Alaffia - Everyday Shea Moisturizing Conditioner Vanilla Mint - 32 oz. (950 mL)
Alaffia Everyday Shea Moisturizing Conditioner Vanilla Mint is simple, effective, and moisturizing care for all hair types - formulated by Alaffia, to balance science with tradition to holistically benefit your hair, communities, and the environment. This Certified Fair Trade handcrafted shea butter is made at Alaffia's co-op in Togo, West Africa. It includes a refreshing blend of vanilla extract and spearmint essential oil. It restores natural pH leaving hair moisturized, luxurious, and protected. For every day use on all hair types.
- Non-GMO Shea
- Unrefined Ingredients- contain full healing & moisturizing properties
- No Animal Testing
- Paraben Free
- No Synthetic Fragrance
- Gluten Free
Everyday Shea was created by Alaffia as a means of increasing shea butter production at their cooperatives in Togo while offering a value size to customers in tough economic times. Like other Alaffia products, 10% of Everyday Shea sales are allocated to support Alaffia's community empowerment projects in West Africa.
Shea Butter is the oil from the nuts of wild Shea trees (Vitellaria paradoxa) scattered throughout the wooded savanna of West and Central Africa. Shea Butter has been used for centuries in Africa and is completely enmeshed within the history and culture of the West African savanna. Shea Butter is mentioned in almost all African historical documents, including a reference as early as Cleopatra's Egypt, which mentions caravans bearing clay jars of Shea Butter for cosmetic use. Funeral beds of kings were carved in the wood of old Shea Trees, and Shea Butter has always been a staple of African pharmacology.
Indigenous Knowledge for Skin Care
Shea Butter has been used for centuries in Africa as a decongestant, an anti-inflammatory for sprains and arthritis, healing salve, lotion for hair and skin care, and cooking oil. However, the protective and emollient properties of Shea Butter are most valued for skin care. In recent clinical trials, Shea Butter was found to help to protect skin against climate and UV aggressions, prevent wrinkle formation, soothe irritated and chapped skin, and moisturize the epidermis. Shea Butter also enhances cell regeneration and capillary circulation, which helps prevent and minimize stretch marks, inflammations, and scarring.
Unrefined Shea Butter
Only pure, unrefined Shea Butter contains its full healing and moisturizing properties. Most Shea Butter available to the general public outside West Africa is white and odorless: in other words, it has been "refined" to remove the natural scent and color of natural Shea Butter. In the process, the majority of the effective agents are also removed.
In addition, refined Shea Butter has usually been extracted from the shea kernels with hexane or other petroleum solvents. The extracted oil is boiled to drive off the toxic solvents, and then refined, bleached, and deodorized, which involves heating it to over 400 deg F and the use of harsh chemicals like sodium hydroxide.
Shea Butter extracted in this manner still contains some undesirable solvent residues, and its healing values are significantly reduced. Antioxidants or preservatives such as BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) or BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) may be added as well. The end result is an odorless, white butter that may be aesthetically appealing, but lacks the true moisturizing, healing, and nutritive properties of true traditional Shea Butter.
Empowerment through Fair Trade
Women in West Africa have long been excluded from the formal education sector, which means many cannot read or write. This makes them less valuable as employees, and as such, they do not have many employment opportunities. One could "empower" these women by teaching them to read and write, and helping them to find employment. However, with their women's cooperatives, Alaffia looks at what these women have to offer that no one else does - their unique skills, traditions, and knowledge. Then, they compensate them at fair value for these skills. As a result, they gain income and livelihoods to support their families, while maintaining traditions and managing a sustainable resource.
Community Empowerment Projects
While individual women are empowered through their participation in the cooperatives, Alaffia also strongly believes in spreading the empowerment to the community level. Through the sales of their shea butter products, they raise funds for community projects in central Togo aimed at alleviating poverty and advancing gender equality. These projects target problems that have been identified as holding back communities - such as exclusion from education, maternal deaths, and environmental degradation. Again, the support for these projects comes from the fair trade of traditional, sustainable knowledge and resources. Everyday Shea/Alaffia's projects include:
Bicycles for Education Project - Over 5,300 bicycles have been collected and distributed to empower students in Togo. This allows them to stay in school and complete their education.
Maternal Health Care - Alaffia reduces the maternal death rate in Togo by providing comprehensive prenatal care to 1,000 women each year. Saving mothers empowers women and nurtures future generations. Over 2,540 births have been funded.
School Supplies Project - With over 8,000 student recipients, Alaffia also donates metal roofs, seats, and supplies to schools in rural Togo to help communities educate their youth.
Reforestation & Environment - Alaffia works with rural farmers to plant 10,000 trees each year. This prevents soil erosion and helps negate the unpredictable effects of climate change.
Fair Trade Certification
The Alaffia Shea Butter Cooperative creates economic opportunity for women who were denied access to education and whose skills and knowledge are undervalued in today's societies. The cooperative members receive fair wages and also are able to maintain and pass on their traditional knowledge of handcrafting shea butter. In addition, cooperative members are fully involved in community project planning and implementation. As a result, they gain economic and social equality in their families and communities.
American Community Involvement
One of Alaffia's primary goals is to provide an avenue for people in the United States to learn about other cultures and to inform them how they can work to better all their communities. There are several ways in which they do this:
- Everyday Shea's Products: Each and every product contains information on their community empowerment and gender equality efforts.
- Volunteer Opportunities: They welcome volunteers for their bicycles for education donation drives and other projects. They also have volunteer opportunities at their facility in Lacey, WA.
- Trainings, Presentations, and Tours: Alaffia welcomes visits and tours of their facility in Lacey, WA. where, they also offer occasional soap making classes and trainings. In addition, they make several public presentations across the USA and Canada each year.
About Alaffia Moral Beginnings - Moral Goals
Every day Alaffia hears news about a multitude of natural and man-made disasters, wars, and environmental degradation. It is easy to become pessimistic about humanity and the future. Problems include, but are not limited to:
- Growing disparities between those who have and those who have not
- Increasing populations while resources continue to decline
- Gender inequality, child poverty, even child trafficking, and slavery abound
- Degraded, abused environments that are losing resiliency and ability to recover
- Global climate change is disrupting formerly predictable rain patterns and water availability
But at the same time, it is an age of unparalleled communication and dialog between communities across the world. The global connections provide advantages and opportunities for individuals to make changes for the better. Furthermore, information is readily available to most everyone in the world - and when informed, they can do anything.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Fair Trade?
Fair Trade is a movement of individuals and organizations working to ensure that producers in poor countries receive a greater percentage of the price paid by consumers. While there are several definitions of fair trade, they all include:
- Fair Trade Price - Base price for raw ingredients or goods is adjusted higher than the open market price.
- Price Premium - A percentage above the base fair trade price is paid into a separate account for development projects in producer communities.
- Working Conditions - Fair Trade operators must adhere to basic human and labor rights - including the right to organize, no child labor, access to health care, and so on.
- Environmental Stewardship - Fair Trade organizations must minimize environmental impact.
What does Fair Trade Certified mean?
Fair Trade certification is an independent, neutral third party certification verifying that an organization upholds to fair trade, social, and environmental standards in their operations.
Alaffia shea butter is certified Fair for Life: Social and FairTrade by IMO - the Institute for Marketecology, one of the first and most renowned international inspection & certification agencies for organic and social (fair trade) accountability. IMO's Fair for Life certification combines strict social and fair trade standards with adaptability to local conditions.
Why is Fair Trade of shea butter important?
Unrefined shea butter is a valuable natural resource for West Africa and could be an important tool in empowering local communities. However, most shea butter on the market in the United States and Europe is not fairly traded. Without fair trade, the women who gather shea nuts and hand craft this remarkable oil receive only a tiny fraction of the final price.
It is estimated to take 20 to 30 hours of labor to produce one kilogram of handcrafted shea butter, which is traded at $1 or less in today's market. A woman making shea butter in West Africa will receive only a fraction of this price. Therefore, a person working for 30 hours, almost a week's worth of work, will not receive even a dollar for her efforts. Even if she received the whole dollar, this does not even begin to reach living wage standards.
Everyday Shea Fair Trade Shea Butter
The cost to handcraft shea butter at the Alaffia Cooperative is over two times the price of shea butter at West African ports. Why is Alaffia's cost higher?
- Nut prices - They pay 15-25% above market price for shea nuts
- Fair wages - Alaffia's cooperative members receive a salary that is more than 4 times the average family income in Togo.
- Benefits - Cooperative members also receive full medical care, employment security, and one paid month of vacation each year.
Everyday Shea was created to help West African communities become sustainable through the fair trade of indigenous resources. One key to sustainability is empowerment of individuals within the communities. They encourage empowerment through their community projects, their women's cooperatives, and education and involvement in their customer communities. They firmly believe that the cooperation of people across the world is as essential part of building sustainability in all their communities.
What Does Empowerment Mean?
As individuals who have the good fortune of education and experience, it is their moral duty to be conscious and aware of the situations of people who are less fortunate. By empowerment, they mean identifying what individuals and communities have at their disposal - resources, skills, knowledge, and traditions - and supporting or creating initiatives in which they can use these tools and resources within their means. They feel that this gives individuals and communities a sustainable way to improve their quality of life, in contrast to relying on outside aid programs and World Bank/IMO loans.
About Everyday Shea
Everyday Shea is an extension of Alaffia Sustainable Skin Care. Alaffia was founded by Olowo- n'djo Tchala, a Togolese native, as a way to generate funds to conduct community enhancement projects in his home country and other West African nations in order to reduce poverty and gender inequality. Olowo-n'djo believes that Africans can mobilize their natural resources in a sustainable manner to empower their own communities, and that this is a more sustainable avenue towards reducing poverty than waiting for outside aid or for corrupt governments to fall. Alaffia and the Alaffia Shea Butter Cooperative were founded in order to trade the indigenous resource - Shea Butter - in the West to raise proceeds which are then returned to Togo in the form of community projects.
Everyday Shea is a continuation of this philosophy. Everyday Shea is a value line product that is price-sensitive during this economically difficult time. It provides a way for health-conscious families in the West to afford clean, petroleum-free body lotion, while at the same time keeping the Alaffia cooperative members employed in Togo.