8 posts tagged "The Body Shop"
Despite the rise in popularity of argan oil in haircare and cosmetics around the globe, Morocco, the country from which this “liquid gold” originates, remains steeped in tradition and shrouded in mystery. Much of the female population, particularly in the ancient Berber communities that reside in the arid foothills of the Atlas Mountains, are still modest in their dress—often keeping everything but their hands and faces covered. It was only during a recent excursion to the Sous Valley with The Body Shop (which sources argan oil for its new body-care line from Toudarte, a fair-trade cooperative in the area) that I discovered these incredibly hard-working women have some of the softest skin I’ve ever encountered. Interestingly enough, they also wear the proverbial pants in their respective households.
Harvesting the argan fruit (which women young and old collect from the ground with perfectly aligned, downward-dog-like backs), drying it in the sun, separating the pulp from the seed, cracking it open, and pressing the “almond” (now widely done by machine) to release the precious oil inside is a long-standing tradition. What is relatively new is the notion of doing it outside of the home—a foreign concept in this patriarchal society. Comprised entirely of women, the Toudarte cooperative (part of a larger organization known as Targanine) is revolutionary in that it not only provides the surrounding villages with a source of substantial income (approximately 1,060 dirhams, or $289, per person a month) but also access to education. An on-site school teaches cooperative members how to read, write, and speak Arabic—skills that only men were privy to in the past. “Women are [now] autonomous,” explained commercial director of Targanine Cooperative, Latifa Anaouch, of the impact the project has on the population. “A woman can fulfill her needs and those of her children.”
Gaining independence, however, doesn’t come easy. One would assume by the speed with which these women crack baskets full of argan nuts that splitting one open with a rock to reveal the sliver of seed inside would be a fairly simple task. After joining the ranks for 45 minutes, I managed to set free only four seeds…and ruin my manicure. To put that number in perspective, it requires 2 kilos of cracked almonds to produce just 1 liter of argan oil. The Body Shop placed an order of 6,000 liters for the launch of the line. In short, that’s a lot of nuts. But manual labor and harsh environmental conditions aside, when my nut-cracking partner pulled up her long sleeve and gestured for me to feel her arm, it was insanely smooth—a factor I can only attribute to the fruits of her labor.
When I was later laid out on a marble slab at my hotel’s hammam and scrubbed vigorously until my flesh turned pink, I fully appreciated the final step in the treatment: a full-body massage with The Body Shop’s Radiant Oil. While the glowy, moisturizing effects of the hydrating elixir are certainly worth their weight in gold, discovering firsthand the storied beauty secrets of newly empowered Berber women is, well, priceless.
To re-create the hammam experience at home, try The Body Shop Wild Argan Oil Bubbling Bath, Body Lotion, Radiant Oil for Body & Hair, Rough Scrub, Massage Soap, Body Butter, and Solid Oil, from $6 to $25, available at thebodyshop-usa.com.
The mere mention of exfoliating with a cactus would make anyone’s skin crawl, but in partnership with the Ya Munts’i B’ehña cooperative in Mexico, The Body Shop has managed to turn a prickly situation into something that will warm your heart (and soften your limbs). The do-gooder beauty brand is no stranger to Fair Trade—a practice that supports small-scale farmers and craftsmen by purchasing their bounty at “independence-building” prices. Among the twenty-five suppliers the company works with worldwide are three hundred Ñahñu women who live in the desert north of Mexico City. They use the Maguey cactus native to their surroundings and traditional techniques that stem back to the Aztecs to produce an artisanal sponge. Creating the fiber involves a long, arduous process (seen in the photos below): The enormous, rosette-like plants must grow for nine years, the leaves (which can be over six feet long) are then cut, burned over an open fire to remove the caustic sap, buried in the ground for three days, scraped by hand to remove the fibrous material, and hung to dry. The women then spin the cactus into thread and knit a mitt that is later stuffed with more dried cactus. At $5 each, giving back and getting a special gift for everyone you love during this season of excess has never been so simple.
Available, beginning November 14, at www.thebodyshop-usa.com.
CVS’ niche beauty stores-within-stores concept has sold its last tube of Vincent Longo lip stain. The drugstore giant has announced that it will close its 25 Beauty 360 outposts. The jury’s still out on whether Duane Reade’s similarly conceived Look Boutiques will meet the same end. [WWD]
Lily Cole, the flame-haired supermodel-turned-Cambridge student-turned-actress, has been named the Body Shop’s first-ever brand ambassador. [Grazia]
Plastic surgery has long been a way of life in Brazil—and it’s not just for the wealthy anymore. Free Botox, laser hair removal, chemical peels, and anti-cellulite treatments are now being doled out to women in low-income brackets at some 220 clinics across the country, under the guise that fixing presumed physical flaws can also fix a troubled psyche. Just another reason to love Rio. [Business Week]
Eva Longoria has announced the launch of EVAmour, her second fragrance—to which we say, there’s a first? [WWD]
Easy, breezy, beautiful, Sofia Vergara. The Modern Family star announced through her Twitter today that she is the new face of CoverGirl. [BellaSugar]
And now for your daily dose of Lady Gaga: The diva nailed her performance on Wall Street on Monday night—literally. Gaga broke a nail during her show, and, of course, had to show it off by giving her guests the finger. [Page Six]
Erin Fetherston stepped out last night for Julien Marinetti’s Doggy John exhibition sporting a new cropped ‘do. The designer ditched her signature braids for a bob. [People via Stylelist]
The Body Shop has gone Bollywood. For the first time in India, the company announced a brand ambassador, and it’s Bollywood actress Dia Mirza. “We are careful not to have just a pretty face. We like to see that they have Body Shop personality as well,” said Estelle Lau, the brand’s Asia Pacific franchise director. [WWD]
The Body Shop is literally rooted in activism. Its founder, the legendary Dame Anita Roddick, was committed to what she dubbed “moral leadership,” bringing ethics and a social conscience into the workplace. Three years after her untimely death, the company is continuing her legacy by remaining devoted to causes both environmental and humanitarian, one of which is combating the sex trafficking of children and young people. It’s the third largest criminal industry in the world, and the Body Shop teamed up with ECPAT USA (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography, and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes) and the Somaly Mam Foundation last year to fight it. Last night, the brand hosted a screening of Libby Spears’ powerful forthcoming documentary Playground, which focuses on the plight of sexually trafficked children right here in the U.S. “Awareness is the first step to making a difference,” said Shelley Simmons, director of brand values for the Body Shop, after the screening. “And information sharing is the best way to make an impact.” Learn more about the issue at www.ecpat.net, and then let your dollars do the talking: 100 percent of the profits from sales of the Body Shop’s Soft Hands, Kind Heart cream go toward the mission.