An Environmental Engineer Told Us the Ethical Beauty Product She Swears By
Montana Lower has a big heart. The Byron Bay-based civil/environmental engineer, artist and model doesn't just pay lip service to the causes she supports – all too common in the age of hollow Instagram advocacy – standing up for what she believes in is literally her life's work. Lower has held a number of roles in the engineering sector, from environmental building design and conceiving vertical gardens, to her latest, the creation of a sustainable wash house for an Australian denim label with a Community Trade manufacturing facility in Cambodia.
Lower's interest in conscious consumerism means she's well versed in Community Trade practices but when asked to join The Body Shop on a recent expedition to Ghana for a first-hand look at their partnership with the Tungteiya Women's Shea Butter Association, she jumped. "Every trip I get to do with The Body Shop leaves me with eyes wide open and a full heart – being a part of this one left me filled equally with inspiration and gratitude," she says. "I saw first hand how Community Trade agreements can empower communities by giving them the choice to voice what they want and need." Lower adds: "I believe in Trade all the way, not Aid."
The Body Shop x Tungteiya Women's Shea Butter Association collaboration has been going strong for 25 years and is the source of all shea butter used in the beauty brand's products. It directly benefits 640 female workers (and their families), across 11 Ghanaian villages, funding important things like sanitation, education and water. It also empowers women to earn their own money, giving them independence and a say in their communities. This year, The Body Shop will be sourcing even more shea butter, which promises to boost vital communal projects by an amazing 30%. (It also means delicious new beauty buys on our end.) We reached out to Lower to chat about her trip, why shea is so special and her go-to product.
Keep scrolling for our exclusive Q&A.