After 10 Years, I Went Back to the First Beauty Brand I Loved

My beauty glow-up came quite late in life. Whilst other girls were desperate to wear lip gloss and nail varnish as soon as they hit 13, I was still a total tomboy. But at 16, I started a part-time job at The Body Shop in my hometown. It was my first forte into skincare and makeup, and it was a turning point in my beauty life. I may have only been a Saturday girl, but I got to know the products well, trying and testing them so I could help customers find their perfect match. Many were longtime devotees of the brand; in fact, The Body Shop has a cult following that others can’t seem to rival. We all fondly remember the brand's bath pearls and the joy of receiving a fruity lip butter in your Christmas stocking. And weirdly enough, despite trying all the latest beauty buys for work, when I look in my makeup and skincare bags, The Body Shop is a brand I always come back to.

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Yes, the packaging may have changed, and there may have been some new additions to the range over the past 10 years, but some things never change. Back then, I loved that I was working for a brand that promoted cruelty free beauty and fair trade, and the brand's ethics have only gone from strength to strength.

Take The Body Shop's "Enrich Not Exploit" Commitment, for example, where it promises to work fairly with farmers and suppliers to help them thrive through its Community Trade programme. I'm also pleased that all products are 100% vegetarian, and that it remains firmly against animal testing. Its campaign Forever Against Animal Testing has secured over seven million signatures, and once it reaches its target of eight million, it plans to take the petition to the UN later this year.

What also helps is that the brand was recently bought by Natura, a Brazillian-owned company that also owns Aesop. "It has a well-established reputation as an ethical beauty brand," Elen Macaskill, global customer director at The Body Shop, tells me. "We have shared values, and believe business can and should be a force for positive change. We're keen to return to real activism—changing laws and society for the better, which our founder, Anita Roddick, so famously pioneered."

Even just the gorgeous fragrance walking past a shop now takes me right back. What can I say? Like Love Island's Georgia, I'm loyal, babes. Keep scrolling to see the products I never stopped using as well as my new favourites.