Alaffia - Facial Toner Neem & Shea leaf Skin Recovery - 3.4 oz. (100ml)
Alaffia Facial Toner Neem & Shea leaf Skin Recovery is a soothing, oil-balancing toner that removes traces of cleanser, make-up and impurities while providing immediate moisture. Neem leaf extract and tea tree oil contain properties that help fight blemishes and also prevent dry patches, while shea leaf provides a soothing effect and helps calm irritation and redness.
Alaffia Facial Care
At Alaffia, they formulate with handcrafted, unrefined shea butter for its unrivalled skin protective, regenerative and moisturizing properties. They do not "remove" their shea butter to remove color and odor, and as a result, it refine its full moisturizing and healing properties. Alaffia facial care line contains a high amount of shea butter combined with other wild-harvested, unrefined oils and fresh herbal extracts for effective and powerful formulations for every skin type.
- Acne Prone ~ Acne prone skin is usually oily and distinguished by blackheads and pimples. If neglected can lead to scarred and pitted skin.
- Oily ~ Oily skin is caused by excessive sebum production. It is often shiny with enlarged pores. It may also have patches of flakiness around the nose.
- Combination - Oily ~ The combination skin type has an oily T-zone across the forehead, nose and chin, but a normal to dry area around the cheeks and throat.
- Normal ~ Normal skin is not too oily or dry and blemishes are uncommon. It is firm, with a healthy appearance and small pores.
- Combination - Dry ~ This skin type has normal skin across the forehead, nose and chin, but a dry area around the cheeks and throat.
- Dry ~ Dry skin has reduced ability to produce moisture and natural oils. It may have fine pores and few blemishes, but with a tight or flaky appearance.
- Mature Skin ~ Superficial fine lines, slower cell regeneration, reduced skin elasticity and thinner appearing skin characterize this skin type.
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.
Why Unrefined Shea Butter?
Handcrafted, unrefined Shea Butter contains the maximum amount of 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. For example, the yellow tint of unrefined shea butter is due to the Vitamin A content. Remove this color, and the beneficial vitamins have also been removed. Furthermore, 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 degrees F and the use of harsh chemicals, such as sodium hydroxide.
Try Shea Butter on these conditions:
- Dry Skin
- Hair care
- Stretch marks
- Chapped lips
- Sun damage
- Cracked and dry heels or elbows
- Small wounds and scrapes
- Diaper rash (prevention and relief)
- Insect bites & stings
- Muscle fatigue, aches & tension
- Pets (skin infections, dry skin & coats)
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.
In addition, refined Shea Butter is often hard and grainy, not smooth and creamy like pure, unrefined Shea Butter. All that can be said for refined Shea Butter is that it has an extended shelf life, a white, uniform color, and no odor.
How to use Shea Butter
For direct application to the skin, take a small amount in the palm of your hand. Rub your hands together to warm up the butter until it is smooth and liquid. Then apply to your skin. If you are concerned about an oily feeling, use only a small amount or apply the Shea Butter before going to bed. Shea Butter absorbs quickly into the skin, but there will be a few minutes that it feels oily. Shea Butter can also be applied to your hair. Some people apply it before washing to protect the hair from harsh shampoos. It can also be applied after washing as a conditioner. Apply it in the same manner as to the skin.
Sustainable Skin Care
Shea Butter is the oil from the nuts of wild Shea trees (Vitellaria paradoxa - also known as Butyrospermum parkii in the cosmetic industry) 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.
Alaffia was founded to alleviate poverty and advance gender equality in West Africa through the fair trade of handcrafted shea butter. Their mission embodies three clear principles:
- CREATE - They formulate and create their products based on indigenous beauty knowledge and unrefined, fair trade ingredients.
- INFORM - Their products inform the public about interconnections between communities and how, together, they can alleviate poverty through fair trade and sustainable choices.
- EMPOWER - Their fair trade shea butter cooperative and community projects encourage self empowerment and gender equality for women in their West African communities.
Wild shea trees in central Togo during the dry season.
Now, more than ever before, it is important for all of them to make decisions that take into consideration the well-being of the generations to come. To them, sustainable means making choices and actions that improve current and future living conditions for their communities while maintaining the cultural and bio-diversities of their planet, including:
- Using Sustainably Harvested, Wildcrafted, and Traditionally Extracted, Unrefined Shea Butter for the base of their skin and hair care products.
- Providing fair wages and prices to their Shea Butter Cooperative members and farmers.
- Dedicating 10% of sales proceeds to Community Enhancement Projects in Africa and other parts of the World.
- The motivation to commit to these principles comes from the hope that their actions will:
- Improve current living standards and promote gender equality and feelings of self worth for individuals in their communities.
- Help break the cycle of poverty in Africa and preserve indigenous resources and knowledge for future generations
- Increase awareness of how individual actions and choices affect communities worldwide.
Cycle of Sustainable Skin Care
One of the main ways they strive for sustainability is by fostering direct relationships and removing the "middleman". These direct relationships reduce waste and costs, but also have another benefit. Each piece of the Alaffia sustainability cycle has a clear, unique and imperative role in helping them achieve their goals.
Sustainability begins with handcrafted, unrefined ingredients.
In Sokode, Togo, members of the Alaffia Shea Butter Cooperative handcraft shea butter, other indigenous oils and extracts using traditional, organic methods under fair trade guidelines. Their members gain pride and equality as well as a living wage.
In Lacey, Washington, they repackage their shea butter, formulate and produce their finished products under the same principles. Their products are their voice to educate individuals and other organizations about the importance of fair trade and sustainable living. Alaffia's customers help spread their message, provide feedback and ideas, volunteer their time to help with Alaffia's projects, as well as provide the funds with which they conduct their projects and support their cooperative members. They appreciate your support in reaching their goals.
10% of Alaffia's sales are returned to West Africa to fund community enhancement projects. These projects are designed to help lift their communities out of poverty and become self-sustaining. Their projects focus on the future, emphasizing the environment, gender equality education and empowering communities.
Alaffia Certified Fair Trade Shea Butter
To Alaffia, fair trade means paying a fair price or wage in the local context, providing equal employment opportunities, engaging in environmental sustainable practices, providing healthy and safe working conditions, being open to public accountability, and reducing the number of middlemen between producers and consumers. They believe fair trade should be environmentally, economically and culturally sustainable and give local communities the opportunity to self empower.
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 in 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.
Alaffia 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.
Alaffia 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.
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, they look 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 their cooperatives, they also strongly believe 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 they have 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. Alaffia's projects include:
Fair Trade Certification
- Bicycles for Education - Since 2005, they have collected and sent over 3,000 used bicycles to disadvantaged students in Togo so they can get to and from school.
- Maternal Health - Each year, Alaffia provides pre and post natal care to 70 women in central Togo to help reduce high maternal death rates in West Africa.
- School Supplies & Repairs - Alaffia donates metal roofs, seats and school supplies to schools in rural Togo to help communities education their youth.
- Reforestation & Environment - To combat effects of climate change and deforestation by planting trees and building home biogas units.
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 their 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:
- Alaffia'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: They welcome visits and tours of their facility in Lacey, WA. Here, 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 they hear news about natural and man-made disasters, wars, environmental degradation - and 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, they live in an age of unparalleled communication and dialog between communities across the world. The global connections give us advantages and opportunities as 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.
Alaffia's Moral Duty
They firmly believe that it is their duty as educated, healthy, and determined individuals to take advantage of information and communication to work towards bettering the conditions of people and communities who are not so advantaged. They also understand that truly eradicating poverty, gender inequality or environmental collapse requires cooperation and action by all levels of society - individuals, governments, organizations of every scope and scale. However, until this occurs, they have pledged their lives to what they can do - helping their communities in central Togo sustain themselves through the fair trade of their indigenous resource - shea butter. The more each of us can do, the closer they are to everyone working together.
How Alaffia Began
Today, Africa is considered the poorest continent on Earth. Seventy-seven percent of Africans live on less than $2 per day, and women and children make up the majority of this number. African families must also cope with the impacts of diseases such as AIDS and malaria, high unemployment rates, and increasing problems with air and water pollution, including access to potable water. Africans are still experiencing colonial legacies that impede the well-being of the people, such as the systematic exclusion of women from the formal education system and barriers to adequate market information to get fair value for their products and resources.
I was born and raised in central Togo in the village of Kaboli, and experienced this discrepancy between the extreme poverty and the natural wealth of the African continent first hand. I was the sixth of eight children, and my siblings and I shared a 2.5 x 3 meter room with my mother. My mother was a farmer, and I began working on her farm at the age of 5. By my 10th year, I was working on other farms as a way to help my mother provide for my younger siblings, since my father was unable to provide for all of his 32 children. Like my older siblings, I dropped out of school by the 6th grade. During this time, I continued to work on farms and do other jobs to earn money, including collecting and selling shea nuts at the local market.
In 1996, I met my wife Rose Hyde, who is from a farming community in rural Washington State. Rose was in Kaboli as a Peace Corps Volunteer with the agenda of educating farmers on sustainable farming techniques. Two years after meeting Rose, I joined her in the United States. I began learning English immediately, and in 2004, I earned a Bachelors of Science in Organizational Studies, with emphasis on Global Economic Systems from the University of California, Davis. During my studies, I focused on trying to understand why the African continent is so poor, yet contains vast natural resources. My studies reinforced what I had learned as a child, that for Africa to rise out of poverty requires Africans directly participating and leading themselves rather than relying on the World Bank or other ex-colonial institutions.
Before my final year of school, in the summer of 2003, I decided that the urgency of reducing poverty could not wait for me to complete my studies. At this time, they began the process of establishing an organization that would empower communities while preserving culture and resources. Since Rose and I did not have any surplus funds, they applied to their local bank for a business loan of $50,000. As soon as the bank released the funds, I returned to Togo to organize women to handcraft shea butter.
Shea butter is the only resource that fit the criteria for their sustainable business plan to truly empower communities. First, the resource had to be environmentally sustainable. Shea trees grow wild over sixteen West and Central African countries. They are perfectly adapted to the savanna ecosystem, and require no fertilizer or irrigation. Furthermore, the shea nuts have been collected for thousands of years without impacting the shea tree populations and re-growth. Second, the resource had to be traded on the world market. Shea butter has been globally traded for centuries, and, more importantly, the global market price did not fairly reflect the labor involved in crafting shea butter. 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. Thirdly, and most importantly, every step of traditional shea butter extraction involves a great deal of cultural knowledge and practices. I felt strongly that true economic empowerment can only be achieved in Africa if the cultural fabric of their diverse societies is acknowledged in economic exchange.
Alaffia Shea Butter Cooperative
Fairly traded, handcrafted Shea Butter benefits the communities that produce it as well as the communities that purchase it. The fair trade of their handcrafted shea butter and shea butter skin care products is bringing income to and empowering their communities in Togo, 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. Furthermore, they dedicate 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.
Alaffia's customers also benefit because they are receiving an authentic product directly from the source. The same care and philosophies are applied when crafting their creams, lotions, and soaps in Lacey, WA. Rose grew up learning about the health benefits of indigenous plants in rural Washington State. She has taken this knowledge, her extensive education in Enthobotany, Biology and Ecology and created all their formulations - combining their handcrafted oils with other quality ingredients into highly effective, affordable skin care products. They believe customers should have access to body care products made with unrefined, natural ingredients. In turn, you - their customers help spread their message, provide feedback and ideas, and volunteer your time to help with their projects.