Blanketing much of the northern third of the African continent, or some 3.5 million square miles, the Sahara Desert extends eastward from the Atlantic Ocean to the Nile River and the Red Sea, and southward from the Atlas Mountains of Morocco and the Mediterranean shores.
The infiniteness of the Sahara allows the traveler one of the most heart-widening feelings possible—a rich blend of connection, awe, reverence, and solitude. There is something about the dunes, which offers a feeling of belonging to a centuries-old life, invoking bygone travelers who once crossed the same terrain.
Harvested across Malawi, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, baobab seed oil—which is rich in antioxidants like vitamin A (the key ingredient in retinol-based face creams)—boosts skin elasticity and encourages cell regeneration. The British pharmacognosist Dr. Simon Jackson, who, after completing a post-doctorate at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, went to work as the chief scientific officer for a bio-innovation NGO in Africa and spearheaded a UN-sponsored project into indigenous plants, is at the forefront of harnessing the benefits of the baobab tree.
"We work closely with rural communities following the FairWild standard, which means the products are not farmed intensively but harvested from the wild. Everything is organic so no pesticides are used," Jackson says. "We want to benefit the local communities as much as possible so we pay for the harvest of crops and do the extractions in the country of origin, so we doubly benefit the local community."
African Botanics does an ingenious Baobab Clay Oxygenating Cleanser that makes you feel like you've jumped into The Blue Lagoon, such is the fresh fizzy tingle it imparts. Shea Terra Organics has a Pure African Baobab Oil that not only soothes skin but tames hair, while Aura Cacia Nighttime Baobab Facial Oil Serum does a nice iteration on the classic oil, but this one's infused with vanilla and vetiver. A potent global elixir that is nothing short of transformative and aims to maintain ethical and sustainable business practices? Hell, yes! And best of all, it means it's not just your skin that wins.