Frequently Asked Questions

Products and Ingredients

Our products are made with effective, safe, and fair-trade ingredients for the specific needs of hair, face, body and children’s care. 

We use indigenous ingredients in our formulations – local resources and traditional handcrafting – with a specific emphasis on sourcing unrefined raw Shea Butter, Coconut, and African Black soap (among others) from our women-led cooperatives in West Africa.

You'll see a full list of ingredients in our products listed on the label of each product.

Our methods and ideals are rooted in ancient African traditions that we’re proud to share with the global market. Uncompromising and proud, we radiate a spirit of joy, and evoke the iconic beauty of African people, landscapes and art.

Each product label contains a complete ingredient listing according to INCI (International Nomenclature for Cosmetics Ingredients). INCI uses scientific names and individual components of an ingredient or extract that might be blended. INCI allows the ingredients to be consistent across the globe for transparency and clarity. Our website also includes a complete ingredient listing for each individual product.

Alaffia products don’t contain sulfates or parabens. Our products are also free of phthalates, mineral oil, petrolatum, silicones, artificial fragrance and synthetic coloring.

Some of our products contain animal-derived ingredients, such as honey and goat's milk. These are included on the ingredient listing on the label and on our website for each product. If you have a specific product question, please email us at, and we would be happy to assist you.

Please carefully review the ingredient list of any product prior to use, particularly because the listed ingredients for a product may change. If you have a known allergy to gluten, you should always consult with your physician if you have questions regarding whether it is safe for you to use a particular product.

Yes, we're proudly cruelty-free and do not test on animals.

Alaffia is a For Life certified organization by ECOCERT for demonstrated corporate social responsibility (CSR). Our products containing shea, black soap, white soap, or coconut, are made with fairly traded ingredients.

ECOCERT is one of the first and most renowned international inspection and certification agencies for fair trade accountability, combining strict social and fair trade standards with adaptability to local conditions. Using fairly traded ingredients in our products ensures cooperatives in economically disadvantaged countries receive a greater percentage of the price paid by consumers. As an example, our trade partners pay 15-25% above market price for shea nuts. Cooperative members also receive a salary more than 3x the average family income in Togo.

You can read more about ECOCERT at Ecocert Fair Trade and more about For LIFE certifications at

Leaping Bunny is a cruelty-free certification that verifies that Alaffia does not test their products on animals. To get a leaping bunny certification, companies must pledge to end animal testing at all stages of product development. Additionally, they are required to re-commit to the program annually and allow third party audits to ensure all requirements are continually upheld.

Alaffia uses essential oils and a concentrated "hydrophobic" liquid containing aromatic compounds from plants, which are steam-distilled and CO2 extracted. We also use aromatic extracts that are physically extracted from plant materials, and blends of these extracts are used to create more complex fragrances. Lastly, we use natural fragrance oils, including blends of pure essential oils, distillates, and natural materials – without synthetics.

Yes, we offer a wide variety of unscented products from washes to lotions to balms to hair care.

At Alaffia, we use both red palm oil and palm kernel oil in several of our products.  While red palm oil comes from palm fruit, the palm kernel oil is extracted from the palm seed. Both these products contain saturated fatty acids that are critical to our skin's structure and elasticity.  Rest assured that Alaffia does not use palm oil that comes from these plantations. Our natural West African palm oil is grown and harvested by small-scale farmers in the Maritime region of Togo, from the town of Tsevie to Kpalime. The oil is extracted by our Fair Trade cooperative in Sokodé using traditional methods. When palm oil is grown as an industrial plantation crop, such as in Indonesia and Malaysia on newly cleared rainforests or peat-swamp forests rather than on already degraded land or disused agricultural land, it can contribute

to the endangerment of animals such as the Orangutans. However, this is not the case with the small farms that we receive our palm oil from in Africa. Oil palms are native to West Africa and have been grown as part of multi-cropped sustainable small farms for centuries. It's also important to point out that Orangutans do not exist in Africa.

Alaffia's Authentic African collection is likened to the home remedies of Togolese mamans. Our Authentic African Black Soap is made from a centuries-old ​recipe of handcrafted shea butter and Orangutan-safe West African ​palm oil. Saponification is reached by adding potash to the hot oils, ​ then cooking it for six hours.  The last step is curing the soap in the sun ​for three weeks, resulting in a natural and highly effective soap for all skin types.

Shea butter and coconut oil are mixed together and heated. A natural saponifier made from ashes of plantain leaves and tree barks is added, then the mixture is cooked over heat, stirring constantly for 30- 60 minutes until the hot saponification process is completed. The hot soap is scooped into a large metal bowl, where the soap expands up into a palm-frond basket and cools. Cooled soap is placed onto palm frond mats to dry in the sun.  This truly natural liquid hand and body soap is ultra-moisturizing and gentle for all skin types and ages.

Our Whipped Shea & Coconut Oil, made with a high percentage of fair trade unrefined "raw" shea butter and coconut oil, provides intense, all-natural hydration. It has a whipped texture and is highly effective for dry elbows, feet, hands and other areas that defy moisturization and softness. Whipped Shea & Coconut Oils also help to alleviate symptoms related to conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, and aid pregnant women in keeping skin pliable and elastic. The butters also work beautifully as a gentle, natural baby cream. Available in a variety of natural scents and unscented.

Our Pure Unrefined Shea Butter is raw shea that hasn’t been chemically processed to retain its natural vitamin content. You may stir with a spatula to soften the butter and warm it between your hands for an easier application.

We use natural butters, oils and botanical extracts that may have a slight natural aroma. We don’t use deodorized butters and oils to avoid unnecessary chemical processing, so you may detect a hint of a raw material's natural scent. This doesn't affect the product's efficacy or performance in any way.

Products with shea butter or coconut oil may soften or slightly liquefy due to exposure during shipping in hot weather, after being left in a warm car or when used at the beach. Place the product in the refrigerator and it will solidify again. This doesn't affect the efficacy or performance of the product.

Our Beautiful Curls collection is formulated for and works well for all types of waves, curls, coils and kinks from type 2 hair to 4c hair.

Magnesium sulfate, otherwise known as "Epsom salts", is a naturally occurring mineral and helps to naturally activate curls. It is not related to the surfactants also ending in the word "sulfate" and does not function as a surfactant.

Phenoxyethanol is a preservative. We have chosen to use phenoxyethanol as it is generally considered to be a safe alternative to other common preservation agents like parabens. At this time, phenoxyethanol has been found to be a more effective alternative to other available preservatives that would either compromise the shelf life of our products or potentially release harmful chemicals, such as formaldehyde.

Our use of natural, unrefined ingredients may produce slight variations in fragrance, color and texture, depending upon climate, season of harvest and individualized traditional processing methods. If you are concerned that there may be another issue, please email us at with the 8 digit lot# printed on the packaging.

Alaffia's Good Soap bars are triple-milled, gluten-free and zero waste. Soaps are made with moisturizing and protective ingredients like fair trade unrefined, "raw" shea butter, coconut oil, African black soap and goat’s milk. Vegan soaps are noted in the individual soap descriptions. Available in a variety of natural fragrances, Good Soap is available exclusively at Whole Foods stores in the U.S. and Canada.

Our products were formulated for and tested on all skin types, including sensitive, however we recommend doing a patch test on the inside of your wrist or side of the neck and wait for 24 hours to ensure there’s no reaction.

If your experience involves a potential adverse reaction involving one of our products, please email us, as well as discontinue use immediately.

Our products are formulated with natural materials and therefore the color may vary from product to product.

Product Manufacturing

Our women's cooperatives in West Africa handcraft indigenous ingredients, such as unrefined "raw" shea butter and African black soap. Those products are then handcrafted using traditional African recipes in manufacturing facilities in the United States. Our material sourcing model helps fund community empowerment and gender equality projects.

Alaffia’s manufacturing facilities practice and adhere to GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices), and continually work to be re-certified. Facilities are certified every three years, with yearly surveillance audits to ensure continued compliance. Alaffia has been certified since November of 2016. Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) is a system for ensuring that products are consistently produced and controlled according to quality standards. It’s designed to minimize the risks involved in any production that cannot be eliminated through testing the final product. GMP covers all aspects of production from the starting materials, premises and equipment to the training and personal hygiene of staff. Detailed, written procedures and reports are monitored for each process.

Our clear bottles (used for Authentic African Black Soa products, Africa’s Secret, etc.) are 100% PCR (Post-Consumer Recycled) PET, meaning they are plastic bottles made from PET that has been used and recycled again. Our frosted bottles (used for our Everyday Shea and Everyday Coconut product collections) are HDPE (high-density polyethylene), crafted from 10% PCR and 90% virgin plastic. Our plastic tubes are made of 100% PP (polypropylene), which has the lowest CO2 emissions by weight of all plastics, and in return, lowers greenhouse gas emissions. The entire tube is U.S. Code 5 recyclable. Whenever possible, our brand strives to source packaging domestically.


Please visit our Store Locator for a listing of retailers near you that carry Alaffia. Our products are available at Whole Foods, Target, Walmart, CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Bed, Bath & Beyond, JCPenney, World Market, Sprouts, Wegmans, Natural Grocer, H-E-B, Central Market, Earth Fare, Fresh Thyme,,,, and independent health food stores throughout the U.S. and Canada.

You may purchase Alaffia online at, which ships to 150 countries. Alaffia products are available in select stores in Canada, Australia and Korea.

If you are located in Canada, you can find Alaffia products at Healthy Planet, Avril, Nature’s Emporium, Spud, Nature’s Fare, Organic Garage, Big Carrot, Choices Market, Loblaws, and Health First Network.

Purpose and Mission

Founder & CEO Olowo-n'djo Tchala was compelled to fight the injustices he faced and witnessed growing up in the small village of Kaboli in Northern Togo, West Africa, including gender inequality and poverty in West Africa through sustainable health, education and environmental initiatives. He founded Alaffia with Prairie Rose Hyde in 2003.

He met Rose in his home village of Kaboli, Togo in 1996 where she was invited to serve as an environmental volunteer in the Peace Corp. From the beginning, the two shared a desire to positively impact humankind. They returned to the US determined to make a difference in West Africa. In 2004, armed with his understanding of the value of indigenous West African resources and an understanding of sustainable business ideologies, he launched Alaffia's first collective. Alaffia continues to redefine the natural products industry through its values of beauty, equality and empowerment.

Alaffia is a social enterprise on a mission to invest in a more equitable future. Together, we're cultivating beauty, equality, and empowerment in West Africa. Alaffia aims to alleviate poverty and advance gender equality through the Certified Fair Trade of indigenous resources and community empowerment initiatives. Alaffia is built on a philosophy of fair trade defined by:

  • Paying a fair local price or wage
  • Providing equal employment opportunities
  • Engaging in environmentally sustainable practices
  • Providing healthy and safe working conditions
  • Being open to public accountability
  • Reducing the number of middlemen from supplier to consumer
  • Sourcing products ingredients through cooperatives in West Africa
  • Employing thousands of women at our Alaffia co-ops and indirectly impacting the lives of many more

Our Alaffia Empowerment Projects are Alaffia's mission in action, funded by the sales from our products. Targeted development ensures basic needs are met for a dignified life. This allows West African communities to provide their skills and knowledge to the rest of the world and rise out of poverty. Social impact numbers since 2003:

  • 6,397 births funded
  • 17 schools built
  • 37,521 receipts of school supplies
  • 10,817 bicycles distributed
  • 31,227 eyeglasses distributed
  • 105,061 trees planted

Our Alaffia Regenerative Agriculture program promotes fair trade of the renewable agroforestry crop of shea nuts through our shea butter body care products, Alaffia is a direct participant in regenerative agriculture. Togo had the highest rate of deforestation in the world from 2005-2010. Alaffia's approach is to give real, fair value to shea kernels and value-added shea butter processing. Trees are more valuable as living resources than their one time use for fuelwood and creates the ability to pay higher prices for shea kernels. As Shea trees grow for 12-20+ years, we provide education on shea reforestation and parkland management trainings.

An estimated area of 7,564 km2 of shea savanna ecosystem and 16,410 shea trees are protected under Alaffia’s fair trade stewardship program. Alaffia funds shea reforestation and agroforestry plantings in a region-wide reforestation and resource stewardship program that selects trees that are fast growing, nitrogen fixing and low-water tolerant and provides farmers with trees that have the high food or cash income. It also creates local tree nurseries that can continually collect and obtain seeds and seedlings at a low cost and through local labor.

Purchasing on

You can find our new products on our What’s New collection. If you are looking to find our products in a store near you, be sure to check out our Store Locator.

Earn points and exclusive rewards every time you shop by becoming an Alaffia loyalty member! To get started, click “join now” on therewards pageand receive 25 points for simply signing up. Once you join, you’ll begin accruing points each time you shop! You can redeem those points for discounts on your future purchases via your rewards page. VIP tiers are another available option for our more active members who are eligible to receive larger birthday rewards and higher points per purchase.

Alaffia offers recurring product subscriptions for most of our products. When visiting a product description page, click on “Subscribe & Save 10%” located above the add to cart button. Then, select the frequency at which you would like to receive your product (30, 60 or 90 days). From there, simply click add to cart and check out as you normally would. To manage your existing subscriptions you can click Sign In at the top of our website and log into your Alaffia account. Click on manage subscription at the top left and from here you can manage or cancel your subscription. If you have any difficulties with managing your subscription, contact our customer support team at for assistance

If you are having trouble placing an order, please email All non-PO box continental US orders are shipped FedEx Ground - Home Delivery or USPS.

Our shipments are sent via FedEx or USPS. A flat rate of $9.95 is charged for all domestic (US) orders under $50; Orders over $50 will have an option for free standard shipping. Free Shipping offer applies to the US lower 48 states only. Standard shipping usually arrives within 7-14 business days from the shipped date, excluding holidays. Alaffia does not ship outside of the United States.

Alaffia charges sales tax for merchandise ordered on this Web site based on the applicable state sales tax rates and the location to which the order is being shipped.

You may purchase merchandise from this Web site by using any one of the payment options listed in the checkout process. Alaffia reserves the right to change its payment procedures at any time without prior notice to you.

If you need to cancel or revise an order, please contact within the first 12 hours after submitting . We will do our best to accommodate your request, but we cannot guarantee revisions or cancellation after an order is placed. Alaffia orders cannot be cancelled or altered once submitted to our fulfillment team for processing.

If you’re unhappy with your purchase from for any reason, we will honor returns and refunds within 30 days of purchase. To begin the return process, please email customer service at and include your full name, order number, items to be returned, and reason for the return. Initial shipping cost of $9.95 is non-refundable and return shipping is incumbent upon you to pay. Returned orders will be refunded once we receive the order back at our warehouse. This could take approximately 14 days from receiving the package. We are not responsible for lost or undelivered packages – please ship via a trackable method.

If you purchased Alaffia products from another retailer and would like to return them, please reach out to the original retailer for their return policy. We do not process returns at Alaffia for products purchased at retailers.

Payment Plans

No, there are no late fees if you miss a scheduled payment.

When checking out with Shop Pay, you now have the option to pay now or later. Paying in installments on Shop Pay allows you to split your purchase amount into 4 equal, biweekly installment payments—with 0% interest, no hidden or late fees, and no impact on your credit score.* In some instances, your first payment is due when you make your purchase; otherwise, your first payment is due 2 weeks after your purchase.

If your refund amount is less than the amount remaining on your Shop Pay Installments balance, then you can expect one or both of the following:

-A smaller payment balance on the final payment

-Less future payments on the remaining loan balance

If your refund amount is more than the amount remaining on your Shop Pay Installments balance, then you can expect to receive the difference as a refund to your original debit card or credit card payment method within 3 to 10 business days.

The installments option on Shop Pay is available on debit and credit cards.

For questions about installment payments on Shop Pay, visit

For questions about Shop Pay or the Shop App, visit

Contacting Alaffia

I am a member of the media, blogger or influencer. How do I contact you about product reviews or other information?

Email us at and we’ll respond to you shortly.

If you still have questions about our products or our ingredients, please email or reach out to us via our contact us page:

All content appearing on this Web site is the property of Alaffia. Copyright © 2018 Alaffia. All rights reserved. As a user, you are authorized only to view, copy, print and distribute documents on this Web site so long as (1) the document is used for informational purposes only and (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2018 Alaffia. All rights reserved.