The Story of our Hand Salve
The story of our Hand Salve begins long before the finished product appears on our shelves. While only containing two ingredients, each one is a result of a unique and labour intensive process, taking place right here on our farm and across the ocean in Togo, West Africa.
We distill the lavender essential oil for our Hand Salve over the course of two weeks in August. Hand-harvested with the help of a hedge trimmer and small tractor for transport, the lavender is taken from the field to our distilling shed before being packed into the still for the oils and hydrosols to be extracted (learn more about the process here.)
Once the distillation is complete, the oil is stored in air tight bottles and left to age for at least six months before being further evaluated for use in our products.
For the Hand Salve base, we use certified Fair Trade, organic, unrefined shea nut butter. An amazingly soothing and restorative moisturizer, it has no added chemicals, colouring agents, additives or preservatives, and has not been bleached or deodorized.
But the process of harvesting and extracting the butter is even more impressive than what it can do for your skin; it takes 20-30 hours to produce just one kilogram of shea nut butter.
The women in Togo walk 15 kilometres up the road to reach the shea trees and begin the harvest of their fruit. The butter is extracted from each kernel by boiling, sun-drying and roasting it, before being crushed by hand with rocks to produce a smooth paste. The butter is washed with warm water until clean, then fully dehydrated.
As it is a process done completely by hand, there are occasionally small kernel fragments left in the butter, which may even make it into a tin or two of our Hand Salve - one of the imperfect occurrences of handmade products!
It's also a process that is incredibly hard work, and we make sure to purchase certified Fair Trade. This ensures a fair price was paid for the shea nut butter, and that equal employment opportunities, safe working conditions and sustainable environmental practices are in place.
For our Hand Salve, the journey to the tin is a long one, but it's a journey that is more than worth it. With just two exceptional ingredients, it packs a seriously restorative and moisturizing punch, proving that skin care products don't have to be complicated to work!
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