Talks with Ethical and Organic, INKA Botanicals
Meet Hourea Alaoui, co-founder of Inka Botanicals.
What is the meaning behind “Inka Botanicals”?
A lot of people ask us what INKA means, we get that it’s a bit confusing as it can be associated with the Incas, but it’s actually Moroccan! After weeks of thinking about a name and trialling different options, we stumbled upon the Berber word INKA. We are not Berber ourselves, but the Berber people are the indigenous people of Morocco and we owe much of the Moroccan beauty traditions to them. Pronounced /inqe/ and meaning ‘clean’ and ‘pure’, we knew it was a perfect match for our clean beauty brand!
What inspired you to create an organic beauty line?
INKA is born from a desire to create a truly Moroccan brand. With our home country being internationally famed for its beauty and wellbeing practices (from Hammams and spas, to the use of oils and natural remedies in every day life, etc.) many brands have leveraged the term ‘Moroccan’ as a marketing tool without honoring the authenticity of the ingredients nor the culture. Even more fascinating is the richness of Moroccan soil, home to thousands of aromatic plants, most of which are exported for large global beauty brands - some of which only grow in Morocco, namely, the famous Argan oil. With such natural riches and cultural heritage, our vision is to be ambassadors of Morocco's traditional know-how in beauty & wellbeing. It starts with the founders, three Moroccan sisters from Marrakech, passionately working with local communities to source and produce every ingredient.
In the cosmetic industry, what is the importance of ethical beauty and clean living today?
We’re firm believers that all brands today, small or large, no matter the industry, have a responsibility towards the planet and its people. We’re all very much aware of the damage we have caused to planet earth - changes needs to happen yesterday! Beyond that, conscious consumption and clean living has a positive impact on our bodies and wellbeing as well - it covers everything, what you wear, what you put in your skin and what you ingest into your body. We operate with ethics and sustainability at the core of everything we do, from sourcing ingredients ethically to using glass packaging and avoiding unnecessary packaging. We are also working on offering a refill option, allowing our customers to re-use their beautiful glass bottles over and over again!
Could you tell us about your morning beauty routine vs. your nightly routine?
We love using most of our products at night or on a lazy Sunday afternoon, when we have time to fully indulge - often with incense burning in the background and relaxing music playing.. it is the perfect way to unwind and treat oneself. There are also scientific reasons behind it, during sleep your skin gets the most benefits out of the ingredients and concoctions, resulting in a youthful, glowing skin the next morning. It also really helps that we sleep on silk pillowcases. Life changing! What most people don’t realize is that silk absorbs significantly less water than cotton, this helps the skin retain its moisture and hydration, but also helps get the most out of your skincare products which would otherwise be absorbed by your cotton pillowcases.
My morning routine is more efficient, as I’m usually in a bit of a rush. I focus on the essentials: cleansing, toning and moisturizing with SPF. A spritz of Marmalade Mist to kick off the day in full vitamin C swing never fails!
Do you find sleep to be of importance for you & your skin?
YES, YES and absolutely YES! Beauty sleep is real!
When it comes to beautiful and healthy skin, getting the right amount of sleep is absolutely essential. Your body repairs itself and recovers while you sleep. We swear by a a minimum of 7 to 8 hours per night. Anything less and we notice it straight away the next day! It’s fairly simple and scientific: lack of sleep results in the production of the stress hormone, cortisol, causing inflammation of the skin and cells, and increasing chances of acne and skin irritation. Increased levels of cortisol also lead to the breakdown of collagen and hyaluronic acid which as you all know are the molecules for bouncy, glowing skin!
What is your favorite way to relax before bed?
Being an indie brand founder, I naturally spend a lot of time on my laptop and phone. Therefore, my sleep preparation starts 2 hours before bedtime, by switching offline and limiting screen time. Without fail, I dim down the lights and light an aromatherapy candle, and drink an entire pot of herbal tea to which I usually add a spoon of honey and some glowbar adaptogen powders. Just before going to bed I do my INKA PM routine, making sure to deeply inhale the aromas, to help prepare my mind for a good night’s sleep, and finally slip into my silk pyjamas, silk eye mask and silk bedding.. Yes, silk everything!
What other factors are important in order to have glowing, blissful skin?
Once you’ve covered your beauty routine basics and gotten enough sleep, make sure to drink lots of water! And then don’t forget to do what makes you happy, we are firm believers of beauty from within, happiness equates into positive and good chemicals and those are essential for healthy and glowy skin.
During the spring and summer months, what is your favorite beauty product to use?
Our floral mists! they can be used in the morning and evening as natural toners, but also throughout the day for that perfect feeling of freshness. We’re obsessed!
Talk about the Moroccan influence of your products. Our products are all inspired by beauty traditions which have been used and practiced by the women of Morocco for centuries. We combine years of scientific research with traditional aromatherapy, to bring you Morocco's best beauty secrets, in an elevated and therapeutic skincare range that does wonders for both the skin and the mind.
What is a daily activity for your day-to-day happiness that you do?
Meditation and spending time with loved ones. My sisters and I also love having people over and indulging in some homy Moroccan food! It’s all about doing activities that help your brain produce good chemicals.
You can shop INKA products here or find them on Instagram at @inka_botanicals.