If you buy one beauty product this week, make it a bar of Pono Soap. The company, a subsidiary of the Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery (PASS), is meant to clean not only your body, but also the streets of Hawaii, as a portion of every sale benefits houseless families and survivors of human trafficking.
It's a sad reality that we often think doesn't happen in our community. Some of us may be witness to homelessness, but human trafficking? Not in America, especially not in the paradise we know as Hawaii. But it is, and Pono Soap is making it easier for each and every one of us to help change that. According to this Huffington Post article, Pono Soap started as labor of love for owner Kathryn Xian, whose wife was in need of chemical-free bath and body products, but turned into a bigger project for the longtime activist. Xian developed her soapmaking skills then passed along the product to her wife as well as a homeless encampment in Kakaako, then sold the leftovers to local boutiques and health food stores.
Back to the soap...
Not only is it supporting an amazing cause, it's actually something you'll want to use. Each bar is handmade with organic, vegan and ethically sourced ingredients, is free of artificial dyes and pesticides and is not tested on animals. What's more—there's a variety of products with unique ingredients: Dirty Politics, which uses powdered bamboo charcoal (such a trend right now!); Frank & Rose, featuring Frankincense and rosemary; Lavendarling, with—you guessed it—soothing lavender; Rosie T., with rosemary and tea tree; and Three Trees, which includes cedarwood, eucalyptus and sage essential oils. If you're like me and totally indecisive, don't fret, there's a sampler set. If you're really picky (no judgments here!), you can even customize your soap by choosing the oil base (coconut, olive or both), essential oils and then the exfoliant (some even come from Xian's personal garden).
The possibilities are endless! And so are the opportunities to help make a change, no matter how small or insubstantial you think you're contribution is. In fact, since it's launch in December 2014, the proceeds from Pono Soap have been providing the funding to place houseless families and human trafficking survivors into permanent housing via PASS.
In the Hawaiian language "pono" generally translates to righteousness, goodness, prosperity, benefit...a fitting name for a very righteous mission.