Alaffia - Everyday Shea Foaming Shea Butter Hand Soap Vanilla Mint - 18 oz. (570 ml)
Alaffia Everyday Shea Vanilla Mint Foaming Shea Butter Hand Soap is a rich instant foaming hand soap that thoroughly cleanses your hands with unrefined Certified Fair Trade shea butter and virgin coconut oil, leaving them clean and moisturized. Handmade with neem leaf extract to support healthy skin and shea leaf extract for antioxidant protection. Scented with vanilla extract and spearmint essential oil.
Alaffia Everyday Shea Foaming Shea Butter Hand Soap Features
- No Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
- No Synthetic Fragrance
- No Animal Testing
- No Parabens
Traditional Handcrafted Shea Butter
Traditionally handcrafting Shea butter is a long process involving several critical steps. Alaffia Handcrafted Shea butter is made with care by our cooperative members in Togo, West Africa. Women in their communities have been extracting Shea butter in this manner for generations. The first step in the handcrafting process is collecting ripe Shea fruits. The fruits are sustainably harvested from wild Shea trees by women and their families. This harvest provides a welcome income for these typically disadvantaged members of society. After harvest, the fruit and shell are removed, and the remaining kernels, or "nuts" are sun dried and sorted.
When the dried nuts are received, they are washed to remove dust and debris, dried and sorted for quality. The sorted nuts are then crushed, roasted to decrease moisture content and further ground to a thick paste. This paste is mixed with clean, potable water and whipped by hand until the fats begin to separate. This separation process takes from one to three hours. After the oils rise and are separated, they are skimmed off, melted and strained into basins. The cooling oil is stirred very carefully to initialize the crystallization process and form the oil into shea butter. The stirring process is crucial in making a creamy shea butter, as it helps the crystals align as the butter solidifies. The crystallization process can take up to 24 hours in warmer weather.
Traditional, Unrefined vs Refined Shea Butter
They take extreme care at each step in the traditional extraction process so the end result is the highest quality Shea butter possible. Since such care is taken during the extraction, they do not have to alter or process the Shea butter in any further way, and their customers receive the purest, most effective Shea butter.
Most Shea butter available to the general public outside West Africa is white and odorless since it has been "refined" to remove the natural scent and color. In the "refining" process, the majority of the effective agents are also removed. Refined Shea butter has usually been extracted with hexane or other petroleum solvents, which leave toxic residues in the butter. It is then bleached and deodorized, which involves temperatures over 400°F and treatment with harsh chemicals. Preservatives such as BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) or BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) may be added as well. The end result is an odorless, white butter that lacks the true moisturizing, healing, and nutritive properties of handcrafted and unrefined Shea butter.
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.
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 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.
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.
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. Everyday Shea/Alaffia's projects include:
- 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.
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 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:
- 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: 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.
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.