SATURDAY SUBSTITUTE: THE BODY SHOP MAKEUP

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 Yesterday, I shared some makeup that carries the Fairtrade certification. As I mentioned, that makeup (by Essential Care Organics) is so far the only Fairtrade certified makeup that I’ve found. If you’re after a bigger range, the good news is there are some great substitutions further down the Fairtrade Spectrum. My ‘go-tois the makeup range by The Body Shop. The Body Shop sources some of their ingredients directly from fair trade partners under their ‘community fair trade‘ programme. Some 950 of The Body Shop’s products contain at least one community fair trade ingredient. 

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I must say, a few years ago I was quite sceptical of The Body Shop’s ‘community fair trade’ initiative. I thought to myself, if they really do operate under fair trade principles, why not go the one step further and pursue Fairtrade certification? And no, their own made-up ‘community fair trade certification’ does not count! I still think this (about The Body Shop and other retailers) because I think that independent certifications are the easiest, most transparent way to convey your ethical credentials and commitment to consumers. But, at the same time, I am a realist and I understand there are reasons why retailers might not want to pursue Fairtrade/Fair Trade certifications – additional cost that could be given directly to the producers, for one. For an example of this thought process, check out this post from Maggie’s Organics. As a word of caution, I feel this is a very legitimate reason for retailers who are transparent and have a long history and commitment to doing the right thing for their producers, as Maggie’s do. I’m concerned that some retailers – particularly the kind who are jumping on the growing trend to be green and fair (look up ‘greenwashing‘) – might use this as justification for not getting certification when the real reason for not doing so is because they wouldn’t pass the monitoring process/audits…

All that said, I’ve recently changed my tune about The Body Shop, for a couple of reasons. First up, they really seem to be promoting  their community fair trade programme more. There is now a page on The Body Shop website dedicated to the programme, with information on what ingredients come from where, and under what conditions. In store, the shelving labels provide the same information, as do information leaflets.  I wonder if this is because of the growing support for fair trade, or because the programme has ramped up? I noticed on their website they are part of the Ethical Trading Initiative. The Body Shop has this to say about it:

[The Ethical Trading Initiative requires that…] The Body Shop be assessed against this Code, and that The Body Shop only work with suppliers that comply. This rigorous process ensures human rights are upheld and child labour is outlawed from our supply chain.”

The Body Shop have also published their fair trade Charter (here). I used my legal skills (!) to compare it to the official Fairtrade principles (here for Fairtrade certification, here for the World Fair Trade Organization principles and here for that of the Fair Trade Federation – phew! Too many certifications…). The Body Shop’s Charter principles look similar to these, although the Charter seems a little less rigorous and rigid. In other words, the basic principles in the Charter seem sound, but the question of how effective they are will turn on how/if they are enforced. Reassuringly, The Body Shop is also being independently audited by The Institute for Marketecology. I’m not sure how long this has been the case (the community fair trade program launched in 1987 – before I was born!) but I’ve only recently discovered this. Either way, I think this is one example of how The Body Shop is working hard to increase the transparency and accountability around their community fair trade program.

The other reason why The Body Shop’s community fair trade programme has grown on me is a personal reason. Through writing this blog, I have been increasingly putting more value on (and faith in) the role of transparency in ensuring producers are respected and paid a fair wage. I still strongly believe the Fairtrade/Fair Trade certifications are surety for this. But I also now believe that transparency alone, even without certification, is in some circumstances capable of being enough…. provided that my research can prove to me (beyond doubt) that my purchase will help someone out of poverty, not trap them in it.

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Now on to the products themselves!

I’ve tried quite a bit of The Body Shop range. Here are my current everyday favourites (all of these contain fair trade marula oil):

– Moisture liquid foundation SPF 15 in Shade 2 for $34.95AUD

A foundation with SPF is, in my opinion, absolutely necessary because – who wants the skin on their face to age? This is quite sheer, so it’s perfect for everyday wear. I’d probably recommend something slightly heavier for evenings (plus, SPF foundation is something to avoid if you’re being photographed with flash… did you know it can reflect the flash and make your face look REALLY pale? I’ve found that out the hard way).

I usually set this foundation with a powder (below) but you can skip this step unless you want to build this foundation up to get a little more coverage. It is possible to layer this foundation on, but I find that when I do that I can’t skip the powder otherwise my base looks a little oily.

– All-in-one make-up compact face base in Shade 2 for $34.95AUD

This is my favourite! It’s so versatile because it is equally good for light, medium or heavy coverage, depending on whether you use it dry as a powder or wet. For examples, on weekends I just dab on a little moisturiser, let dry, and dust this powder over just to even up my skin tone. On weekdays, I use this to set a lighter foundation (above) for medium coverage. And for evenings, I wet a makeup sponge and use this as a cake foundation. It dries in a matte, velvety finish and lasts all day/night. Seriously, the staying power is really good.

One suggestion – I have ended up buying two to use one exclusively for wet and one for dry, because after you’ve wet this foundation with a sponge it doesn’t always dry before the time you wish to use it again as a powder!

– All-in-one cheek colour in Guava for $26.95AUD

You know that typical beauty question? “If you could only use one makeup product each day, what would it be?” I think mine would be blush. I find a bit of colour on my cheeks makes a massive difference in warming up my face and making my whole appearance fresher and more polished.

In yesterday’s post, I wrote about how having my colours analysed has helped me choose makeup colours. The most surprising thing of the whole experience was this: the best blushes for my skin tone are actually those that I used to shy way from because they looked super intense in the compact…(this was quite the lesson as I was previously using bronzer!) hence this bright guava which ends up quite understated once on my skin. Who would have thought? Have I convinced you yet that having your colours analysed is awesome? It’s really helpful for playing up your strengths and looking your best in the beauty department. (Trial and error is good for that too!)

I like that this blush is quite matte, because I think a bright blush that is also shimmery could be quite scary. There are six colours in the range.

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– Divide & Multiply Mascara in Black for $24.95AUD

This is the best mascara I’ve ever used. What a surprise! I did NOT expect this when I bought it, as I previously spent years skipping from mascara to mascara to try to find the right one. There was another that worked for me, but I wasn’t comfortable with the ethics so I switched to this thinking I would be compromising on effect. Not so!

Choosing the right mascara seems to come down to assessing your eyelashes. Sure, some formulas will inherently be better than others but you’ve got to accurately identify what you want your mascara to achieve and choose accordingly. The Body Shop also have a Define & Lengthen mascara, but extra length isn’t really my end goal because my eyelashes are really long but volume-challenged. Because of that, the first mascara I tried from The Body Shop range was the Super Volume and I was pretty impressed with it. It isn’t clumpy which I think is a feat for any volume mascara. I wasn’t completely sold by it though and so I replaced it with the Divide & Multiply Mascara. I will never look back! I’ve discovered that volume isn’t my main lash problem – rather, I have long eyelashes but not many of them! This mascara somehow achieves volume and length at the same time. It’s not at all clumpy and, as promised, seems to multiply your eyelashes.

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As you can tell, these makeup products are becoming a little worse for wear with the amount of use they’ve had!

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Next, I’m keen to try some of the lipsticks in the Colour Crush range.

The Body Shop call themselves the pioneers of fair trade in the beauty industry. This is a big call, but I’m increasingly thinking it’s a well deserved accolade.  What do you think? Have you tried any of The Body Shop makeup products?

Yours Fairly,

Ashlee

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