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Daughter Of The Soil: 100% Natural Skin Care Using Botanicals From Africa

Daughter of the Soil is a premium British brand showcasing African heritage with a range of 100% natural skin care products made from carefully selected African botanical oils rich in nutrients that hydrate, nourish and regenerate the skin. By obtaining their ingredients from sustainable sources and empowering the local women they work with, they ensure they use their brand as a platform for doing good. 

We spoke to the two founders Maria Magembe & Hellen Lawuo-Meena to find out why they chose to use natural African botanicals, the inspiration behind the name and the social impact of the company.

What was the inspiration behind creating Daughter of the Soil?

Maria: The inspiration for creating Daughter of the Soil came from my great-grandmother Onyang, who believed in the benefits of nature. She believed that natural was best – a philosophy that we continue to incorporate within Daughter of the Soil. Despite being widowed at a very young age, Onyang was a focused, enterprising woman who created and sold shea-based products within her community for the treatment of dry skin conditions and beauty care.

My dream is to continue her legacy of nurturing natural beauty by using our brand to showcase a variety of African botanical oils to the world, so that they too can benefit from Africa’s treasures. Beauty oils have become popular over the last few decades in the West, but botanical oils have been used in Africa for centuries to nourish, moisturize and protect the skin. There is a deep affection and respect for these treasured ingredients in the native communities where they originate from: from the tree, to the fruit to the oils. The uses are virtually endless and there are beautiful stories of culture and rituals which we want to celebrate.

Our unique ingredient blends have been inspired by Onyang. It was Onyang’s gift of working with and nurturing nature that made her a daughter of the soil.

Hellen: Daughter of the Soil completes a circle: it showcases some of Africa’s most unique and treasured ingredients so that women can look supremely beautiful on the outside – and it helps us to support the communities who give those treasures to us, so that we can harness their power and beauty from the inside too, and give something back.

Daughter Of The Soil Founders

Daughter Of The Soil Founders Hellen Lawuo-Meena & Maria Magembe

Why was it so important to create a 100% natural skincare range? And why did you choose baobab as one of the key ingredients? 

Hellen: The skin is the most visible organ of the body, so maintaining its overall health is important. Healthy skin is radiant and smooth and can be achieved by making the right choices. We choose natural weapons and strategies to nourish, moisturise and protect the skin you’re in.

There are many benefits associated with using all natural skincare products, from improving the health of your skin to contributing to a safer environment. With high quality, effective natural or naturally-derived skincare alternatives available today, going fully natural was an easy decision for us to make when we were creating our products.

Maria: Our commitment to using 100% natural and naturally-derived ingredients means we stay true to our beauty principles of delivering healthy skin care free from synthetic chemicals which can cause skin irritation or have toxic effects when absorbed. All our products are free from common irritants such as parabens, silicons, petroleum, colourants and synthetic fragrances. And we don’t test our products on animals.

Our luxurious formulas are developed to deliver results and they address the needs of all skin types. Our customers say they love our products because they improve the appearance and texture of the skin and trust them for their families because they are gentle and safe.

One of the hero African botanical oils we use is Baobab oil infused into our luxurious Baobab & Rooibos Body Wash and Body Lotion. Baobab oil is an amazing superfood for the skin! It comes from the seeds of nutrient-dense fruit loaded in vitamins A, C, D and E, essential fatty acids (omega 3,6 and 9) and anti-oxidants and encourages healthy skin regeneration and elasticity. Baobab is found throughout Africa in areas with hot dry climates and we source our Baobab oil from Ghana.

Where did the name Daughter Of The Soil come from?

Maria: The name “Daughter of the Soil” is a phrase that my father often used to describe his four daughters, and it’s a phrase I am still fond of. Growing up in the diaspora, it reminded me of my Ugandan heritage, a landscape that is green and where the soil is immensely fertile.

From that soil grew treasured and unique botanicals that my great-grandmother Onyang used to create nourishing and richly moisturising beauty products that she shared with the women around her. Our unique ingredient blends have been inspired by Onyang and each African botanical that we use has its own heritage story, having been used for centuries by local communities.

What are your favourite products from the range?

Hellen: We love them all but if I had to choose one I would say the ONYANG Collection Shea Body Butter in White Mulberry is my all-time favourite. It is extremely rich and has a gorgeous silky texture that instantly melts into the skin. It is powered by the rarer East African Nilotica Shea Butter variety, a miracle oil with unrivalled moisturising properties.

Maria: At the moment, I can’t get enough of the Baobab & Rooibos Body Wash because it is so refreshing and uplifting! It effectively cleanses and conditions my skin at the same time. I love to follow with a light textured, silky smooth Baobab & Rooibos Body Lotion.

Daughter Of The Soil Beneficiaries

Women beneficiaries from the DOTS Community Project 

Tell us about your Connect the DOTS community project and the social impact behind it… 

Hellen: Despite 70% of workers engaged in agriculture in Africa being women, only 25% of farmers engaged in fair trade are women, meaning millions are still vulnerable to poor farming practices, fluctuating crop demands and buyer exploitation. There is a clear need for an innovative solution to raise living standards and to protect the income of the most marginalised - this is why the Connect the DOTS programme was established. We believe that by educating rural African women farmers and creating opportunities for them to ease their passage into economic participation, this will reduce their vulnerability through increased knowledge of farming and markets, and help them to move out of poverty and contribute to the overall success of their family and community.

The inaugural programme is delivering certified vocational training free at point of delivery for marginalised rural women farmers in Uganda and has been carefully designed to educate and equip them with tools and skills necessary to cultivate the land and create favourable conditions for trade, whilst promoting community led expansion through coaching and key technologies.

We have partnered with Africa Agricultural experts at Harper Adams University - world leaders in sustainable food chains and rural economies – as well as with local African agricultural experts to ensure modules are relevant to unique soils and ecosystems. 

Maria: The Daughter of the Soil Foundation has been established with a vision of building an empowered and thriving community of women across agriculture in Africa. We are creating a network of women farmers supported through entrepreneurship, education and technology and with the aim of broadening their horizons and providing the tools for self-empowerment and efficacy. We hope to create a movement of empowered women, each taking away the vital ability to be the best version of herself .

Where do you see Daughter Of The Soil in 5 years’ time?

Maria: A brand that has skin health, women empowerment and bio-diversity as its conscience and is loved by all for our amazing and effective product range.

Hellen: Recognised in multiple markets and retailers and through the Daughter of the Soil Foundation, having made a real difference to the lives and future of marginalised rural women farmers across Africa.

Find out more on the Daughter of the Soil Website


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