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 an emphasis on sourcing unrefined raw Shea Butter, Coconut, and African Black soap (among others) from 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 service@alaffia.com, 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.

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 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 www.fairforlife.org

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.

Alaffia's Authentic African collection is likened to the home remedies of Togolese mamans. Our Authentic African Black Soap is modeled from a centuries-old ​recipe of handcrafted shea butter and Orangutan-safe West African ​palm oil.

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. 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 tightly coiled 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 service@alaffia.com with the 8 digit lot# printed on the packaging.

Alaffia's Good Soap bars are triple-milled and gluten-free. 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 atservice@alaffia.com, 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

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

We try our best to use post-consumer recycled (PCR) packaging when available that can be sourced at reasonable pricing. The large majority of our clear bottles are 100% PCR PET meaning they are plastic bottles made from PET that has been used and recycled again. Our frosted bottles are HDPE (high-density polyethylene) and are typically between 10% to 25% PCR.

Retailers

Please visit our Store Locator for a listing of retailers near you that carry Alaffia. Our products are available at many retailers including Whole Foods, Walmart, Walgreens, World Market, Sprouts, Wegmans, Natural Grocer, H-E-B, Central Market, Earth Fare, Fresh Thyme, ThriveMarket.com, VitaCost.com, iHerb.com, Amazon.com and independent health food stores throughout the U.S. and Canada.

You may purchase some Alaffia products online at VitaCost.com, which ships to 150 countries. Alaffia products are also available in select stores in Canada.

If you are in Canada, you can find Alaffia products at leading retailers like Whole Foods and Loblaws.

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. Alaffia proudly supports women and families in West Africa by sourcing certified fair trade ingredients from West Africa women cooperatives. Together, we're cultivating beauty, equality, and empowerment in West Africa. 

Purchasing on Alaffia.com

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 the rewards page and 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 service@alaffia.com for assistance

If you are having trouble placing an order, please email service@alaffia.com. 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 service@alaffia.com within 1 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 Alaffia.com for any reason, we will honor returns and refunds within 30 days of purchase. To begin the return process, please email customer service at service@alaffia.com 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 the package is received. 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 our partner retailers.

Payment Plans

When checking out with Shop Pay, you now have the option to pay now or later. Please see Shop Pay's policies for further details.

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 shop.affirm.com/help.

For questions about Shop Pay or the Shop App, visit shop.app/help/shop-pay.

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 marketing@alaffia.com and we’ll respond to you shortly.

If you still have questions about our products or our ingredients, please email service@alaffia.com or reach out to us via our contact us page: https://www.alaffia.com/pages/contact-us

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.