Dr. Stephan Helary's Botanical Beauty, Terres D'Afrique
Have you ever looked into the background of the skincare products you use? Sadly, a lot of us don’t, and we end up supporting brands that don’t value sustainability or follow a specific code of ethics in which they run their business model.. Terres D’Afrique, however, is all about using hand-harvested botanical ingredients from the African continent in a sustainable and ethical manner.
Terres D’Afrique, which translates to “earth of Africa”, is a luxury unisex skincare brand and their products are scientifically formulated to honor the natural potency of its powerful, wild African ingredients. Founder, Dr. Stephan Helary, was born and raised in Madagascar, where he initially found his passion for agriculture, botany, conservation and ecology.
Dr. Helary, a former veterinarian, has always been fascinated about ethnobotany and wanted to contribute to preserving this incredible ancestral knowledge, while making sure it benefits local communities and future generations. When he first launched ten years ago, there were also very few African skincare brands. So for him, bringing these unique and potent wild harvested plants into the market was an exciting challenge.
Situated in South Africa, Dr. Helary has been able to truly focus on the sustainability and ethics essential to him when it comes to his products. Through years of research, he’s been able to work hand-in-hand with African producers and suppliers, who provide the top-quality products and ingredients he needs for Terres D’Afrique.
Says Dr. Helary: “We do not claim any intellectual property rights or exclusivity rights, and we only purchase from sustainable sources." So, who exactly is harvesting the ingredients he uses? Well, there are three main ingredients used in his products: kigelia, baobab and omumburi—all of which are sourced from different areas by community members.
Kigelia is a fruit from a sausage tree, and it’s known to reduce signs of aging, tighten and moisturize the skin, as well as fight off acne and other skin disorders. This is sourced from Malawi by the Tonga community.
Baobab, on the other hand, comes from the seeds of a Baobab tree, which is widely-known as “The Tree of Life.” These seeds contain a translucent oil, which is known to improve skin tone, elasticity, reduce signs of aging, firm the skin and regenerate cell walls. This is sourced from Limpopo by the Venda community.
Omumburi comes from the myrrh family and has been used as perfume for many years by the women in Africa. Woody in scent with a slight citrus tang, not only does this add a fresh smell, but it’s also been known to protect skin from the sun. This is sourced from Namibia by the Himba community.
The Uplifting Serum, in particular, retails for $120 and is made with organically farmed ingredients including kigelia, baobab and buchu. Together, these help with anti-aging, skin tightening, sun spots, dryness and skin firming, where users can see results almost immediately. Suitable for all skin types, this serum is a must.
“The trade of indigenous plant material, whether traditionally used or not, represents a great opportunity for these populations to generate income during the dry season during which they cannot grow crops," says Dr. Helary. "This additional seasonal income is often higher than traditional income coming from standard agriculture, allowing these families to access education and healthcare and also to purchase land and build proper homes. Our aim is to empower these women we collaborate with.”
Terres D’Afrique is certified organic and is fair trade, belonging to the Southern African Natural Products Trade Association. Ethically sourced materials make up for much of the brand’s elements, which can be seen through Dr. Stephan Helary’s priorities.