What Does Fair Trade Mean in Beauty?

Beauty is beautiful when it does no harm. It's beautiful when the people harvesting ingredients are paid fairly, when no children are involved in the production, when farmers can feed their families because they're paid for their hard work. That is beautiful and it's the only kind of beauty products we will ever produce.

Fair-trade is one part of that picture and something we'd love to see spread in the beauty world. Keep reading to learn what fair-trade means and why it matters.

What is Fair-Trade?

Fair Trade is a sustainable sourcing certification that protects workers, farmers, and the environment. Fair-trade certified ingredients are produced and harvested under these conditions:

  • Employees are treated fairly and ethically, with no discrimination and absolutely no child labor.
  • Producers are paid a Fairtrade Premium – extra money beyond their selling price to invest in their business or community.
  • Farmers are paid controlled prices that cover the costs of sustainably producing their crop. This protects farmers from constantly changing market prices.
  • Producers have access to credit if needed prior to harvest.

Fair Trade suppliers are vetted by a fair-trade organization and proven to follow these standards.

Our Certified Fair-Trade Ingredients

We source certified fair-trade ingredients whenever possible. Our three fair-trade certified ingredients are:  

  • Certified Organic Shea Butter
  • Certified Organic Coconut Oil
  • Certified Organic Jojoba Seed Oil

We use Fair-Trade Organic Coconut Oil and Fair-Trade Organic Shea Butter as the base for all of our Eyeshadow Palettes. 

Why aren’t all our ingredients Certified Fair-Trade?

So far in cosmetics, the only certified-fair trade ingredients are coconut oil, olive oil, jojoba seed oil, shea butter, argan oil, brazil nuts, and apricots. The rest of our unique, lesser-known ingredients (like moringa oil, rosehip oil, lavender oil, prickly pear oil, sea buckthorn oil, and crystal powders) aren't used in a large enough-supply to gain the fair-trade certifier's attention.

If we can’t find a fair-trade version of an ingredient, we search until we find an ethical, sustainable grower/supplier of that ingredient. If there’s isn’t an ethical, sustainable option, we don't use that ingredient.  

The Impact of Fair-Trade

The fair-trade certification protects workers from exploitation and helps farmers develop a sustainable business with a livable income. So many cosmetic ingredients like mica, cocoa butter, shea butter and carnauba wax have been found to involve forced labor, child labor, extremely low wages, and overall unethical working conditions.

How Does Fair Trade Help Farmers & Workers?

Ingredient prices are constantly fluctuating thanks to extreme weather, crop failures, and increased or decreased demand in the market. Most small farmers already have slim profit margins, so if prices drop even a little, they make next to nothing.

Certified Fairtrade ingredients however, have a guaranteed minimum price regardless of market conditions. If prices rise, farmers are paid the minimum plus the increased margin. This protects them from extreme price drops and allows them to profit when conditions improve. When farmers make a profit, they can pay their employees a decent wage.

Purchases also pay an extra premium to fair-trade suppliers. These premiums go towards projects like education, drinking water solutions, food security, reforestation initiatives, childcare, and other projects that benefit the local community.

What Fair-Trade Means For You

When you purchase products with fair-trade ingredients, you're ensuring that farmers and workers all over the world are paid properly for their work and are treated fairly.

This is why fair-trade products usually cost more – they reflect the true costs of growing and harvesting ingredients + the people who work hard to make it happen. When you see a lipstick for $4.99, you can guarantee those workers weren't paid a liveable wage.

Have more questions about sustainability, ethical sourcing or fair-trade ingredient? Send us a message anytime.  It's our favorite topic to shout out loud!

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