We all know that what you eat affects the look and feel of your skin so shouldn’t the same apply to what you put on your skin as well? Well, it does, and one farm in Thailand is breathing new life into the term ‘food for beauty’.
Happy Earth is a small, certified organic farm in Uthaithani, Thailand that make 100% natural, chemical-free and biodegradable body care products the traditional way, which means they only use fruits, leaves, and seeds from plants grown on the farms within their organic farming community. The best part is, you can eat it, too.
Through everything that they do, Happy Earth spread their “live, learn and grow with Mother Earth” mantra to inspire change and reconnect with Mother Nature. Thet passion for both their products and the world under their feet was felt during every moment of this interview and left us very much inspiring. The delved into the unique farming methods, why their best seller is called ‘No-Poo’ and gave us a very down-to-earth breakdown of what natural really means.
GITNG: Natural products are everywhere today. What defines your brand and makes it stand out from the rest?
Happy Earth: So, we actually have our own farm where we grow our own ingredients and we turn them into products. That’s why we’re saying that we’re not just natural products, but we’re beyond natural and beyond organic because we control the process from the start to the end. And everything is edible.
Also, our farm is not just an organic farm, we practice natural farming. We just like letting nature take care of everything. There are no chemicals, no fertilizers, no pesticides, no preservative from the herbs, no nothing added.
Did you say your products are edible?
Yes. Have you seen our Instagram? We are trying to redefine the definition of clean beauty. So a lot of products state that they’re 100% natural and that there are no nasty ingredients – but would the owner or the founder dare eat it? If not, then how clean is the product? How do you even define clean? Because even with organic certification, it still allows for some form of chemicals and that’s not a product that we stand for.
We embody and stand the same philosophy as the way our lives used to be before all these chemical-filled shampoos, conditioners, and body-washes existed, which is to learn, live and grow with mother earth. In this way, we find truth in the old way of living. We went back and traced how things were done, and so our products are based on the traditional ways of living in the way people used food for their hair, their body, etc by taking leaves from the trees and rubbing it against their bodies, even the rice powder. In the past, when people cleaned rice and soaked rice in the water, afterward there would be a thin layer of white water on top of it so they would put their hand in the water and put it on their face.
What effect does this have on shelf life?
Actually, it depends on each product. For powder products, like rice powder and mung bean powder, it’s not really edible until you cook it. For the rest of it, it’s good as long as it doesn’t turn moldy or it doesn’t get humid. Actually, the No-Poo Head to Toe Wash, its shelf life is 1.5 years because it contains a high amount of essential oils that are actually in the peel of the kaffir lime. It’s so concentrated that it doesn’t turn moldy on its own. You can always keep it in the fridge too and that would extend the shelf life because essentially, it’s just food. So as long as it doesn’t get moldy or it doesn’t smell like any spoilage then it’s still fine.
So what does natural really mean when it comes to skin or body care and why is it better?
Let’s start with why it’s not good to go with unnatural things. As we know, the shampoo and body care industry is built from the fact that companies want to earn money, they’re profit-driven. And also, the easiest way to make the most back is to basically use chemicals because it’s cheap, it’s available, and you can control the quality. It’s also easy to make it in mass. That’s why there are so many chemicals in shampoo and body care products, and as a result, all these chemicals get into our skin. It’s really harsh and so many of them seep into our skin just like a lot of sunscreen products absorb into our skin as well. Did you know 60-80% of whatever is on our body is absorbed? So you start to see that chemicals are seeping into your skin. It’s no different than eating it and that’s it’s causing so many of the issues that we are facing nowadays, like skin sensitivities, allergies, etc.
I come from a nutritional background, so I used to practice holistic nutrition. So, these issues that are surfacing, like hormone issues, hormone imbalance, skin allergies, IBS, etc., all these things can be partially traced down to the products that we use. It’s not just us, it comes down to our kids too. If a mother uses all these skincare products and everything gets re-absorbed then it goes through to the kids through pregnancy and lactation. So, the sphere of all these things that’s happening is really huge right now and that’s why there’s a need to come back to nature.
Natural is bringing back that connection between us and earth because essentially we and earth are one. Everything can wash off to the earth, to the sea, to the sand, to the ocean and as a result, if we continue to use all products with chemical, it’s not just us that’s like harming ourselves, it’s also us that’s harming the earth. It’s not just the earth, a lot of fish are dying because of the sunscreen that we put on our body and also microplastics.
So what is the difference between natural, organic and non-toxic and all these terms when it comes to skincare?
A lot of them are just marketing terms it’s sad to say, and people now associate all these terms with certain traits or certain characteristics of the products. Obviously, there are some facts inside of that but still a lot of consumers who are not educated associate these terms with certain things. I really, really encourage everyone to go back and look at the labels and out what exactly is in there. If you can pronounce all of the ingredients then you know what exactly it is.
A lot of the things can be hidden as well, like when they say ‘perfume’, what exactly is perfume? Is it artificial perfume or natural essential oil and where does the natural oil come from and is it certified organic? Also, if it’s labeled certified organic, are all the ingredients certified organic or just some. A lot of consumers may not notice unless they take a closer look in that. I’m just inviting everyone to do research on what they purchase, and it’s like voting with your money, you know?
And most importantly, how transparent is the company that makes all these things. Do they allow farm visits, do they tell about the producers, do they give the faces of who these people are? We are a 100% transparent, so we allow everyone to come and join our farm tour, it’s just a little forest Thailand, a four-hour drive from Bangkok and there’s no train, there’s no plane. The whole province has only one supermarket.
From farm-to-face, what is the production process of your products?
It’s simple. We grow our own crops – we grow the rice, the beans, the kaffir limes, the bai mee (soap tree leaf) and the som sah (bitter orange) – and then we boil, mix and blend everything and then re-boil and re-mix and then bottle, that’s it. We even hand grind the jasmine rice powder for our face masks and mung bean powder for our body scrubs. We post in our Instagram how our products are made.
What are your best sellers?
It’s the No-Poo Head to Toe Wash because it is very different from any other products out there in the market. Apart from being 100% No-Poo and edible, it is made with only 3 ingredients (limes, orange, and leaves) with zero preservatives, chemicals or anything thing else. And as a matter of fact, when you use it, it feels like you are soaking your whole body with essential oil from the kaffir limes which is super clean and refreshing. In addition, its usage is very versatile. You can use it for Curly Girl method co-wash or No-Poo shampoo. It is great for dry, sensitive, irritable skin and scalp because it is oil based, it doesn’t take away your natural body oil. You can use it as shampoo, hair conditioner or body wash. You can also mix it with other shampoos, baking powder, or mung bean powder or adjust the amount the way you like it. In fact, we have had clients who use it to deal with athletes foot or body odors too. And apparently, it works pretty well.
We have to ask, where does No-Poo revolution come from?
No-Poo is actually a movement that has been growing lately. And it exists because people have been asking for another way to live without heavily relying on chemicals in their personal care products. In some sense, what we realize is that there is a need to go back to the pre-poo way of living when no shampoo, conditioner or soap existed…
Do you feel that Thailand is on par with neighboring countries in terms of sustainability?
Sustainability has been very much promoted by the late King and through a lot of his initiatives that promoted small and local farmers, it aligned with a lot of things that are being promoted nowadays. So we actually started a long time ago, like 20 or 30 years ago but the process is just coming along now. Also because Thailand is a huge producer in that we grow a lot of things and then we eat what we grow. It’s been embedded in our culture for a long time.
But sometimes we get bombarded by the media and they tell us our products need to have this and that, and that people like bubbles so some farmers get on to that route they start to forget their roots. It’s always a balancing act of trying to get them back on track and like and some people are already on track, but they aren’t so sure. Organically, Thailand is sustainable but because of all these new world media tactics, we have lost our faith in the natural world. So our job is to bring that back and I believe Thailand has a lot of potential, we have a lot of resources, we have a lot of people who are into sustainability, community, learning, knowledge-sharing, etc., so it’s coming.
Aside from the products you produce, what are your dreams for the future made up of?
Okay, so as our philosophy goes – learn, live and grow with mother earth, we don’t just like the start point of the product, it’s just it’s easy, accessible to everyone in the future. That’s also what we’re trying to promote, we’re trying to bring everyone to the farm, like to exchange the whole philosophy and interpret what nature is like for them, what organic is, what natural farming is for them. So, in the future we would love to create a whole big movement, a community of people who are actually into “No-Poo”, and like who following this happy earth lifestyle.
Another thing it has to be as, like it can be any lifestyle that gets along with just using no chemicals, chemical-free, sustainable practice, like organic practice, natural farming. We are actually like, our farm, we always try to encourage people to come and visit us, it’s just so far that nobody has ever come along yet.
Learn more about Happy Earth Farm and the products they make by following them on Facebook and Instagram. You can also use the code “MotherEarth” for 10% off until the end of this month when you shop on their website.