Spreading Clean Beauty

An African angle on well-being: The Ubuntu philosophy for optimum life

Consumers are placing increasing importance on holistic well-being and optimum life. Personal care plays an integral role, especially as the beauty market in the West becomes increasingly influenced by traditional, back-to-nature rituals and ingredients. Now, it’s products that feature traditional medicinal favorites alongside self-care rituals that will stand out. 

However, beauty isn’t only about the individual. Consumers are increasingly concerned about the environmental and social impact of their purchase decisions, especially after the pandemic.

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Therefore, brands need to develop products with three key requirements in mind: highlight well-being, using natural ingredients and prioritizing social and environmental responsibility. Eastern influences like TCM and Ayurveda are already popular, however, brands can differentiate themselves by looking to Africa. Here, we explain more about optimum life and well-being as conceived by the Ubuntu culture.

Striving for optimum life in Ubuntu culture

Life is the supreme value in traditional African societies. This is expressed via respect for humanity, one’s own, and that of others. The basis of this concern for human life is the African belief in the dignity of every human being. A philosophy based on the understanding that the life of each one of us is deeply linked to that of others. 

This attitude prioritizes common well-being as an intrinsic part of individual health, a belief embodied in their popular saying “Umuntu, nigumuntu, nagamuntu” which in Zulu means “a person is a person because of others.” We are human because we belong to a community.

It is scientifically proven that humans are social beings; living in a community has benefits for our physical and mental health. Studies show that close emotional connections improve immune function and the regulation of stress hormones. Equally, physical contact releases dopamine and oxytocin, hormones related to happiness, linking community to individual well-being.

Integrating African philosophies to create compelling product stories

This perspective on optimum life, well-being, and community presents an intriguing storytelling opportunity for cosmetics and personal care brands. By developing products linked to African trees and fruits, they can highlight the origin of the Ubuntu motto – and subsequently, speak to consumers’ key demands. The concept is win-win; what’s good for your body, is good for the planet and our communities.

Complemented with actions that support community development and biodiversity, brands can make a meaningful appeal to consumers’ desire for optimum life. Provital’s Kigelia africana extract is an example of an active ingredient that resonates with this multi-layered narrative. This water-soluble ingredient has purifying, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and healing properties thanks to its composition rich in flavonoids and tannins. Sustainably sourced via our commitment to a circular economy, this extract is ideal for products seeking to tap into this story.

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Provital is consistently developing natural, sustainable ingredients that speak to this expansive concept of well-being. In our free, inspirational guide ‘Rituals of the world for happiness,’ we share more rituals from diverse cultures, matched with the relevant natural ingredients. With this resource, you can develop unique narratives for your products and formulas.

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