The Body Shop: Pioneering Ethical Beauty Products

Explore The Body Shop's history of pioneering ethical beauty products, from White Musk and Body Butter to Dewberry Oil and the iconic Bath Pearls. Learn about Anita Roddick's vision for a fairer, more beautiful world.

The Body Shop: Pioneering Ethical Beauty Products

The Body Shop was decades ahead of its time when environmental and human rights campaigner Anita Roddick founded it in a backstreet shop in Brighton in 1976. She demanded that all products be ethically sourced and cruelty-free, and customers were encouraged to bring their bottles back to the store to be refilled to reduce plastic waste.

Roddick’s vision – and products – were a hit worldwide. She argued that “businesses have the power to do good” and should “exist to fight for a fairer, more beautiful world” – as well as make money. Customers were mobilized in a series of campaigns to pressure governments, which led to changes to animal testing laws in 22 countries.

Within a few years, The Body Shop brand was a household name, and its products were proudly displayed in bathrooms in the UK and around the world. And, perhaps uniquely at that time, many were used by men as well as women.

Iconic Products

  1. White Musk: In 1981, The Body Shop launched the white musk range, becoming the “signature scent of a generation” with a blend of “clean aldehydes, jasmine absolute, lily of the valley and sensual musk” designed to produce a “clean and floral fragrance [that] awakens sensuality and confidence”.
  2. Body Butter: Introduced in 1992, inspired by women in Ghana using shea butter for generations, Body Butter became a sensation, offering nourishment to dry skin. The name was coined by Roddick’s daughter, who likened it to “butter … for your body.”
  3. Dewberry Oil: This warm summer berries scent gained such popularity that its discontinuation sparked petitions. Online outlets now label it a bestseller, noting its beauty and scarcity.
  4. Bath Pearls: A nostalgic product from the 1980s, recently making a comeback on TikTok, these pearls dissolved in water, releasing fragrant oils and transforming the bathing experience.
  5. Loofah Sponges: Credited with popularizing loofahs for skin exfoliation and cleansing, The Body Shop sourced them from vine-growing luffa plants, part of the gourd family. You can even grow your own with a guide from the Natural History Museum.

Keywords

The Body Shop , Ethical Beauty , Anita Roddick , White Musk , Body Butter , Dewberry Oil , Bath Pearls , Loofah Sponges

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