Monday, August 6, 2012

Fair Trade Lip Balm is not just slang for some kissing

I am an addict, and my drug of choice is lip balm.  While addiction really isn't a laughing matter, if I was trapped in a mine, lost in a hidden chamber of the Pyramid of Khufu, fell into a time capsule just before it was sealed, or didn't make it back from Pompeii with the Doctor and Donna, the archeologist who found me centuries from now would think that were the case judging by the amount of the stuff I'd have in my possession.  I currently have a tube of lip balm in each of the three purses I frequently use, (probably two in the one I used yesterday,) one in the pocket of the jeans I am wearing, 2-3 tubes or pots of lippy things at work, (one in my work basket, one in my lunch cubby, and possibly one I left in the top drawer by the cash register), a pot of lip butter in a bedside table, and several assorted tubes of gloss, balm, and vitamin E sticks in the bathroom.  That doesn't count lipstick, I own 3 of those.

"Fascinating, now get back to the thing about kissing!" you say.  Okay!
According to the (also addictive) Urban Dictionary,
Fair Trade lip balm:   When your lip balm transfers to the lips of who you are kissing.  (A fair trade, a kiss for some lip balm.)

Apparently I'm not alone in my addiction either.  The only difference being that I don't want to quit, I just want to use more responsibly.  I have been all too prone to picking up the cheap and dangerous "street" varieties found at check-out counters when I realize I have run out of the house without some and find myself with dry lips.  Luckily, there are lots of excellent lip products which are Fair Trade in the socially just sense and also really quite nice, whether you have a serious problem like me, or just want to know where to get some in case you need it in the future.

Today's feature: Shea Lip Butter from Ele Agbe, Ghana
Shea tree, Ghana,
Ele Agbe is a Ghanian phrase meaning "God is Alive".  Founded in 1996, Ele Agbe makes ornamental beads, jewelry designs, and home decor and in 1999 they added handcrafted shea butter cosmetics to their product line.  Employing some 50 artisans, all young adults and most of them women, the organization also offers training programs for under-educated youth.  Artisans use traditional Ghanaian tools and methods and the highest quality materials available, including locally sourced shea nuts.  Shea products are traditionally used in Ghana for a wide variety of purposes, including moisturizing, cooking, and as an anti-inflammatory.
Shea nuts,
At Ele Agbe, artisand pass on their skills to younger generations, conducting workshops fro school groups and accepting apprentices from throughout Ghana,  The orgnaization also promotes female artisans by:
  • Assisting women in rural areas to undertake productive activities.
  • Helping to establish network of rural women businesses to add value, improve standards, share knowledge and enhance technology.
  • Delivering practical solutions to help rural women to start and sustain business ventures.
  • Providing support on business development services including coaching, mentoring, joint marketing and outsourcing.
  • Providing avenue for the sale and distribution of products of rural and vulnerable women producers.

Fresh Shea butter,
In collaboration with Ten Thousand Villages, Ele Agbe has created three super-rich shea lip butters packed with moisturizing shea and cocoa butters, as well as apicot kernel, jojba, coconut, and mango oils.  Available in ContentMint, Citrus Medley, and my favorite for summer, Tropical Bliss, which has a touch of myrrh essential oil that makes summer smooching slightly more sultry.

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