We've all heard of beauty brands that give back, but hearing the story of Alaffia's founder, Olowo-n'djo Tchala, will make you look at any one of their skincare products with new eyes. A native of Togo, Kaboli in West Africa, Olowo-n'djo and his wife have taken the Shea nut and turned it into an endless resource of healthy skin for their customers and a healthy way of life for their fellow countrywomen and children. Click through the slideshow to learn more!
With the Shea nut growing in natural abundance in Togo, Alaffia founders have discovered a way to bring their women healthcare, their children education, and the town a sustainable way of earning a living. Shea Butter is a natural emollient beloved by beauty junkies all over the world. By choosing Alaffia as your Shea source, you get the highest potency of Shea and help to enrich a community.
"We pride ourselves on creating the best Shea Butter," said the brand's founder. While FDA standards in the US require only 1% of a moisturizer's formula to include Shea in order for it to be marketed as a Shea Butter product, Alaffia represents a brand with items close to nearly 100% derived from unrefined Shea butter.
"The women of Togo create our Shea Butter from scratch," Olowo-n'djo Tchala said. "The process involves 14 crucial steps well before it is shipped to our factory in Washington to be refined and packaged," he explained. "We pick the Shea nuts, wash them, dry them, wash them again, whip them into a paste manually for hours, letting the rich fat rise to the surface, then we apply low heat to create an oil we can distill gently into butter."
This fairly traded, handcrafted Shea Butter benefits the communities that produce it as well as the communities that purchase it. While making indigenous, sustainable and effective skin care available to the global community, members of the Alaffia Shea Butter cooperative have the opportunity to use their traditional knowledge and skills to support their families. Alaffia also dedicates a minimum of 10% of all sales to community empowerment projects in Togo, so the impact of fair trade handcrafted Shea Butter reaches beyond the cooperative too.
From schools to hospitals, maternity care centers, and bicycles for children who are commuter students, Alaffia has turned small Shea nuts into economic stability for an entire town. As the brand continues to grow and give back, new products are now in the works. Look out for toothpaste and a high-end skin care system line soon.
"Shea Butter has been globally traded for centuries, but the global market price did not fairly reflect the labor involved in crafting Shea Butter," Tchala said. "I realized that by paying even slightly more for this resource could greatly impact the women, much like my own mother, that collect Shea nuts and sell Shea Butter to feed, clothe and school their children."
We here at BWN can vouch for these emollient rich products. Check out what our favorite product picks from the line are and watch the informative video below on the brand's mission. To try Alaffia out for yourself, visit their website at Alaffia.com and let us know which item you're loving by leaving us a note!
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