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Taos: Vapour Beauty's Wonderland
By Official Vapour Blog
Vapour Blog

Krysia stands high above the Rio Grand Gorge during a spectacular sunrise

Originally published on the Free People Blog.

Art and alchemy merge in Taos, NM, where founders Krysia Boinis and Kristine Keheley create Vapour Beauty.  A muse for infinite creativity, Taos has a light and energy all its own that inspires Vapour’s unique formulas. Living close to the elements and being surrounded by the magic of Taos allows us to connect with authentic beauty, both inside and out.

The natural landscape of Taos is both rugged and vast. High-desert mesas and the deep Rio Grande gorge contrast with the jutting mountains and rushing waters. The expansive sky and crystalline light wrap around it all to influence everything and everyone here.

Every mile of land here is saturated with human story. Tiwa-speaking Pueblo Natives have tended the spirit of this place for thousands of years. Some Hispanic families here trace their roots back to the conquistadors who arrived long before the United States existed. ‘Anglos’ first arrived as mountain men, outlaws and adventurers. Taos’ rich history of ancient and multicultural traditions mingling with inventors, free thinkers and artists, results in a distinct creative atmosphere.

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The Milky Way in the Taos night sky; Kristine’s “Cloudbreak”, oil on canvas

Kristine says the movement of weather across sky and landscape has always influenced her painting. “It is a very unconventional and free-thinking person that thrives in Taos. Because of the land, because we know that it’s more powerful than we are. People here really accept that as part of their daily life. It’s important to live a sustainable life here, because of how close we are to the land.”

Taos invites spiritual revelation — the energy here is stimulating, catalytic and awakens clarity. The rugged landscape teaches us that we can thrive in any condition, but only with a willingness and ability to adapt. We think differently when we can see the vast horizon line. It literally opens up new pathways in the brain and allows for expansive ideas and new solutions.

“At the end of the workday I sit outside, become still and expand my awareness to the sky,” says Krysia. “I find that staring out at the blue sky, beyond the clouds and weather, clears all mental activity of the day. It brings a quiet, clear, open state of being. I have been ‘sky gazing’ for over twenty years in Taos and just recently learned that it is a formal Tibetan practice from the meditation tradition of Dzogchen, which aims to cultivate resting the mind in a natural state, free from conceptual elaborations. Wow.”

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The view of the Rio Grande Gorge that greets residents and visitors arriving from the south

Krysia says that Taos empowers us to be unconventional and true to ourselves. “It encourages us to listen to our intuition and trust our inner sense of direction. We are out here on the land, in the elements, steeping in the creativity of the Earth herself, and Vapour is a tangible reflection of this.”

“The magical mix that makes Taos Taos, also makes Vapour different from any other brand.” Kristine sums it up, “It’s a little bit pioneer, a little bit outlaw, a little bit adventurer and a lot of art. I think we’re very much of this place.”


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Categories: Science + Lore
Meet the Founders: Krysia and Kristine
By Official Vapour Blog
Vapour Blog

Krysia Boinis in her happy place, the garden; Kristine Keheley in her happy place, the easel

Originally published on the Free People Blog.

Vapour founders Krysia and Kristine share how they met, inspirations, challenges and what the word "free" means to them with Free People.

Here is an intimate portrait of two women who have been committed to the pursuance of true natural beauty long before it became the trendy thing to do, thanks in part to the magic of Taos, New Mexico (their base) and their beautiful and genuine talent.

Krysia Boinis understands the power of plants and the alchemy of using simple, potent ingredients to create a product that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Kristine Keheley is an established fine artist and sees color as a language with life force. Her masterful blending of natural mineral pigments creates Vapour’s palette of modern, classic Fine Art Infused Color.

Tell us the story of how you (Krysia and Kristine) came to find each other? 

Kristine: We’ve been working together since 2000. I began in production for Krysia and her partner’s natural lip balm company. After about a year I became interested in formulating and tapped a natural vein of talent there, by experimenting with our product expansion from natural lip care into cosmetics and skin care. In 2008 Krysia and I began what today is known as Vapour. We collaborate on its vision, always infusing our desire to be both an inclusive and progressive company.

Why pursue natural beauty?  

Krysia: Natural beauty is an intangible quality, a state of being that radiates from within. It’s worth pursuing because it’s authentic and it can’t be contained. I’m drawn to cultivate it inside and out with mindful choices and practices, and Vapour is one way I’m able to share it with others.

Kristine: The world benefits from a shift toward organic farming. That reasoning is based on environmental common sense and also a respect for the healing power of plants. The ingredients can be challenging to work with but that effort translates into a soulful creative vibe in all Vapour products.

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"Lava Falls" by Kristine, oil on canvas; Kristine's paints during a session

How has the city of Taos influenced Vapour?

Krysia: Taos is a natural beauty. There is a unique energy and light here. The sky itself is intoxicating. Taos also has a rich history of ancient and multicultural traditions that mingle with inventors, free-thinkers and artists. The result is a creative atmosphere with soulful depth, natural beauty and a sense of place and time. Taos is Vapour’s muse and allows me to be expansive and open to innovation. It is a source of inspiration for all of us.

Kristine: It’s a profound place. The light and landscape inspire me daily. The sustainable and creative values of the community are powerful reminders of the high bar we set for ourselves, as well as Vapour’s products.

What aspect of Vapour has proven to be your greatest challenge? What has been your greatest reward? 

Krysia: Greatest Challenge: Maintaining balance and a smile in a storm of obstacles.

Greatest Reward: Watching people light up from the inside when they feel beautiful.

Kristine: Challenge: Maintaining product consistency using organic ingredients — the character of the ingredients changes from crop cycle to crop cycle.

Reward: Hearing feedback from women who find beauty in themselves as they see their skin improve.

What’s your company’s mantra? 

Krysia: Innovation and Integrity.

Kristine: Quality. We work together to create experiences of quality and integrity.

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Krysia applies Vapour during an in-store makeove; Siren Lipstick in Torrid

Fave Vapour product? 

Krysia: Essence Restorative Night Treatment + Stratus Skin Perfecting Primer Atmosphere Foundation = my best skin. I love all three.

Kristine: Atmosphere Luminous Foundation. It’s what started this for me. Atmosphere Luminous fills in fines lines and makes my skin look perfect.

Your spirit animals? 

Krysia: Spider. She weaves it all together. Spiders have the extraordinary ability to create webs from the inside out. We have the opportunity to co-create our lives with the intentions, attitudes and actions we bring, as well as the existing situations that we are presented with. Spider guides us to deep integration through her relationship with the spiral, a core symbol of universal energy and the figure eight, represented by spiders shape, a symbol for infinity.

Kristine: My spirit animals are plants: night blooming jasmine, artemisia, vetiver and tuberose.

If you could change ONE thing in this world, what would it be and why? 

Krysia: I would open every human heart on the planet. Imagine the possibilities if we were all open-hearted…

Kristine: The treatment of women. Women should feel safe from violence and have greater social and economic opportunities globally.

What does the word free mean to you? 

Krysia: Free is a state of being where we are able to be our true selves. To create, express, love and be.

Kristine: Contact with the Universal flow. It manifests as a thriving, soaring joy and creativity.


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Categories: Science + Lore
What's In A Name: How Vapour Shade Names Are Born
By Ashleigh Beyer, Vapour BlogGirl
Vapour Blog

Behind the scenes: New shade development and the naming process

As a writer looking through the Vapour canon of beauty, I can’t help but notice the names of the products and shades. Questions like: “What’s in a name?” and “Who names these products and how?” leads me to the doorstep of Vapour Co-Founder and Formulator Kristine Keheley’s Southside loft.

Large abstract paintings recently taken down from a show in a local salon are layered over Kristine’s living room and furniture, gorgeous colors everywhere. We sat on her large comfy couch and she told me about a re-upholstery project she’s been working on for the couch’s pillows; a new color was coming forward.

Kristine has “been an artist forever.” She began showing her work professionally when she was 25 and brings her experience titling paintings to naming Vapour products. About paintings Kristine says, “Titling a painting is an important piece of the communication that I’m having with the viewer. I don't title gratuitously and I’ve never shown an untitled work.”

When titling shades of Vapour or works of art, Kristine finds words with richness and depth, then the “user or viewer has an interpretation of what that word means to them.” Kristine paints about beauty and calls Vapour, for herself and Co-Founder Krysia Boinis, “an act of creative love.”

“There’s a long history in cosmetics of being evocative with names,” Kristine says. Vapour is meant to “coexist in a meaningful way with fashion house brands,” such as Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent. When creating Vapour, she and Krysia want Vapour “to exist in a realm of glamour and poetry.”

While naming shades Kristine is thinking about “weather, romance, sex, love and flirtation.” Light is an important part of Vapour, which is “light on the planet and light on your skin,” but Vapour also creates light; a radiant look.

Take Stratus Skin Perfecting Primer as an example. Stratus is a type of cloud and the word stratus comes from the Latin prefix strato-, meaning layer, which is exactly what the product Stratus is doing. Kristine says, “Stratus is optically blurring. It’s perfecting. It’s kind of a cloud.” 

In college, Kristine majored in Greek Archaeology, which inspired the name for the lipstick line: Siren. Sirens were the femme fatales in Greek mythology who lured sailors to a shipwreck with their entrancing music and voices.

Practically speaking, the question “What is the product?” is often answered poetically in the name. Mesmerize for the eye products, Aura for the multi-use color, Solar for the bronzer and Clarity removes make-up while clarifying the skin.

When we get to the names of the shades, Kristine says, it’s “about having fun.” And the most uniting theme for shades is romance and “playing with that idea.” Tease, Purr and Tempt are only a few examples. Mesmerize names speak to the imagination with names such as Nightfall, Smolder and Firefly. Trick Stick Highlighter is named what it does, with Dazzle and Luster, but also what it hopes to be, Star. Marrying the practical with the poetic truly is a gift of Kristine’s, and she’ll tell you, “it’s a dream job,” perhaps both literally and figuratively.


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Categories: Science + Lore
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