Fairtrade Fortnight: The beauty brands doing their bit and where to buy them

Your bananas and coffee are fair trade, now your beauty can be too

Fairtrade Fortnight: The beauty brands doing their bit and where to buy them
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Your bananas and coffee are fair trade, now your beauty can be too

Beauty products are made from loads of natural ingredients that are harvested by a global network of farmers and growers. Without the shea nut collectors in Ghana or the honey harvesters in Zambia, loads of our best makeup products wouldn’t exist. That's why, this Fairtrade Fortnight we want to champion brands taking fair trade beyond the kitchen. 

We’ve all seen the Fairtrade stamp a thousand times and we know what it stands for, right? Well, a quick catch-up with the Head of Responsible Business at the Fairtrade Foundation proved me wrong. Anna Barker says: “We are at 90% awareness in the UK. The Fairtrade mark is recognised by almost everyone, but most aren’t sure what it means.” 

So, what is fair trade? 

The Fairtrade Foundation breaks down its certification into three key areas: fair supply chains, minimum price guarantees, and a fair trade premium. 

For a product or ingredient to be fair trade it must “pass our extensive audit,” Barker explains. She goes on: “We check the whole supply chain for good practice in pay, working conditions, and sustainability. The Fairtrade Foundation trains farmers and traders to work in the right ways.” 

On top of the initial audit, fair trade brands must pledge to pay a fair cost for ingredients (which is often higher than usual) and set out clear purchase quantities in advance. Both of these things ensure stability and safety for farmers in the global market. 

Why are more beauty brands becoming fair trade? 

“There are lots of ingredients in beauty products that carry a lot of risks,” shares Barker. She highlights shea butter and honey as the most threatening ingredients.

It’s not just ingredients that are forcing the beauty industry to change. More consumer awareness about where their products come from and the climate crisis are vital too: “People are more aware of the vulnerability of global supply chains because of Covid-19 and Brexit. They are more likely to pay a fair trade premium which means communities can invest in reforestation programmes and solar initiatives,” Barker continues. 

Barker says: “Buying fair trade means the beauty products we purchase to make us feel good also make the women who have made them happy and safe too.” 

The Fairtrade Foundation is the most recognised certification but there are lots of other bodies that award fair trade accreditations. Whether it’s Fair For Life, Union for Ethical Biotrade (UEBT), or a brand’s independent initiative, all of these products are perfect investments this Fairtrade Fortnight. 

Where to buy fair trade beauty products this Fairtrade Fortnight:

Grace Warn

Grace Warn is the at Commercial Producer & Writer Marie Claire UK. From organising cover shoots and uncovering the latest news to creating social content, she loves the fact that no one day is the same!

Growing up just outside of London, Grace made the leap at 16 and started to intern. Juggling education, earning money, styling, producing and organising numerous fashion cupboards was as intoxicating as it was challenging and it's what's brought her here today.

After graduating in the pandemic, the only option was to take on as many freelance roles as possible. From demystifying health jargon to keeping up with the latest footwear drops, a strange concoction of health and footwear journalism became Grace's bread and butter but she always wanted a break in lifestyle journalism and production. Then she landed her dream role!

When she's not racing to deadlines, Grace can be found on anything that could pass as a dancefloor dancing to Diana Ross or scouting out vintage sales on the outskirts out South London - believe it or not, Beckenham is the place to go!