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The local couple using plant power to make eco beauty products

Nicolas and Alicia behind their stall at Trapiche market earlier this month.
Nicolas and Alicia behind their stall at Trapiche market earlier this month. / J. Rhodes
  • Organic enterprise. Alicia Jiménez and Nicolas Trudu set up their company in Riogordo two years ago and sell online and at markets in the Axarquía

When Alicia Jiménez's neighbour taught her about plants as a child, little did she know she would be using that knowledge to run a business.

Jiménez and her partner Nicolas Trudu have been running Aletheia Nature from their home in Riogordo for two years. They produce and sell ecological, plant-based beauty products, using as many locally grown species as possible.

Alicia explains that ingredients for the company's wide range of solid shampoo, conditioner and deodorants, as well as soaps, perfumes, creams and lotions, include locally or homegrown lavender, aloe vera, marigold, chamomile and rose hip.

However, for other products, such as coconut, neem and argan oil, which have to be sourced from abroad, the company ensures that their suppliers are organic and ethical.

The couple, who are both 32, started the online shop and selling locally at markets about two years ago but have been working on developing the products for around 10 years.

Despite going on to study to be a teacher at university, Alicia never lost the fascination for plants that her neighbour had ignited.

Since then, learning about the power of different plants used in plant-based beauty products and treatments has come froma lot of self-teaching: reading books, online research and connecting with other people who are considered experts in the field.

Alicia says she has been able to help locals who suffer from skin conditions such as psoriasis and dermatitis, possibly caused by the chemicals used in agriculture in the Axarquía and in particular those involved in the local olive industry, "There are lots of olive growers who have skin complaints caused by the chemicals they use on the olives," she explains.

Combinations of ingredients such as marigold and chamomile, she says, are excellent for skin conditions such as dermatitis; and marigold mixed with star flower (borage) works brilliantly to help soothe burns.

Alicia has developed a range of creams, soaps and even a natural toothpaste. For these she uses ingredients such as coconut oil, which she says has natural antibacterial properties; lavender and orange which are said to be nature's antiseptics; and cloves, which Alicia swears by for warding off insects, especially fleas and tics. She has a spray for human use and is hoping to develop one which can be used on dogs and cats.

Nicolas, who is Italian and has been in Spain for seven years, is responsible for the website. He also has a background in permaculture, so he nurtures the plants used in the treatments, while Alicia is in charge of the formulation of the products.

The couple plan to start running courses on how to use different plants in beauty products and teach people about their healing properties. She says that while she hasn't used her university degree directly, the teacher training she received will "help with the delivery" of her courses.

As well as reaching clients online, the couple also have a stall at Trapiche farmer's market on Tuesdays and Cómpeta market on Wednesdays. However, these will not be going ahead for the time being due to the current restrictions on movement.