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In the Footsteps of the Incas - article from La Presse +

September 18, 2019

Sur les Traces des Incas - article de La Presse + - RUNAK

Article written by Madame Iris Gagnon-Paradis published in La Presse +



The Quebec company Runak's mission is to introduce vegetable oils and precious ingredients from Peru, more particularly from its lush Amazonian forest, in entirely natural products that combine exoticism and benefits.


Of Peruvian origin, Maria Sagastegui arrived in Quebec 12 years ago. Plants and nature have always played an important role in her home. When she was young, she remembers the garden her mother had, where there were multiple varieties of plants such as aloe vera and chamomile. “In Peru, everything natural and fresh is recommended. We treat ourselves a lot with plants,” she explains.

But it was really around 2011 that she began to become interested in the virtues of plants in cosmetic products. At the time, she had fairly severe acne on her chin. “None of the pharmacy products I bought to solve my problem worked, I was desperate. I had heard about the properties of vegetable oils and decided to try them. »


Very quickly, his skin regained its balance. It didn't take much for the woman to become interested in the benefits of plant pharmacology, by enrolling in an online herbalism course. She thus began to use only vegetable oils and to manufacture various products herself.

If there are already several known vegetable oils and butters (shea, argan, coconut), Ms. Sagastegui's interest quickly focuses on oils and other natural ingredients from plants, grains and aboriginal fruits of her country, often used for centuries by local populations. She notes that very few of them are offered in Quebec and are therefore little known. “My idea in founding Runak [in the Inca language, “runa” means “human being” and “k”, backwards, “skin”] is to introduce these vegetable oils from the Peruvian Amazon forest and its mountains, which can really have beneficial effects on the skin,” explains the woman who marketed her first products in 2016.


Free from synthetic and chemical ingredients, parabens and mineral oils, among others, Runak products are all 100% natural. As Ms. Sagastegui only uses raw and pure products – oils, butters, floral waters, clays, grains, essential oils – and no emulsions, her formulations do not require preservatives. She sources her supplies from a large Peruvian supplier, who works with several small communities in the country. The latter controls the production chains, ensuring that raw materials are produced in an artisanal, sustainable, ecological and fair manner.


As more and more consumers turn to natural products, interest in raw materials from around the world is growing. Those, ancestral, of Peruvian nature certainly present interesting characteristics, such as Sacha Inchi oil, also called "grain of the Incas": cultivated in the mountains and consumed by local populations, the plant is rich in fatty acids and helps to calm redness and irritation. Maracuja oil, which comes from passion fruit, helps regulate sebum production, while Brazil nut oil, very moisturizing and protective, will benefit parched skin. Finely ground, quinoa, a grain cultivated for 7,000 years in the Andes, serves as a gentle exfoliant for the skin. “These are all ingredients that have a lot of history, which are good for health, but also for the skin. Many are part of Amazonian beauty rituals,” explains the entrepreneur.


Over the past few weeks, we have tested four products specially selected for our fairly dry skin type, with great satisfaction. The very moisturizing side of the melting balm with Amazonian oils pleased the whole household, with its solid texture which melts easily on contact with the skin and offers much appreciated protection against extreme temperatures. Aguaje oil, very rich in carotenoids and antioxidants, is often used in products used to prolong the tan with its orange tint. Mixed with a serum or another vegetable oil, it brings a nice glow to the skin. Finally, we really liked the quinoa and pink clay exfoliating mask, which gently removes dead skin, leaving the skin soft and soothed.

Runak products are available online and in some points of sale.

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