Our Ingredient Sourcing Practices: Bakuchiol Oil
As part of our mission to protect and preserve our natural resources, we at Earthwise Beauty are highly committed to sourcing all our ingredients responsibly and sustainably. We grow our own ingredients when possible, source all our purchased ingredients from reputable growers, and harvest or purchase wildcrafted ingredients only when it is possible to do so in a sustainable manner. When harvesting wild-grown ingredients, we are careful to wait until an appropriate time in the plant’s growing cycle and to leave enough blooms behind for the patch to continue to thrive. When working with outside suppliers, we carefully vet each grower to ensure that they are upholding the highest standards of sustainability, and we work with local, organic suppliers whenever possible.
Many medicinal herbs used in skincare and beauty products are unfortunately vulnerable to overharvesting. For example, bakuchiol has become an increasingly popular ingredient in natural skincare products, but that popularity can come at a cost when companies do not take care to source or harvest their bakuchiol in a responsible, sustainable way. We use a very small amount of bakuchiol (about 1 lb. of extract per year) in our Black Locust Firming Concentrate, but we are extremely careful to work only with a supplier who we have thoroughly vetted to ensure that they are working carefully to protect and preserve this plant.
Our bakuchiol supplier is a well-established international company that prides itself on being ethical and sustainable. The company is in full compliance with the requirements of the National Biodiversity Authority of India and with the Nagoya and Access Benefit Sharing protocol. They collect only the seeds of the babchi plant, and only after they have fallen to the ground—never pulling out the plants to use the roots or trimming the aerial parts, which, if it is done inexpertly, could kill the plant. Their seed-gathering process is monitored by the Indian government to ensure that not too many are gathered from any one site and that the plants are not disturbed during the process.
We have also intentionally chosen to work with a company that is headquartered in India and is close to the ground and immersed in Indian culture and politics, as opposed to ordering imported babchi seeds from a middleman in the United States (who may or may not be inspecting the picking practices in person), because this means our manufacturer is highly invested in preserving their source of babchi seeds. They supervise and oversee the sustainability of the harvesting process, and invest in educating and training their farmers and pickers, because they need to ensure the ongoing health and preservation of the plants or risk going out of business.
Additionally, while irresponsible harvesting of wildcrafted herbs can endanger our natural resources, when it is responsibly managed, wildcrafting can actually have many benefits to the local areas in which the ingredients grow. Using sustainably-wildcrafted herbs that are sourced from local farmers can create a source of income for impoverished populations, and can also bring marketing exposure to medicinal herbs that may have previously been dismissed as unimportant and unworthy of protection. The more we educate the public on the value of these wild medicinal herbs and the ecosystems where they grow, the more people begin to step up and demand that government protect these natural resources. When a plant becomes valued and local and national governments begin to take an interest in regulating its trade and protection, the areas in which it grows become much less likely to be deforested or converted to farmland, and much more likely to be protected as natural preserves.
Earthwise Beauty is all about utilizing the healing gifts of our natural world to nurture our bodies both inside and out, and it is with the utmost gratitude for these gifts that we remain committed to a philosophy of environmental sustainability. You can rest assured that when you purchase an Earthwise Beauty product, each and every ingredient has been painstakingly researched and meticulously sourced to ensure that its creation has done no harm.