Mexico is a mega biodiverse country, home to approximately 12% of the world’s species. Subsequently, the nation is the center of origin of many plant varieties, several of which have great potential for use within cosmetics. For instance, species like the Agastache Mexicana have fascinating anti-inflammatory properties that promote skin barrier repair. However, such plants are not only of great scientific interest, but their cultivation also creates opportunities for sustainable agriculture in rural areas. Since 2016, Provital has been working with communities in Queretaro, Mexico, to grow botanical cosmetics ingredients sustainably.
Provital’s work with Mujeres y Ambiente
“I’m so happy to work here…I really never imagined how beautiful it would be to do this job with my family. Actually all my daughters are helping me, collecting plants, drying them and making cosmetics. My husband supports me completely, and this project is helpful to other men by giving support to their own wives for work with us in the greenhouse, harvesting wild plants and participating in this project with Provital.
— Rosa Balderas, member, Mujeres y Ambiente.
The Charape-la Joya Ejido, Queretaro, Mexico, is located in what was once the crater of the La Joya volcano. As a result, the area experiences high levels of soil degradation and low rainfall. The community has also experienced socio-economic difficulties due to high rates of migration to the USA amongst men, usually in search of better employment opportunities. Therefore, the community is mostly comprised of women, children and the elderly.
In 2010, Doña Eulalia Moreno, 79, formed the community-based initiative Mujeres y Ambiente (Women and Environment) with her two daughters. With support from the Autonomous University of Queretaro (AUQ), Mujeres y Ambiente was created to improve livelihoods in the community through a cultivation micro-enterprise. Four years after the organization was founded, Provital joined the effort to support their work. In early 2016, Mujeres y Ambiente was legally constituted as a company and became the official supplier of specialist plants and botanicals for Provital.
Natural ingredients and skin barrier repair
Through the sustainable farming of vegetables and medicinal and aromatic plants, Mujeres y Ambiente is helping lift their community out of poverty, promote gender equality, and care for the land. With support from the AUQ and Provital, Doña and her daughters are transforming their community in an environmentally friendly, socially responsible manner.
Moreover, the project is creating a platform for the sharing of traditional knowledge about plants and herbs. One such example is Agastache Mexicana; used by rural communities in Queretaro for centuries, this plant is traditionally brewed as a calming tea. However, research has shown that this plant has remarkable anti-inflammatory properties ideal for sensitive skin. When used as an ingredient in skin care formulas, this plant reduces redness, enhances radiance and promotes skin barrier repair and moisturization in sensitive skin types.
We are very proud that the United Nations Development Program continues to cite our project in Mexico as an exemplary corporate responsibility program. To this day, AUQ and Provital support the community in Charape-la Joya Ejido to cultivate their crops using sustainable techniques. By sharing knowledge about horticulture, materials, and economic planning, this project is continuing to change lives. Together, Mujeres y Ambiente and Provital are harnessing traditional, natural ingredients to make innovative, skin barrier repair formulas, support communities, and protect the environment.