Tuesday, 7 May 2019


By Margaretta wa Gacheru (posted May 7 for May 17, 2019)

Tessa Fraser might have been content spending the rest of her life landscaping people’s gardens and riding thoroughbred horses on weekends. After all, she’d grown up surrounded by plants, her father having managed a flower plantation in Naivasha. She’d also grown up surrounded by horses since her mother trained thoroughbreds and taught Tessa how to ride up to a prize-winning standard.
Yet something happened several years back to ensure that wouldn’t happen. She saw how more and more family and friends were getting cancer.
“Then I read a report from the Environmental Working Group (EWP) that said women on average are typically hit by nearly 150 toxic chemicals every day,” says Tessa who started straight away to research ways of making pure and natural skin care products. “I wanted to eliminate that risk [of getting cancer] or at least lighten the load of toxins that hit women directly.”
Reasoning that many women unknowingly use skin care products (such as certain make-ups and synthetic gels made from petroleum) which are detrimental to their health, Tessa says the skin itself is an organ that absorbs chemicals in the atmosphere which go straight into the blood stream.
But if she could create organic skin care products that were 100 percent natural, clean and unadulterated, she knew that could make a difference in many women, and men’s lives.
Tessa didn’t launch Wild Earth Botanics until 2017 although she started her research back in 2015, almost immediately upon her return home from studying and working eight years in South Africa.
“There are a few other natural skin care companies, but most of them ship their products overseas,” says Tessa, noting that Baobab oil is especially popular abroad which is why it’s mostly exported.
She has found that her own Pure Baobab oil is also one of her best-sellers. But so are her Pure Jojoba oil, Pure Moringa oil, Anti-Aging Beauty Balm and Anti-Aging oil ‘for mature skin.’
Having studied the properties of all the plant oils that she packages in glass (“Not plastic,” says Tessa who is a passionate environmentalist), she can tell you all you want to know about the nutritive and rejuvenating value every Wild Earth Botanics product. That includes the oils of moringa, avocado, black cumin seed, jojoba, coconut and baobab among others. And in the case of her Anti-Aging oil ‘for mature skin’, Tessa can detail the virtues of Clary Sage, Lavender, Geranium, Frankincense and Vitamin E, all of which are blended with Baobab oil.
One point that she is particularly proud of is that all the ingredients used in her products are sourced locally. “Kenya is most fortunate for having so many tropical plants,” says Tessa who adds one more positive attribute to her products: “They are all completely traceable, meaning I can trace back every ingredient to its source.”
That is a remarkable statement to make, but that is how well-versed Tessa is in about all her products, be they ‘cold press oils’ or ‘essential oils.’
Explaining that ‘cold press’ is how oils are removed from seeds and pods and ‘essential oils’ are steamed out of herbs and leaves such as rosemary, lavender and lemon grass, Tessa adds that oils are just one of her products. Wild Earth Botanics also makes facial and body blends, balms, pure butters, bath soaps and even organic room sprays.
One of Tessa’s personal favorites is the ‘Facial mister’ which she keeps in her handbag all the time. “If I am stuck in traffic or generally feeling stressed, I can take out the mister and spray my face with refreshing oils,” she says.
To date, Wild Earth Botanics has 40 natural skin and home care products which someone can either buy online at the website or at sales outlets like Spinners Web and Elixir Harmony in Nairobi, farm shops in Naivasha and Nanyuki, and in various lodges and hotels.
It’s easiest is to buy online since Wells Fargo makes door-to-door deliveries and even picks up empty WEB glass bottles and jars which get recycled.
“We give a discount to customers who return the glass,” says Tessa who adds she feels so strongly about environmental issues that she’s taken part in numerous anti-plastic and plastic-pickup campaigns.
Right now, Wild Earth Botanics is still relatively small, and Tessa says she doesn’t mind if it never gets ‘huge’ since she “prefers quality over quantity”. But she does hope her products do have the effect of improving women’s health by helping them have healthier, more beautiful skin.

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