco-beauty brand Urb Apothecary, based in Santa Cruz, Calif. Get to know the story behind this beloved line and why everyone's talking about it.


Holiday Gift Pick: Kai Reed Diffuser

A friend said, "It smells like your perfume in here," when she passed through my studio. Mission: accomplished. This year I discovered my go-to scent—Kai Fragrance, which is reminiscent of a bundle of gardenias. The perfume is a constant talking piece among friends and strangers who will literally stop me where I am and ask what I'm wearing. It's a delicate, fine scent, not at all over-powering, but absolutely beautiful. 

So, when I found out that the line was offering a new reed diffuser for the home, I was smitten. I had to try it out. Selling for $78, it's well worth the price. It gently deposits a light Kai fragrance into your home, which is an idea I can really celebrate. 

We're recommending it as one of our favorite gift items for the holidays and you can purchase it here