By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
We’ve all heard of ethical fashion brands that help people, right? Either they’re women supporting women, or businesses that are reviving and maintaining artisanal fashion techniques and styles. But what about beauty brands? Can’t they do the same thing?
Indeed they can! The Body Shop was one of the first beauty brands ever that pointed out how using Brazil or Shea nut oil can help save communities of people that live in delicate habitats like rain forests. And since then, Fair Trade beauty brands have grown and grown.
For those who still didn’t know, Fair Trade is a social movement that helps workers and small businesses in developing countries achieve better trading conditions. Members of the movement advocate the payment of higher prices to workers, as well as improved social and environmental standards. This form of social sustainability offers better trading conditions to marginalised producers around the world.
And this is no small thing: did you know that many ingredients in the most common beauty brands are killing the planet, animals and people? The worst offender, of course, is palm oil. AVOID THAT at all costs if you care even one iota about this planet! But other ingredients, such as cacao butter, mica (used in mineral makeup) and vanilla extract (for fragrance) are often harvested by child labourers, in dangerous conditions. Want to know more? Click here.
Luckily, there are plenty of Fair Trade Beauty Brands that are not only protecting the planet, but are also giving something positive back to the communities that help make their products. Here’s our list of some of the best Fair Trade beauty brands helping those in need.
Fair Trade Beauty Brands Helping Those In Need
This company’s organic coconut oil is specially formulated to hydrate skin. It may seem like a really basic product, so you may be wondering: why would I buy this, instead of just hitting the grocery store? And the answer is:their ethics. Conscious Coconut’s products are as kind to people and the planet as they are to your skin. Oh, and plus, they make really cool body brushing brushes from coconut fibres, too.
How they help: The company works directly with coconut farmers and packaging suppliers in Bali, supporting Fair Trade practices in the process. Conscious Coconut sources their ingredients from the poorest communities in the world to help elevate them out of poverty, and boasts close and personal relationships with everyone connected to the company.
Once their tubes and packages arrive to the USA, they are packaged by adults with developmental disabilities at the Macdonald Training Center in Tampa. And for EVERY product sold, they donate a meal to a child in need through Feeding America. Wow, right?
2. Fair Squared
Olive oil from Palestine, coconut sugar from India and Argan oil from Morocco are but a few of the ingredients this hyper-ethical company sources to make it’s wide range of products, which include everything from shaving and skin creams to menstrual cups and condoms, made of fairly traded natural rubber, of course! In fact, every six months the company develops around eight new products, all of which are 100% certified Fair Trade, vegan and organic.
How they help: Fair Squared is a family owned alternative trade organisation based in Cologne, Germany. They pride themselves on their ethics above all, which are rooted in transparency, social and environmental acceptability, animal welfare and solidarity towards those who are living in less privileged parts of the world.
Family owned Honeystreet Handmade is the perfect brand for stocking your bathroom with. Their range of Fair Trade bath and body products include creams, soaps, candles, shower gels and scrubs, all of which are made in the heart of the Wiltshire countryside. Each item is individually handmade in small batches, using all-natural ingredients such as Fair Trade organic sugar, Shea butter, olive oil and apricot kernel oil.
How they help: For Honeystreet Handmade, Fair Trade means fairer trading conditions and opportunities for all their producers in developing countries. They are proud to invest in their businesses and communities for a more sustainable future.
The name Mumanu was conceived by combining two words: Mum and ‘Anu,’ the Celtic fertility goddess. Unsurprisingly, this brand is all about honouring mothers mainly through its famous pregnancy pillows, but they also create special balms designed specifically for the stretching bellies of mums-to-be.
How they help:By being Soil Association and Fairtrade Foundation certified, the brands ensures no nasty pesticides or damaging farming practises are undertaken in the making of their balms.
Using ingredients from Africa and Asia, they also want to know for sure that the people they buy from are paid well and that their communities get direct benefits. They’re also especially concerned about this because they know full well that the cocoa industry is rife with slavery and they don’t want to be part of that.
Odylique is the first UK makeup brand to ever be certified Fairtrade. It was founded more than thirty years ago with the aim of creating mainly products that would help sensitive skin. All their ingredients have therapeutic value, therefore they use actives such as herbs and essential oils, that actively nourish the skin and protect it from premature ageing, it’s true. But the brand has also now extended itself to include a wide range of colour cosmetics, in addition to its skincare ranges.
How they help: This is one of the few beauty brands with Ethical Accreditation, which is quoted as being: “A cross-spectrum (people, animals and environment) accreditation, which exists to reward ethical companies’ behaviour.”
Their membership is audited annually, and companies below the EA benchmark are not allowed to maintain their membership. Their accreditation means you can shop this brand secure in the knowledge that their ethics have been scrutinised by an independent body and proven to offer products that are truly ethical and fair in every way imaginable.
Lotions, lip balms, body creams, soaps…they can all be made out of Shea butter, and that’s exactly what Out of Africa specialises in doing. They make skincare products that suit all kinds of skins, and every gender and age – in fact, Shea butter and oil is perfect for those with skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema.
How they help: The two men who founded this company share not only an interest in creating natural products, but also promoting social responsibility as well. They support a West African women’s cooperative by paying Fair Trade prices for the locally-sourced Shea butter that fuels their range.
Rich eye creams, lusciously scented rose soaps and highly effective facial serums are but a few of the luxury beauty products made by this brand, which is fully dedicated to helping the Berber women of North Africa, who source the argan, prickly pear seed and rose oils used in many of their products. Most of these women cannot read nor write, so they proudly use illustrative symbols to mark their identity on the packaging of the products they make.
How they help: Beyond helping women earn a fair wage in Morocco, Kahina also gives back by planting trees (12,000 so far) in partnership with the High Atlas Foundation to elevate rural Moroccans beyond subsistence level farming.
They’ve also donated 84 pairs of winter boots donated to the children of the village of Ait Goh, provided free healthcare for 25 women of a cooperative outside of Agadir in southwest Morocco, given free room and board for 15 girls so that they may continue their education beyond the third grade through Education for All, Morocco, and much more!
Famous for its skincare products that brighten, rejuvenate and firm the skin, Amala uses a global network of certified organic farms to source most of its ingredients. From seed selection to time-honored distillation techniques, Amala ensures each step of producing their extraordinary products is fully ethical and eco-friendly.
How they help: Besides being highly concerned about the environment, Amala has earned its Fair Trade certification due to its strong relationships with the farmers that provide the ingredients for their farm-to-face beauty products.
9. Dr Bronner’s
This much-loved Fair Trade beauty brand produces mainly ‘all in one’ pure Castile soaps that can be used as dish soap, household cleaners, body gels or just plain hand soap. But they’re also recently expanded into shampoos, conditioners, skin creams and even hand sanitisers. All products are 100% organic.
How they help: Since its inception, the brand has been dedicated to its ‘cosmic principles’ which include treating the Earth like home, treating employees like family, and treating suppliers with respect, amongst other ethical concerns.
10. Acure Organics
Looking for an effective deodorant that’s not going to make you sick? Or maybe a shampoo that’s packed with organic botanics? Or maybe you’d like to experiment with a wide range of skincare products? One of our top vegan and Fair Trade beauty brands, Acure Organics, has it all!
How they help: In addition to making pure, vegan, Fair Trade beauty products, Acure Organics works with Unite for Her, a breast cancer charity that bridges the gap between the medical and wellness communities by providing accessible resources through complementary therapies that supplement medical treatments breast cancer patients undergo.
They also support Turning Green, a student led movement devoted to education and advocacy around environmentally sustainable and socially responsible choices for individuals, schools, and communities.
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