There are natural skincare brands, then there is Essence of Humanity—a Kiwi-born brand developed by award-winning skincare creator, Stacey Fraser, who played a key role in the success of iconic natural beauty brand, Trilogy.
What makes this brand special, beyond its divine formulations is that 100 percent of its profits directly benefit charity projects in Kenya and Tanzania; specifically those that help children and families escape poverty. Essence of Humanity is natural skincare with a social conscience.
With ingredients such as kalahari melon seed, baobab oil, mongongo, kiwi fruit seed oil and sunflower seed oil, the brand also gives back to the skin, feeding it while warding off free radicals thanks to its high antioxidant qualities.
The hero ingredient, kalahari melon seed oil, is intensely nourishing and excellent for all skin types. It is quickly absorbed and won’t clog pores. It also contains a high content of linoleic acid, which assists in the removal of excess sebum.
I had to know more about the Essence of Humanity history and what its plans are for the future, so caught up with Stacey to find out about the brand that puts the greater good before profit…
Can you tell me a little bit about your background in skincare?
I have always loved skincare products and keeping my skin as healthy as possible. My beautiful grandmother had a facial once a month until she was into her 80’s and she glowed. In 2001, I moved into natural health and wellbeing, retraining as a massage therapist, herbalist and learning aromatherapy. That’s when I meet the girls at Trilogy. The company has just started and Sarah was doing a training at the health store I worked at. She had such energy and belief in the products and I loved everything about the brand. They were looking for a support person, and 17 years later I still love working in the natural beauty industry.
Trilogy was a natural skincare trailblazer in many ways. What was the journey like?
It was unreal! To think that the only other commercial natural competitive brand at the time was Living Nature. Natural beauty products were only sold in health stores and only a few consumers really used them. Trilogy lead the way in creating breaking new ground for the natural skincare movement and creating new natural skincare categories in pharmacies and Farmers, making it become “mainstream.”
Because it was a small team of three we did everything and as the business grew you learned new skills and experiences, so by the end of my time at Trilogy I had seen and experienced everything about a start-up brand to multi-million global dominator. It was an amazing education.
What do you think of the influx of natural skincare now?
It’s really good, we are such a creative little country and so good at what we do. There are some really exciting and leading brands coming out of New Zealand. As long as they keep it fresh and new, we have so much variety that innovation and difference is the key to consumer purchasing.
How do you tell people to understand good skincare from the not so good?
At the end of the day it’s personal preference, but a big key to knowing what makes up your product is being able to read an ingredients list and making sure the product is commercially stable and safe. Anything with water needs a broad spectrum preservative if you want it to last; moulds, yeasts and fungus can be dangerous.
What inspired you to create Essence of Humanity?
The desire to create products that we use on a daily basis, can love and enjoy, but that also directly contribute to making a change in our world. Every surplus dollar goes towards our giving partner So They Can, a non-profit working with communities and governments in Kenya and Tanzania to break the poverty cycle by educating and empowering locals. They focus on education, economic and community
development and personal wellbeing.
It’s a win-win, you get the product and someone on the other side of the world gets the love and support for a better life.Much nicer than having to just put “money” in a bucket all the time.
How do you even begin a big project like this?
I had met Cass co-founder of So They Can a long time ago and we had become friends. Her passion to make a difference was so inspiring I just knew we had to do something together. I’ve visited Africa first hand and it was a life changing experience, I also have a foster child so I know they challenges we also have here in NZ for our children in need.
What have you learned so far?
Everyone who purchases our products love and buy again BUT we need more people to reach out too and join our family. Only collectively can we do this together. It’s hard to make a loud noise in a busy space, on a minimalist budget, everything we do is at minimal cost. I run Essence of Humanity from my home to save money. I make meals for people or bribe them with chocolate to help with design, marketing etc and it’s been amazing how many people have contributed pro-bono because they also believe in what we are trying to do.
How have you seen the brand change lives so far?
At the moment we are in the process of sponsoring a House Mother from Miti Mingi Village , the house is called Satinwood. Jepchirchi is our house mother who looks after her 8 children in this house. Two of the children in this house are Chenagna’t and Kansur, sisters from East Pokot in Kenya. East Pokot is a community So They Can has recently expanded into. It is the poorest community of 263 counties in the whole of East Africa with terrible poverty, child bride sales and female circumcision issues. Chenanga’t is in class 5 Lion of So They Can‘s Aberdare Ranges Primary School and Kansur is in kindergarten, elephant class.
They arrived at our Miti Mingi Children’s village last year, extremely malnourished, medically unwell, not speaking kiswahili as they spoke only their tribal language. They are now doing so well, have blended beautifully at Miti Mingi and at Aberdare, and are full of smiles.
What are your favourite products from the range and why?
There’s only four, so can I say all of them? The Ultimate Softening Cream Cleanser to take away all of the day’s dirt and leaving my skin soft and clean, the Moisture Cream that absorbs easily leaving a matte finish and the precious facial oil where I have expertly crafted seven exotic plant oils to create an amazing powerhouse of nutrients and fats with the most subtle natural fragrance called NZ Fresh African Happy☺ The Cream Balm the first ever fusion of a cream and a balm to get the best of both worlds and multipurpose product.
Where can people buy Essence of Humanity?
If you could share some advice or wisdom, what would it be?
Imagine if everything we purchased was tied to a social cause.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Thanks for sharing the Essence of Humanity love – together we can all “make a difference” x