True Moringa: The Future of Natural Skin and Haircare Products
Now that many of us are opting for natural alternatives to our skin and haircare products, we are starting to become aware of the many healing and nourishing ingredients that can be found on this earth. While we may all know of the calming benefits of lavender and the uplifting effects of citrus-based products, there are a myriad of natural ingredients we are yet to learn about. The deeper we dive into the plant, herb and tree world, the more we will discover – how to use plants commonly found in our gardens to make homemade lotions, oils and remedies; how to prepare and dry herbs to include in our diets; how to use the willow tree’s bark to sooth irritated skin.
If you have ever dedicated time to researching the best natural ingredients for skin and haircare and your general health, you may have come across the Moringa tree already. Native to Asia and Africa, the Moringa tree is extremely drought-resistant and fast-growing. Each part of the tree has its own purpose, making it truly worthy of its nickname, the Miracle tree. The leaves are known to be the most nutritious food on the planet and are often made into a powder packed with vitamins and proteins, whereas its flowers, barks and roots are used for their medicinal properties.
When Kwami and Emily, founders of True Moringa – a clean range of beauty products powered by Moringa oil – first learned about the benefits of the Miracle tree in Accra, Ghana, it caused them to reevaluate their previous plans and do a complete 180. Kwami, who studied aerospace engineering at MIT and had always dreamed of becoming a rocket scientist, decided to put his engineering skills to use to combat rural poverty. Emily, who studied development economics at Harvard, decided to put everything she learned to good use by doing the same.
“We met through MIT's D-Lab program which focuses on co-creating solutions to local problems in partnership with communities in developing countries using engineering, business development, and design thinking,” Emily told Fashionomics Africa. “We both chose to travel to Ghana independently. Kwami felt a desire to give back to his home country whereas I had an interest in agriculture-based income generating projects. Our main focus during this initial trip was to listen to and understand the goals of the farming community we were working with. They raised the idea of leveraging moringa - a crop they had been told to plant by Peace Corps and other NGOs for the nutritional benefits of the leaves - to help them earn additional income.”
Upon recognizing the many benefits of the Moringa tree – both in terms of health and income generation – Emily and Kwami decided to change their directions in life somewhat and went on to found True Moringa in 2013. “We both grew up with conventional hair and skincare products - our first foray into the world of natural beauty came when we started to study moringa oil and learn about the harmful effects of certain ingredients used in conventional products. We created a small-scale oil processing system to collect, shell, cold-press, and filter moringa oil seeds in Ghana. Through intercropping, farmers can continue to cultivate crops they are familiar with while diversifying and experimenting with moringa cultivation to supplement their income,” Emily explains.
True Moringa is currently working with 5, 000 small, local farmers, 1451 of which are female farmers. “So many commodities (coffee, cocoa etc.) are exported from developing countries and the value addition happens in Europe or the US. We made a commitment to add value locally in Ghana, which has created 100 non-farm jobs along our supply chain and helped us reach 5000 small farmers throughout Ghana. We prioritize our favorite made-in-Ghana ingredients - moringa (of course), African black soap, cocoa butter, shea butter, and other natural herbs and oils with proven efficacy. All our ingredients are paraben free, sulfate free, and vegan. We work with cosmetic chemists and small batch minority and women-owned formulators and manufacturers to create the final finished products.”
The quality of True Moringa’s range of products speaks for itself – they are wonderfully moisturizing, naturally fragrant and easily absorbed and thus suitable for all skin types. These products help to restore essential fatty acids and antioxidants, bringing a healthy glow to both the skin and the hair. “Our Simplicity Moringa Oil is our hero product and bestseller, but we recently launched a 3 Step Skincare routine including our Magic Black Soap Facial Cleanser, Moringa Mist Hydrating Toner, and Moringa Oil moisturizer which is quickly growing in popularity,” Kwami and Emily beam.
Emily and Kwami are excited about all the ways in which they hope to grow True Moringa’s customer base this year, and consequently, the income of the network of farmers they are currently working with. “We recently launched in Whole Foods and Pharmaca and look forward to growing and meeting new customers through those channels. On the ground, our goal for this year is to expand our organic certified moringa farm (home to the largest solar irrigation system in West Africa) and to go deeper with our current network of 5000 farmers - increasing their moringa acreage and improving the yield per tree. We look forward to a world in which farmers across Africa and around the world can move from poverty to prosperity through underutilized crops like moringa. We're working on new products and programs to make that happen!”