Top Five: Fairtrade Beauty Essentials

Continuing with the Fairtrade Fortnight theme, I thought I would share some of the fairly traded essentials I have in my kit. The basics, the things that help make my job as a Make-up Artist possible.

Here are my Top Five, fairly traded beauty essentials plus a little more about their Fairtrade credentials…

Dr Bronners Castille Liquid Soap (£2.15 – £17.49)

This liquid soap has a myriad of uses (they have helpfully put together a cheatsheet here) but in terms of my kit it is principally a brush cleaner. Packed full of ingredients which have been sourced from fair-trade producers all around the world. The base ingredients include Coconut oil sourced from Sri Lanka, palm oil from Ghana and olive oil from Palestine and Israel. Apparently an estimated 10,000 people benefit directly from the fair trade projects Dr Bronners support and they are also involved in the development of domestic fair trade programs in North America as well.

Dr Bronners Lavender Hand Sanitizer (£4.49)

I know I’m doubling up on the Dr Bronners here but their hand sanitiser is a vital to my pro kit as the castille soap – if not more so (I have bottles everywhere). The Fairtrade component of the sanitiser is  the Ethyl alcohol (ethanol), a medical-grade alcohol made from sugar cane traditionally produced by small farmers in the hills of the Bolivar and Cotopaxi provinces of Ecuador.  The Rural Forestation and Progress Network Corporation has worked with small farmers there since 2003, providing training and appropriate technology for organic farming, alcohol purification, and better environmental practices in the region. The corporation have also helped five small cooperatives organise themselves into a consortium, the Sweet Organic Agri-Artisanal Consortium (or CADO in Spanish). CADO pays its members a fair price for organic alcohol and contributes a fair trade premium which goes into community development projects. More than 250 families now have the chance to improve their quality of life without losing their traditional way of life or harming the environment.

Cotton Wool and Cotton Buds (from around £1.50)

I generally use organic cotton wool in my kit but on the odd occasion I can’t get any organic cotton wool pads locally to me and time is of the essence, I always opt what I consider the next best thing; cotton wool which is certified Fairtrade. I can pick up a bag at my local CoOp or Sainsbury’s supermarket (M&S have sadly discontinued it). As with cotton wool, if I can’t get my preferred organic cotton buds then I ideally choose ones which are Fairly traded. Sadly fairtrade cotton buds available on the high street seem to be on the decline and the organic ones seem to be the only fair-trade options at the moment.

The worlds oldest commercial crop, cotton production is widespread; from China, India and the US, to Central and West Asia and Africa. It is thought that 100 million households are directly engaged in cotton production and an estimated 300 million people work in the cotton sector (which includes ancillary services such as transportation, baling and storage). Cotton farmers face many challenges from external factors including poor cotton seed prices , competition from subsidised producers in richer countries and of course climate change.

Tissues (£1.60)

As a Make-up Artist I get through a lot of tissues in the course of a day and so it is essential for me that they are as sustainable and ethical as possible. One of my favoured range of tissues is Together Green, a range from UK based Fair trade organisation Traidcraft. Sales from the Together Green range (tissues, toilet roll and kitchen towel) go directly to a fund which helps Traidcraft carry out environmental projects in the communities of the producers they work with and they are currently working on a project to bring fresh, clean water to almost 300 people in these remote communities.

Sunscreen (from £6.00)

Sunscreen may not be the first thing you think of when you consider the contents of a pro kit however it is something I think pretty much all of us always carry, as you never know when the sun may come out on a shoot. There are a number of sunscreens on the market which contain fairly traded ingredients, including the Lush Sunblock (contains FT Cooca Butter), Green People’s Sunscreen (contains FT Palm and myrrh oils) and my favourite, the Odylique Natural Sunscreen (contains FT shea butter).

The coca butter used in Lush’s products originates from the Dominican Republic (via either The Organic Growers Dominican Foundation [FUNDOPO] or The National Confederation of Dominican Cacao Producers [CONACADO]). Between these two organisations around 12,000 farmers have benefited from going fair-trade.

Unfortunately I don’t have the source of Green people’s Palm or Myrrh oils however they state that they source ingredients that are from projects that support the local community in third world countries.

Odylique’s organic shea butter is produced in Ghana by a women Fairtrade co-operative. They receive  the Fairtrade certification premium which ensures they receive a fair wage, decent working conditions and the means to invest in their community welfare and children’s education.


Images: (1, 2, 3, 4, 6) LJS – OMUA; (5) Traidcraft


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