The world is currently observing a growing trend, where an ever increasing number of people are turning towards using natural and herbal products. They are becoming more educated about the unsafe reactions of synthetic items, and are thus moving towards herbal solutions. This Earth Day, we bring you some tips on the best natural beauty products and home-grown organic produce, and where to find them.
Since 2000, Jatra has been promoting Bangladeshi hand woven clothing and hand made craft products. Today through Jatra, countless artisans have the opportunity to make a better and sustainable way of living. In the beginning of 2015, Jatra started a venture called Matir Mela. The idea was to decrease the misuse of earth's natural resources, and find eco-friendly options that guarantee a better world for future generations.
With a view to reducing waste and embracing conscious living, Anusheh Anadil, activist and founder of fairtrade eco craft store, Jatra, collaborated with Saba Humaira Ahmad, environmental activist and blogger, and set out to source locally accessible ingredients and showed an assortment of ways to utilise these in order to live a cleaner life. They came up with the idea of making homemade daily products like toothpaste, shampoo, lotions and cosmetics. Jatra not just sells the raw materials needed to make these items, but also makes handmade lip balm, natural mosquito repellent candles and other sustainable household products, using unrefined organic coconut oil, beeswax, etc sourced from local villages around Bangladesh.
A few of the star ingredients they use:
Also known as chickpea flour, or beshon, this is a traditional cleanser for hands, face, body and hair. It’s effective for removing dirt without upsetting the body’s natural moisture balance.
Usually called reetha in Bangla, soap nuts are actually dried fruit shells, used for thousands of years in Asia and by Native Americans as a natural soap. They are great for washing clothes, and work well as a fabric softener as well. They are mild and hypo-allergenic, making them perfect for those with sensitive skin. They can be reused up to three times before composting them back in nature.
Real coconut oil has been replaced in recent years by refined, chemically processed and diluted commercial versions, that bear little resemblance to the original product. Jatra however, is the first place in Dhaka to sell the real deal.
Natural, cruelty-free products at Jatra
• Shaving kits in wood boxes that come with mini soap for lathering, alum stone for disinfecting and a lotion bar for moisturising.
• Candles made of pure beeswax (plain or with neem or clove) in recycled glass jars, that will burn for at least 16 hours.
• Sachets of kalojeera (nigella seeds) that you can bash lightly, and then inhale to unblock a stuffed nose.
• Recycled glass jars with fabric holders that can be used as a beverage mug.
• Reusable baby diapers/nappies.
• An alum stone (phitkiri) that can be used as an effective natural, stain-free deodorant. A tiny, lightweight, packaging-free cube will last more than a year.
• A lotion bar, which is actually body lotion in a solid bar that you rub over your limbs. It's perfect for dry skin and made with only two quality ingredients: pure beeswax and raw coconut oil.
• A fabric sponge to remove makeup and clean your face. Using this will replace eye makeup remover, face cleanser, rosewater toner, and the disposable cotton pads and Q-tips required to apply these.
With the hope that Bangladesh would not lag behind in appreciating the many benefits of organic production, Dhaka Dough began their journey in November, 2015. They started small but in over a year their popularity grew among Dhakaites.
In order to help promote the country's economy and to focus on long term sustainability, their concept is to obtain only Deshi supplies and make sure that Dhaka Dough's products are as fresh as possible.
Dhaka Dough also has an environment friendly return policy for their food grade containers, and makes sure that they are consistently reusable. Most of their products are sold per gram/kilogram, starting from Tk55.
A variety of grains such as rice flour, kalojeera polaw rice, whole wheat flour, and millet is being offered by Dhaka Dough. The health conscious population has relearned the benefits of unrefined, manually processed, fibre-rich versions and Dhaka Dough is helping “back to school” process.
Dhaka Dough procures their honey directly from the Sundarbans. It is done during the honey hunting season, which is April to June, which is later filtered and poured into wooden containers without any tampering in-between.
Oil and Butter
From coconut oil, mustard oil, sesame oil, almond oil, to flaxseed oil, peanut oil and black cumin, Dhaka is offering a wide range of oil. They are even selling peanut butter on top of their regular butter.
As Dhaka Dough wants their products to be as natural as possible, they try to procure their spices from local sources. The chilli comes from Bogra and turmeric is acquired directly from the hill tracts in Bandarban. The other spices available on their website are mace (joyotri), clove, coriander powder, cardamom, isabgol (psyllium husk), cumin powder, ground cinnamon, and pistachio.
Dhaka Dough also offers a variety of other products, which include:
• bay leaf
• garlic pickle
• date molasses
• almond milk
• lip balm