Born from ongoing homesickness and a desire to use powerful, wild-grown and sustainable ingredients from South Africa, African Botanics was founded in 2012 by LA-based South African couple Julia and Craig Noik. The lush products (from rich Marula oils to scrubs and seaweed-infused serums) are each a little love letter to their country, its people and connection to nature. Right now, the brand is donating 20% of proceeds from each purchase to Baby2Baby—an organization that provides necessities to families with young children in need.
Self-care and skincare are commonly conflated, but there are many ingredients used in African Botanics products that go beyond beauty—from invoking aromatherapy to stimulating skin cells. “The majority of our ingredients have an amazing ability to enhance the skincare experience in a multi-functional way,” Julia tell us. “African Buchu plant, Cape Chamomile, Resurrection plant and Devils Claw can stimulate and reinvigorate the skin while targeting inflammation and calming skin irritations. These particular plants also have very distinct aromas that are so evocative they can transport your senses almost anywhere. They add a wonderful dimension to our rituals.”
Dedication to unique, powerful ingredients is central to the brand’s overarching goal—which is also focused on Fair Trade practices supporting small communities and protecting the environment. “We want to showcase the legacy of some of the most unique ingredients and capture the pristine environment they came from. We greatly value, respect and appreciate the people that are harvesting and processing our ingredients. We support biodiversity and nature’s conservation lands by working with rural communities that responsibly produce our ingredients,” she tells us.
The duo travels to South Africa often, meeting producers all over the country—as their diverse ingredients come from plants growing in various regions. Julia explains “Baobab fruit extract and oil comes from the northern area of South Africa, Rooibos tea and Buchu come from the mountain estates of the Western Cape, Marula oil comes from our single reserve which is located at the Word Heritage Site.” The ingredient that they believe to be the hero of the brand is that wild-grown Marula oil, which is quickly absorbed into the skin and calms redness, but its benefits run deeper than aesthetics. “It is highly anti-inflammatory and is known for its very high antioxidant count,” Julia says.
This month, the brand is releasing three new products for the body: Cafe Noir Body Exfoliant, Svelte Cream and Jardin Sauvage Botanical Body Cream. Each one has been formulated with “a precise focus on wellbeing and restoration that is more than skin deep. The ingredients have been chosen for their therapeutic benefits that create a sensorial feel as well.” For example, the exfoliant is made with “pure caffeine and black coffee beans to help stimulate the skin” and essential oils “Cape Rose Geranium, African Buchu leaf, Cypress and Bergamot help tone, soothe and enhance the mood.” The Svelte Cream includes mustard sprout extract and capsaicin (a chili pepper extract) which “increases lymphatic drainage and microvascular circulation.”
There’s a certain earnest charm infused in the brand due to the founders’ affection and yearning for their motherland—and their desire to highlight some of its glory beyond its borders. As Julia concludes, “The goal was to showcase the legacy of some of the most unique ingredients and capture the pristine environment they came from.”
Images courtesy of African Botanics