Natural Living

By Stef Schwalb

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I have a Sunday ritual I like to call Spa Night. It’s the one night a week I try to stay in and reenergize myself before the big week of work begins all over again. The evening usually starts with an at-home yoga or Pilates class, followed by a bath, facial, and hair mask, plus a mani & pedi. It’s a fun way to unwind and realign. In order to make my time worthwhile, I am always on the hunt for products that will really enhance the experience. This month I found some great ones from Shea Terra Organics to add to my beauty arsenal. What makes them so special are their all-natural ingredients, and the story behind the company’s mission.

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Founded in 1998, Shea Terra Organics is a woman-owned company run by Georgia native Tammie Umbel, who set out to create a company that would produce natural products which would elevate people’s lives through natural beauty while simultaneously preserving the environment. She wanted Shea Terra to benefit third world nations as well, while providing her customers with top-quality and affordable offerings. After doing some market research she realized that there was a large, relatively untapped market for shea butter, and that the creamy, all natural, and non-greasy butter was in high demand for its ability to positively impact skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, aging, and stretch marks.

The shea butter formulas developed by Shea Terra are packed with shea butter and other beneficial ingredients (such as rare botanicals and oils), many of which are sourced straight from Africa. Suppliers have also been carefully chosen to make sure that chemicals were not used to extract or process the ingredients. Additionally, when they are available, the company uses certified organic ingredients. Tammie’s mission is simple: Humans can live in harmony with their environment, while benefiting and beautifying it.

And speaking of beautifying, the benefits of shea butter seem endless. It’s an amazing hydrator and healer for the skin and it consists of a high content of Vitamins A and E, trace minerals, and phyto-nutrients. It works well on every skin type and has a high absorption rate, therefore, it is quick to deeply penetrate the skin upon application.

The products I sampled included Moroccan Mud, Honeybush Peach Hand Scrub Cream, Silk & Shea Butter Body Lotion in Red Bush & African Wild Honey, Moroccan Menthe Black Soap Body Wash, and an assortment of Shea Butter Therapy Soap Bars.

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Moroccan Mud is a rare mineral clay that softens skin as it releases impurities. Its unique mineral composition helps remove toxic buildup in the skin, and quite frankly, it’s fun to use! You mix the powder formula with your liquid of preference: milk, rose water, honey, or anything else you desire, and create a paste. Then spread it across your body and face, allow it to dry, and wash it off. It’s an experience definitely reminiscent of playing in the mud as a kid, and as such, definitely handle application with care because if you’re slightly sloppy like me, it can go everywhere. But it’s simple to clean off and doesn’t stain so there’s no need to stress. Honeybush Peach Hand Scrub Cream is a dream for rough, dry, or flaky hands. It smoothes them over by adding oils to the skin, and since it’s formulated with Honeybush Tea (very high in antioxidants) it works as a healthy way to exfoliate and moisturize. (Insider tip: I also tried to use this product out on my elbows and knees, and it worked wonders.)

Silk & Shea Butter Body Lotion consists of an amazing array of ingredients, including organic red bush tea, whole and fractionated shea butter, silk extract, natural almond fragrance, corn starch, and paraben-free preservative. After application, it leaves skin super silky smooth to the touch. Moroccan Menthe Black Soap Body Wash is a rejuvenating treatment for the body that incorporates invigorating essentials mint oils as well as antioxidant-infused green rooibos, antibacterial olive leaf, and South African aloe ferox. It’s great as part of a daily cleansing regimen and can also be used as a weekly face mask.

Last but not least, we have the soap bars. I tried out the Red Bush Chai, Nubian Milk & Honey, and the African Black. Red Bush was on the exotic and invigorating side; Nubian Milk & Honey became my fave as it works well for sensitive-skin ladies like me; and African Black is known to be popular for its ability to help eliminate acne, reduce dark spots, and make skin super smooth.

All of Shea Terra Organics’ formulations are 99.5-100% all natural. No artificial fragrances, fillers, or animal testing are included the production of these products. The item prices range from $5 – $30. For more information, check out www.sheaterraorganics.com.

Originally published September 2006
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