Eco-friendly, sustainably-sourced beauty may populate the shelves of skincare shops today, but cosmetics with a conscience is something The Body Shop has been doing for 25 years. Ever since launching her “Trade Not Aid” campaign back in 1987, to “alleviate suffering and poverty around the world”, founder Dame Anita Roddick—who passed away in 2007—has planted the company’s roots firmly in fair trade and community outreach. This week, the British brand perpetuated that legacy of activism with a new line of shea butter-based products, aimed at delivering high-quality ingredients to customers while supporting local economies—and, specifically, the women who work within them.
The brand has been collaborating with the Tungteiya Women’s Association since 1994, an initiative that started out with 50 members and today comprises 640, spread across 11 villages in northern Ghana. The West African country has seen the shea tree (vitellaria paradoxa) flourish for thousands of years, as well as the corresponding development of a female-dominated industry around extracting its butter, known as “women’s gold”. With the tagline “a She in every Shea”, the goal of the Body Shop’s shea-focused line (in addition to helping us all heal our cracked winter skin) was to do their part for female empowerment by sourcing a higher volume than ever before: 390 tons of shea butter every year. It’s also their first time offering 100% raw shea butter to customers. The brand c0-founded the Global Shea Alliance, a non-profit that aims to support the more than 8 million who form the foundation of the worldwide industry.
But The Body Shop aren’t the only ones using this dry skin staple to do a bit of global good: Lush works with the Ojoba Women’s Shea Butter Collective to source ingredients for everything from lip balms to bath bombs, while Sundial Brands (parent company to SheaMoisture, Nubian Heritage, Nyakio and MCJW Beauty Culture) all collaborate with a handful of collectives as part of their Community Commerce pillar. L’Occitane does their business with another shea-producing country, Burkina Faso, employing 15,000 women to produce their popular shea butter line.
Here are six products you can feel extra good about slathering on this winter.