Posts Tagged ‘Community Fair Trade’

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Argan oil is a very big deal. It’s also an extremely precious oil. Not only because it’s been used for centuries in protecting and nourishing skin and hair, but because the argan tree only thrives naturally in the foothills of the Atlas mountains of Morocco and it takes a colossal amount of argan nuts to make a small bottle of oil.  I forget how many but it is A LOT. You will never find 100% pure argan oil in shops (it will cost too much for a start) and organic, natural argan oil is a bit whiffy too.

I know everyone and their mother has been jumping on the argan oil bandwagon but the Body Shop is an exception with their new Wild Argan Oil* Bath and Bodycare range. I would go as far as to say it’s my favourite from them. And I know I said this about Honeymania and the Gingerbread one but honestly, this one is the bomb.

There are a eight products in the collection and I’m sure you’ll want them all:

♥ Body Butter (200ml/£13)
♥ The Radiant Oil (150ml/£14)
♥ Bubbling Bath (250ml/£8)
♥ Rough Scrub (200ml/£13)
♥ Body Lotion  (250ml/£8)
♥ Shower Gel (250ml/£4)
♥ Miracle Solid Oil (50g/£8)
♥ Solid Oil Lips (20g/£4)

I got my hands on the Radiant Oil, the Body Butter, the Rough Scrub and the Miracle Solid Oil. The Radiant Oil is one I’ve been reaching for frequently, spraying it on my legs to give them a nice sheen but not in a shiny way. This is a dry oil that leaves skin looking silky and not a greasy residue so you can rest assured it won’t stain or absorb your clothes, or that you will have to wait an hour for it to dry.

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The Rough Scrub defines a proper body scrub. It’s wonderfully gritty to polish the skin from head to toe and the Body Butter’s reputation needs no further explanation. The Miracle Solid Oil is a clever pot of goodness, perfect for smoothing onto extra dry areas like the elbows or heels. And everything smells beautiful. I’m not sure how to describe the scent of cosmetic argan oil – it’s not strong but it’s distinctive and won’t disappoint.

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Once again the Body Shop’s commitment to the  Community Fair Trade programme is at the heart of the Wild Argan Oil collection, this time with Targanine,  a local cooperative created by women, for women to help find buyers for their oil and to help the industry develop in a positive way. Targanine is the Body Shop’s 26th Community Fair Trade partner as well.

Every sale of a Wild Argan Oil product directly empowers local Berber women, allowing them the ability and independence to provide for their families with a stable income while Targanine invests in social projects such as schools for children and adult learning, crèches and doctors’ visits to name but a few.

On holiday last year in Morocco I visited a Berber community and saw how the ladies make argan oil. Each stage of the long and arduous process they commit themselves to is traditionally done by hand and with absolute perfection from picking the fruits that have fallen from the argan tree, drying them, smashing the pulps open to extract the nuts before they are ground and pressed from which the oil is expelled from. This doesn’t include the time it takes for the fruit to be harvested. Also not a single bad nut will make it to the end – they can’t afford to contaminate the oil with a dud one.Tedious, manual, painstakingly slow. I will never take argan oil for granted when it’s made with such dedication, love and care.

The Body Shop’s range has had me reminiscing about my trip so I found my photos of how argan oil is made and thought I’d share them with you:

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Wild Argan Oil is love. It’s a wonderfully enticing range and is a little bit of hammam heaven in your bathroom. Now I want to go back to Morocco.

The Wild Argan Oil collection from the Body Shop is out now nationwide and online.

posted by on Fragrances, In Praise Of..., Pampering, Perfume, Personal grooming, Skincare, The Body Shop

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The humble Brazil nut. Enjoyed either plain or covered in chocolate. Except it’s a rather extraordinary nut, not just because it comes from the depths of the Amazonian rainforest, but because it takes an epic journey, which The Body Shop is keen to raise awareness of with its relationship with Community Fair Trade and the new Brazil nut collection.

Last week I met Gaston Vizcarra, the founder of Candela and Community Fair Trade Supplier of Brazil nut oil at the unveiling of this new range. He struck me as the Santana of Brazil nuts (a compliment – honest). There is something immediately heart-warming about Gaston in the first few minutes of meeting him. Maybe it was the pocketful of Peru he had brought with him (his home) and as the evening unwound, so did his adventurous stories. Accidentally stumbling into a tiger’s den whilst looking for Brazil nuts definitely makes my life pale into insignificance. (FYI – Tigger was not home.)

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Gaston and the Brazil Nut mood board

Gaston has been supplying Brazil nut oil since 1989 through the Community Fair Trade programme to businesses like the Body Shop who use it to make those much-loved toiletries and cosmetics we love to use.

This ‘trade not aid’ relationship has helped immensely to sustain, harvest and protect over 3,000 hectares of the Peruvian rainforest by providing a livelihood for the nut collectors and nut crackers part of the Candela co-operative. Did I say Peruvian? I did. That’s because Brazil nuts are grown in Peru, as well as Bolivia, Venezuela and Brazil (of course).

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The enormous coconut-like shell in which the Brazil Nuts are found inside

Gaston works with more than 270 nut gatherers who hand harvest Brazil nuts from the Madre de Dios region, providing a safe alternative to logging and illegal gold-mining which results in deforestation and pollution. And because the Brazil nut is so invaluable as a source of income to both parties, the environment is also protected to ensure this cycle continues for future generations.

This 5 minute video by The Body Shop sums up the story of the Brazil nut perfectly:

Last year, The Body Shop International bought over 20,000kg of Brazil nut oil from Candela. This oil came from approximately 280,500m2 of forest, from nearly 3,000 trees. It’s pretty remarkable to know Gaston’s hopes and dreams came from a small bottle of Brazil nut oil that he brought to the UK all those years ago.

Understanding how this chain of events leads to the pretty lotions and potions we pick off the shelves was an eye opener. I think we are familiar with how passionate the Body Shop is about creating products derived from natural resources but the realisation of the long and arduous process involved gives much food for thought and indeed value and appreciation. Now I can’t look at a Body Shop Body Butter without pausing to think about how it got there in the first place.

You may recall the Body Shop brought out a Brazil nut Body Butter a while ago. Well it has returned by popular demand and this time, it’s brought some new friends to join the party:

Body Butter (£13)
Beautifying Oil (£9)
Body Mist (£7.50)
Shower Cream (£4.50)
Eau de Toilette (£8.50)
Cream Scrub (£12.50)

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The complete collection (with real Brazil nuts for decorative purposes)

The first thing that is striking is the subtle sweet scent – it’s like chocolate or toffee with vanilla but aromatically sensual without being sickly sweet. I admit I wasn’t a fan of the Body Shop’s chocolate range (it was a little on the nauseous side) but the Brazil nut has won me over, especially the Body Mist and Eau de Toilette.

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Another favourite is the awesome scrub with the shells crushed into smithereens for exfoliating. I am not impressed with scrubs that are too soft to work. Give me something that will do its job, and this offering certainly does.

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The creamy Body Butter speaks for itself, considering it’s always such a popular and sought-after product of the Body Shop. In total the entire collection will set you back £55, which is (pea)nuts, so you could indulge in it entirely without feeling guilty (that’s how I justify multiple goods purchases) and hey, it is a worthy cause.

I can remember when Anita Roddick founded the Body Shop, and how strong her ethics were so I am pleased to see her legacy lives on with The Body Shop striving for the same beliefs:

AGAINST animal testing
SUPPORT community fair trade
ACTIVATE self esteem
DEFEND human rights
PROTECT the planet

The new collection drops on 23rd April. You can also visit the Body Shop’s website on Community Fair Trade here.

*PR samples*