- Products and Ingredients
- Product Manufacturing
- Purpose and Mission
- Purchasing on Alaffia.com
- Contacting Alaffia
Products and Ingredients
Are your products natural?
Yes, our products are effective, safe, and natural for the specific needs of hair, face, body and children’s care. 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. We use indigenous ingredients – local resources and traditional handcrafting – unrefined "raw" shea butter, African black soap and coconut oil, among others.
How can I find out what ingredients are in an Alaffia product?
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.
Do your products contain sulfates or parabens?
Alaffia products don’t contain sulfates or parabens. Our products are also free of phthalates, mineral oil, petrolatum, silicones, artificial fragrance or synthetic coloring.
Are your products vegan?
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 reach out to us at 360-866-0080, and we would be happy to assist you.
Are your products gluten-free?
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.
Are your products cruelty-free?
Yes, we're proudly cruelty-free and do not test on animals.
Are your products Fair Trade?
Alaffia is a For Life certified operation by ECOCERT for demonstrated corporate responsibility. Several of our products, including those with a primary base of shea or coconut, are also certified Fair for Life – ECOCERT’s fair trade product certification.
Are Alaffia products non-GMO?
Alaffia is verified by The Non-GMO Project, a third-party verification for non-GMO food and products. Non-GMO believes in furthering the awareness of genetically modified seeds and the ecological damage they cause.
What type of fragrances do you use in your products?
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, etc., and plant source material – without synthetics.
Do you offer unscented products?
Yes, we offer unscented EveryDay Shea Body Wash, Lotion, Bubble Bath, Shave, Shampoo, Conditioner, Foaming Hand Soap and Deodorant; Whipped Shea & Coconut Oil (1.5 oz. and 4 oz.), Pure Unrefined Shea Butter, Authentic African Black All-in-One Liquid Soap, Authentic African Black Bar Soap, Authentic African Black Triple-Milled Bar Soap, and Neem Oil.
How do you source your palm oil?
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.
How is Alaffia's Authentic African Black Soap made?
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.
How are Alaffia's EveryDay Shea Body Wash and Hand Soap and EveryDay Coconut Body Wash made?
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.
What is Whipped Shea Butter & Coconut Oil and how can it be used?
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.
The Unrefined Shea Butter is hard. How do I use it?
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.
Why do I detect a faint aroma in your Pure Unrefined Shea Butter or Unscented products?
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.
My Pure Unrefined Shea Butter, Pure Virgin Coconut Oil, Whipped Shea & Coconut Oil, Neem Oil or Lip Balms have softened. Can I still use this product?
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.
Beautiful Curls is formulated for what type of hair?
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 is listed in several Beautiful Curls products. Is this bad for my 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.
What is phenoxyethanol and why do you use it?
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.
Why does my product look or feel slightly different than it did before?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org with the 8 digit lot# printed on the packaging.
What is Good Soap?
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. 100% of proceeds go to helping communities and families around the world. 10% of proceeds are donated to the Whole Planet Foundation with 1% of retail sales donated (up to $25k annually) to use for its mission of alleviating poverty through microfinance lending around the world. Alaffia dedicates proceeds from sales of Good Soap to our Education Empowerment Project to fund the construction of one kindergarten a year in Togo. Since 2014, we have built six kindergartens.
My skin is sensitive. May I use Alaffia products?
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.
I may have had a reaction to one of your products. What should I do?
If your experience involves a potential adverse reaction involving one of our products, please call us at 360-866-0080, as well as discontinue use immediately.
Where do you make your products?
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 and methods at the U.S. headquarters at our facility in Olympia, WA. Proceeds from the sale of these products are returned to communities to fund community empowerment and gender equality projects.
Are you Good Manufacturing Practices / GMP certified?
We're certified by third party auditing in that we conform to ISO (International Organization for Standardization) 22716 Cosmetics, GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) standards (ISO 22716:2007). Our current certification expires on December 27, 2022. We 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.
What is your packaging made from and where is it sourced?
Select Authentic African Black Soap, African’s Secret and Coconut Reishi and Neem Turmeric facial mists are made with 100% PCR PET, meaning it’s made of completely recycled material. Our HDPE bottles are 10% PCR and 90% virgin. Packaging is sourced from the U.S., whenever possible, including a concerted effort to source from local WA vendors.
Who makes your handwoven baskets and where are they from?
Our Authentic African handwoven baskets are created by artisans in our cooperatives in Ghana and each basket is personally signed by the weaver. These sustainable, eco-friendly baskets are ideal for carrying groceries or goodies for a picnic. Available in six styles. Just like our sustainable beauty products, a portion of basket sales are reinvested back in our West African cooperatives. The weavers, who sign each basket, receive upfront fair trade wages for their beautiful work. Our work in these communities has provided potable water year-round for weavers in Sumbrungu Atampure and Shirigu, near Bolgatanga.
Which retailers carry Alaffia products?
Please visit our store locator for a listing of retailers that carry Alaffia. Our products are available at Whole Foods, Sprouts, Wegmans, Target, Walmart, Thrive Market, Central Market, H-E-B, Earth Fare, Fresh Thyme, VitaCost.com, iHerb.com, Amazon.com and independent health food stores throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Where can I buy Alaffia outside the U.S.?
You may purchase Alaffia online at VitaCost.com, which ships to 150 countries. Alaffia products are available in select stores in Canada, Australia and Korea.
Purpose and Mission
How was Alaffia founded?
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.
What is Alaffia’s Mission?
Alaffia is a social enterprise on a mission to invest in a more equitable future. Together, we're cultivating beauty, equality, and empowerment in Togo, 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 created and coordinated by Alaffia
- Employing thousands of women at our Alaffia co-ops and indirectly impacting the lives of many more
What are Alaffia’s Empowerment Projects?
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 Togolese communities to provide their skills and knowledge to the rest of the world and rise out of poverty. Social impact numbers:
- 5,597 births funded
- 15 schools built
- 37,521 receipts of school supplies
- 9,989 bicycles distributed
- 20,018 eyeglasses distributed
- 93,009 trees planted
(*as of Dec. 31, 2019)
Do you support Regenerative Agriculture?
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 Alaffia.com
Shipping & Delivery
If you are having trouble placing an order, please call 1-360-866-0080. All non-PO box continental US orders are shipped FedEx Ground - Home Delivery.
All shipments are sent via FedEx. A flat rate of $9.95 is charged for all domestic (US) orders under $75; Orders over $75 will have an option for free standard shipping. Free Shipping offer applies to the US lower 48 states only. Standard shipping usually arrives within 7-10 business days from the shipped date, excluding holidays. Alaffia does not ship outside of the United States. While Alaffia is fully operational, we’re experiencing longer than usual shipping times due to COVID-19. Your order confirmation will include the current shipping timeframe and you’ll receive an email notification with tracking upon your order shipping. We appreciate your understanding.
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’re unhappy with your purchase from Alaffia.com for any reason, we will honor returns and refunds within 30 days of purchase. Please include your order number on the shipping label. 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 and email us tracking verification to email@example.com with your reason for return and order number.
Please address returns to:
ATTN: Customer Service/Distribution
Return Order Number: XXXX
8109 River Dr. SE
Olympia, WA 98501
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.
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Partnerships and Media
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Alaffia fully respects your privacy. You do not need to give any information about yourself in order to browse our website. However, in order to process an order, correspond with you or provide you with price quotes or other information, we do need information from you, such as your full name, address, e-mail address and phone number. It is our intent to let you know before we collect personal information from you on the Internet. We use your personal information to give you the best service possible. If you do not wish us to use this information as a basis for further contact with you, please tell us, and we will respect your wishes. Alaffia does not sell, rent, loan or transfer any personal information regarding our customers to any unrelated third parties.