One of the first words I see on the Vapour website, Instagram and Facebook is PURITY. So I met up with Vapour Co-Founder, Krysia Boinis, on the topic of purity. I had a hunch that she, like me, could dork out on cleanness, clarity and most likely, purity. We’ve talked together about health food, cleansing, and one time Krysia brought filtered water when I had her over for dinner. I totally understood, she has a super WaterWise purifier that distills her drinking water clean. Truth be told, I’m a little jealous.
I read Krysia the definition I found for PURITY: ‘freedom from adulteration or contamination.’
“I love that it has the word ‘freedom’ in it,” she said. “Purity in context for Vapour includes transparency,” she continued, “And an openness to growth and change.” She spoke about Vapour’s commitment to self-education, and to educating consumers. Vapour is committed to doing right by their consumers and by the planet.
The integrity of that commitment has earned Vapour the 'Champion' Safety status classification from the Environmental Working Group and Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. As Krysia explains, this is “the highest standard for safety, non-toxicity and purity, for cosmetics.”
With the exception of Mesmerize eyeliner and the in-the-works mascara, all Vapour products are made in the USA, right here in Taos, in the room next to Krysia’s office. “That means that we have hands-on participation and control over raw ingredients and their authenticity, integrity and purity,” says Krysia. “We know where our ingredients are sourced, and how they’re grown and handled. We have relationships with farmers that grow some of the raw ingredients. We know we’re using the highest quality because we are hands-on.”
The manufacturing process at Vapour is designed to make use of every drop of their mixed ingredients. Krysia showed me the Flood Fill System in the factory. Lipstick, for example, is a hot liquid at first. The liquid gets poured into a tray (like water into an ice cube tray) where it will become solid and shaped like lipstick. After the tray gets filled, the technician scrapes away the excess with a rubber tool and replaces it into the vat up top before the next tray gets filled, thus nothing goes to waste.
This philosophy of resourcefulness spreads into many choices Vapour makes. Here in Taos, “We have many, many days of glorious sunlight,” Krysia reports, "and we take advantage of it by using passive solar power at Vapour headquarters.” Most of the light on the manufacturing floor, offices and warehouse is provided by skylights.
“We also purchase wind-power from our electric company.” Krysia explains, “A certain percentage of the power they provide to their customers is not created by coal, it’s created by wind. We have to pay extra to purchase the wind power and we do because it’s more sustainable and it’s not burning a natural resource.”
Vapour packaging is made from recycled material and is recyclable. Most of the Vapour line is in aluminum sticks, which is very much on purpose. “Aluminum is the most recycled and the most recyclable material on the planet. Aluminum can be used again and again to make a Vapour stick; it doesn’t degrade through the recycling process like plastic,” Krysia points out.
In some cases, Vapour can’t even market the good choices being made for the environment. Vapour unit box paperboard is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council which means the boxes are made from a managed forest: trees specifically grown and harvested for paper making. At the time of harvest, more trees are planted, making the paper totally sustainable. Companies like Vapour who use FSC certified paper get to put a symbol from the FSC on their product. The symbol is huge, “it takes up half of one panel on a lipstick box,” Krysia says, and a smaller version of it isn’t available. “So we’re not able to advertise it, but we’re making the right choice regardless of the marketing opportunity.” She pauses briefly and adds, “I think that says something about us.” Me too.
Krysia and I joke a little bit about recycling here in Taos, “We recycle and REUSE packing material,” she says, “we deal with all the material that enters the factory, even it’s just from someone’s lunch.” Here in Taos, there’s no curbside pick-up for recycling, you gotta work for it, which looks like driving all of your recyclable materials over to the local recycling center and then sorting it yourself.
I can’t help but think of freedom and how tickled Krysia was to find that word in the definition of purity. When you’re doing the best you can and making ethical and sustainable choices, it comes with freedom, there’s nothing to hide.