Let's take this opportunity of new world of more hygiene and self-care and introduce you to one of my favorite things; sustainability. On this episode, sustainable handmade coconut soaps and the cherry on top, they're locally made with and for the community!
One of the only people that gets to do what they love and make a living off it is the owner of the coconut factory in our Tofo/ Inhambane area and if I were not already lucky enough to work with my partner doing what we enjoy, I would probably tear apart every use of the coconut as well! It is so clever, since they're are coconuts in numbers so high and so cheap, you basically get them thrown at you! And the coconut is such a power food. It is so versatile and you can make use of every inch of the process and get something out of it. So let's stick to our traditional manner and dive deep into the topic.
The fact that the coconut tree (Cocos nucifera) is not really a not is a fairly well known fact nowadays. The "seed" or "fruit" is a drupe, which in botany means that the fruit is surround by a sort of outer flesh. The name actually comes from the Spanish language meaning "head" since the three wholes can resemble a face. Humans wanting too see familiar and understandable things is a common behavior called pareidolia. It’s a psychological phenomenon that causes the human brain to see facial features to random patterns. and therefore not surprising. Could you imagine the name being anything different, though? Me neither.
The tree is one of the most significant trees since it has so many benefits. From a survival perspective, it starts with the leaves already that can easily be weaved into shelter or other useful tools. The outer part of the fruit provides fire starter and then the fruit itself has all kinds of different uses. Starting with the obvious water, then the fruit to eat, then the shell to make tools with. You have the opportunity to grate it and get coconut flakes, flour, sugar, milk as well as oil. With the oil you can go ahead and process even further into all kinds of natural beauty and care products or simply use it to cook. I personally have a bit of coconut oil and cinnamon mixed into my morning coffee and it makes all the difference. It is crazy to think that we have such a power tree to hand and take it for granted as well. Researching and crafting DIY projects just make me feel so motivated. There seems to be something so pure about this tree that whenever something has coconut in it, I am already sold. So when I learned that there was a lovely woman named Marie, who took all my thoughts and put them into one factory a while ago, I had to learn more and I am so happy to be able to test out products and write about them here.
I will later on introduce you to the factory and all they do, however, this one will focus on the new arrivals of coconut products: SOAPS. And what a timing, now more than ever everyone is more interested and aware of their personal hygiene and what better to use than organic and environmental friendly soaps?
That is why I figured, we will just try out the soaps and share our opinion here as well as of course with the company for real customer reviews. After all, soap is not soap and every skin reacts different to a different type. I personally have very sensitive oily skin on my face meanwhile other parts of my face and body are more on the dry side. It has always been a hassle to find and stick to the ONE type of facial. Anyway lets get soapy....
As you can see above, these are the soaps to choose from with a variety of goods in the soaps to choose from as well as nuances that the natural ingredients color the bars in. It was sort of a test run to try the soaps out and be able to review to the factory as well as this blog article. Now, of course the behavior of each soap will be different on every person so this is only our experiences with the bars.
I specifically was looking forward for this one as my skin had accepted clay in soaps in the past very well. This soap bar is simple coconut oil and clay with naturally included exfoliating particles. The exfoliating function is not for sensitive people and skin as it is quite rough but I liked it. My face however did not agree with me and I had to switch up the usage from my face to more the oily areas of my body to exfoliate the areas there and it was great. This was my first ever soap bar that I managed to use up! It doesn't have a smell, only a natural fragrance that is more on the earthy side.
I have been a fan of natural curd soaps since I was a child and my grandfather used it. I still remember that smell and if just makes me happy. I love that literal squeaky clean feeling and my skin agrees with that too! The activated charcoal, tea tree & coconut oil soap bar is a gift from the soap gods! It seems to be the perfect combination of ingredients for my oily skin in face and other areas that are prune to outbreaks. I use it every morning and every night and my skin has been super thankful as well. It might have been too drying for more ashy areas of face and body but it is worth a shot! It gave a decent amount of foam while using and I mention it, because many combine the foam with a feeling of cleanness, too. The little pattern is a bonus to look at it and mirrors the fabulousness The fragrance is subtle but you do smell the tea tree oil, and let's be honest, who doesn't like the smell of that?
This soap bar combines everything a coconut can offer. Not only the natural oils but also the flesh in form of desiccated coconut shreds that work as exfoliation. This one might be a good substitute to the clay soap, as it is much more sensitive. I personally used it on a wash cloth to wash the whole body. It is not very specially made for dry or oily skin and might be exactly for someone in between. I didn't use it on my face, therefore cannot comment on that but on my body it worked out fine. The exfoliating shreds were visible on the soap itself but once in use, it was not as strong and might be something for more sensitive skins. I also felt that the shreds were blocking the soap from its full potential of foaming up. There was almost no smell or fragrance which might be a good choice for people that are prune to headaches or migraines.
The simple coconut oil soap bar was also tried out by Robert, who might represent all the people that don't know their skin type and never experienced any special outbreaks or reactions to anything. They are gifted with robust skin that can take on situations and treatments without showing any signs of happiness or sadness. A simple and yet effective soap with a lot of Potential to foam up and leave a nice and clean feeling afterward.
This soap bar was not used by me and I should've halved it to try out properly. The feedback that Robert had to give was it smelled nice and was very sensitive on his skin. He appreciated the amount of foam it would make and used it up in no time!
As for the other products as well as the soaps, the production process of the Virgin Coconut Oil is cold-pressed. According to their website it "is an extremely versatile and healthy product. It can be used for cooking, diets, cosmetics (skin and hair), and as a natural remedy for both humans and animals."
The factory is located in the rural districts of the Municipality of Inhambane, Mozambique. We use modern stainless steel equipment to ensure commercial quality. The production process involves merely opening of the coconut, grating it, drying it and pressing it. It takes about one hour from the opening of each coconut to its pressing. The oil is packaged directly in our lab at the factory. The production process and storage and packaging follow sanitary and quality standards and best practices to ensure that the oil you buy from us is of the highest quality.
100% Organic and Fair trade: Our oil is made from the freshest coconuts. These are procured at the fairest price in the market from about 100 small farmers within a radius of 10 Km and picked at most 5 days before processing . No chemicals, additives or preservatives are added to our oil.
Environmentally friendly: The production is a zero-waste one since the husks, the shells, the water and the meat are used for production and/or commercialized. No chemicals are used during the process and very little electrical power - just for grating the coconuts and lighting - is required. It uses recycled and sterilized glass packaging also bought from the community. Only caps are bought new.
Visit the Boa Gente website to learn more about their background and work.