Just in Time for Summer: Stretch Mark Repair Oil from Shea Terra
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While Shea Terra has several new products, all of which are chosen for their healing properties and for their community empowerment values, the Mama's Gold Stretch Mark Prevention & Treatment Oil seems like a great find as summer is literally just around the corner. But, the stretch mark oil goes deeper than just hiding unsightly lines, as many of the oils included are chosen for their abilities to empower women and children across Africa, often the first and hardest hit during tough economic times.Stretch Mark Prevention and Repair
How does Mama's Gold Stretch Mark Oil prevent and treat those unsightly stretch marks? With a long list of natural oils (and nothing hidden or unpronounceable) the Stretch Mark Oil adds the right combination of moisture to add extra elasticity to your skin before pregnancy. You can also massage the oil into already existing stretch marks to help decrease their appearance. There are no chemicals or preservatives, and also the "smell" is very faint - perfect for pregnant women with a tendency towards nausea or olfactory sensitivity.
Many of the oils found in the Shea Terra products are chosen because they offer fair wages to workers as well as other community empowerment aspects for the workers and the Stretch Mark Oil is no different. In order to add elasticity to your skin, a variety of potent oils including marula oil, tsamma melon oil, carrot seed oil and pumpkin seed oil, and of course shea oil are used, as well as African potato and kigelli ("a rare, 'fertility' fruit of South Africa"). Before you get zapped with a laser to rid yourself of those unsightly lines, why not give Mama's Gold Stretch Mark Oil a shot. They also offer pure Baobab Tree oil which you can rub on your stretch marks, and your entire epidermis in general, to pack a powerful punch of Omega 3, 6 and 9, as well as Vitamins A, D and E, which will also repair sun damage. While they say you can use it on your face, it is rather thick so if you are prone to oily skin, it might be too much to handle.
Silicone-Free Body Nectar Sprays
Body Nectar Sprays are also new this season, and they come in four healing flavors - Honeybush Peach for antioxidant power; Pink Guava Pomegaranate for toning & replenishing; Tsamma Melon for light hydration; and Marula Nectar for its anti-aging properties. The sprays are developed to offer your skin a light splash of moisture and scent without weighing you down like a heavy cream lotion.
I tried the Honeybush Peach Body Nectar Spray and it literally smelled just like fresh peaches - it was wonderful. The sprays come without aerosols or silicone to mist the spray over you, so the spray comes out more as a tiny stream, which you think have to rub into your arm with your other arm (or other body part). This in itself isn't bad, but was sort of a shock when I first used it because I was expecting more of a misting fan-type action. The scent stayed on throughout the day and was really nice and refreshing to smell. While you may not be able to pronounce the ingredients, it's not because they are weird synthetics made in a lab, but just because they are oils and plants that we don't commonly use here in the United States.
The Shea Lip Butters, in addition to providing ample moisture for your lips, also provide apiary training for workers in Uganda. The hives and training are provided to community members, who then can sell the honey and beeswax to Shea Terra and other companies. Other oils in the lip butters come from Namibia, and help over 4,000 gatherers and farmers earn income, as well as pay for schooling for their children.
The Bourbon Vanilla Dead Sea Salt Scrub smells just like that wonderful "wet ingredient mixture" that you make when you are baking chocolate chip cookies. You know the mixture of sugar, sugar, milk, eggs and vanilla. Take a deep breath of this scrub and you are transported back to the kitchen with a fresh tray of cookies cooling on the rack. When they say "non-oily" version, they aren't kidding. Most salt scrubs leave your skin with layer of oil so thick you can scratch it off, and personally I had all but given up on them for this reason, but this scrub comes off easily with a simple washing.
For a limited time now, when you purchase a gift pack (which comes in a reusable, handmade sinimay bag) you also get a free sample of Divine Chocolate).
Shea Terra Helps More Than Just Your ThighsShea Terra Founder Tammie Umbel began with the vision of creating a company that would also empower and provide a sustainable income for families in Africa. After stumbling on Shea Butter, she discovered a product that is good for your skin (heals eczema, psoriasis and burns) and also could provide income for women across Africa. At the same time, she wanted to create a product that was as natural and un-toxic as possible - something that is hard to find in the cosmetics and personal care industry. So her lotions are all created without sulfates, parabens, fillers or artificial fragrances or colors. Despite everything they left out, it doesn't feel like they're missing anything as I can personally attest that shea butter is still hands down the best lotion I have ever used and its light scent is great.
Image via: Shea TerraShea Terra Supports Social Causes in Africa
Not only does Umbel support women in Africa by purchasing their products and letting them set prices that they deem are "fair" for their products, but she also then donates a portion of each sale back into self-empowerment and environmental products. The baobab oil and indigenous herbs that come from the Miombo forest help to provide the community with livelihood, therefore increasing its value and the likelihood that the surrounding community will not be forced to cut it down. In addition, Shea Terra supports tree-planting projects in the area which provide food, medicine and non-consumable goods for the community. Goods from an apiary project in Uganda are purchased and used in Shea Terra products, which again provides a good source of a natural product but also provides another source of income for farmers.
During the 10 years of their existence, Shea Terra has also helped to set up several organizations in countries around Africa, for example the Ethiopian Goat Project. Shea Terra provided goats, grain and training about how to raise and care for goats to Ethiopian families. The milk then provides nourishment for new babies, as well as a source of income for the farmers.
Purchasing fair trade lavender oil from a village in the Khoisan region helped to completely revitalize the town. Shea Terra also created the K through Dr. program, which works with three families, providing tuition, books, clothing and expenses for each child, guaranteed all the way from kindergarten through graduate school.
Umbel also founded the Otuke Shea Butter Project, offering three to five times the normal amount of compensation given to women in West Africa producing shea butter. Many of the women fled their homelands in Northern Uganda after war broke out and this project has allowed many of them to earn enough income to purchase a home in less than two years, provide schooling for their children and healthcare for their families.
Back in Virginia, the home-base of Shea Terra, Umbel employs disabled persons and displaced workers to make the lotions, each of which are hand-made to help offset carbon emissions waste. In addition, all product packaging is recyclable (plastic bottles) and all paper and packing materials are post-consumer recycled, with corn starch packing peanuts that dissolve in water.
This is yet another story of women small-business owners stepping out to just do something good and instead ended up improving the lives of thousands of women around the planet. If everyone tried to just do one good thing to help their community, who knows where we'd be or how many other good things could come of it. :Shea Terra OrganicsMore on Women's Personal Care ProductsHow to Go Green: Women's Personal CareTop Women's Personal Care TipsThe Greater Good: Burt's Bees Campaign for Truly Natural Personal CareTurn Your Teen Green With These Personal Care ProductsBuy Green: Face Cream