The Unique Hydrating Powers of Ucuuba
This powerful Amazonian seed has changed lives: of those who use it for its skincare benefits and of those who cultivate it for their livelihood.
As the colder, dryer months approach, Natura is pleased to bring a new and more potent vegan line of products derived from the seed of the ucuubeira, a tree native to the floodplains of the Amazon.
Discovering the Power of Ucuuba
The full cosmetic potential of the Ucuuba was first identified by our researchers 14 years ago. The seeds and their butter were studied thoroughly for a decade before our R&D team was able to incorporate the butter into skincare products.
The surprising formulas of the new Ucuuba range combine a high hydration power with an incredibly light texture. Ucuuba butter is loaded with essential fatty acids that improve elasticity and firmness for all skin types in pleasingly lightweight formulas.
For hundreds of years, the ucuubeira has played an important role in indigenous communities. In particular, shamans relied on the hallucinogenic attributes of the tree’s bark for their rituals. The oil from the fruit and seeds was long appreciated as a healing ointment for wounds. The plant-based butter was also used to replace animal tallow in soap-making. But these traditional uses for the tree were threatened as loggers began to prize its strong but lightweight wood for making variety of products including broomsticks, stakes and door frames. The local people earned income from cutting down the trees and greatly depleted this unique resource. Even today, the tree is one of the most exported internationally.
Understanding the power of the Ucuuba, Natura developed a product range from the fruit's butter and currently teaches communities to value the tree’s seeds. Now they harvest and sell the Ucuuba seeds, which guarantee more freedom and financial independence to them.
“...if we kill the tree, we will not have seeds to collect...”
“...let’s cherish it alive and try to keep the trees standing...”
Keep the Forest Standing
At Natura, we are constantly seeking ways to combat destructive industries and to unlock the means for sustainable economic growth in the Amazon. (Read more about our CEW Sustainability Excellence Award here.)
Developing cosmetic products made from the butter has allowed Natura to tip the economics of the ucuubeira tree. The seeds now generate income for more than 1100 local families in the community and the trees are now 5 times more valuable alive and growing than they are cut down for timber. In 2016, an area as big as 150 soccer fields was preserved through the cultivation of Ucuuba for the cosmetic industry. (Read more on our efforts to keep the forest standing here.)
A seal from the UEBT (Ethical BioTrade Union), an international non-profit association, is visible in Ekos products, including those with Ucuuba as main ingredient. This seal reflects the three pillars that guide our business as a whole: fair trade, conservation of Brazilian biodiversity and trusting relationship with the community.
The seal confirms that all plant ingredients in the formulation of Ekos products have met the requirements of UEBT's principles of ethical bio-commerce, such as the existence of practices that guarantee the maintenance of ecosystems, fair sharing of benefits through the use of biodiversity and knowledge, respect for working conditions, among other points.
As part of the Ekos line, Ucuuba is proof that nature generates beauty, bringing prosperity back to the forest.