Inspiration of the Month–November 20111
As skincare products go, I suppose you could categorize me as a “junkie”. I’ve tried everything from inexpensive creams that promise a lot, but do nothing because they’re made from chemicals and junk (won’t name names here, but take a look at your lotion bottle today and google the ingredients…ugh) AND very expensive, organic products that promise to lift you (and your skin) straight into the ether…as long as you can PAY! Neither scenarios resonate with me. I’m a healthy, conscious person who loves to feel beautiful and take care of myself, but who is on a budget and not willing to support unhealthy chemical-based creams produced by large corporations with no conscience. Whewww…
And then I found…ALAFFIA!! There should be an extra “ahhhhhh” at the end of their name, because honestly, what ahh-mazing products! Not only that, as I kept reading more about them (there’s ALOT of information on their product bottles and hey, I like to be informed), my appreciation and respect deepened and grew. This is a company on a MISSION. In their words, they are “advancing gender equality and alleviating poverty through the fair trade of hand crafted shea butter” made in Togo, West Africa. Would you like to know how??
The founder, Olowo-n’djo Tchala, a native of Kaboli, Togo (read more about him here), has created a company based on sustainable principles that honour the worth of indigenous knowledge and resources, namely the practice of women turning shea nuts into unrefined shea butter, and getting a fair global market price for it. It’s shipped to Washington State and turned into nourishing, natural, high-quality body and face products that you could eat if necessary (once you smell their Virgin Coconut and Shea body lotion, you’ll want to get a spoon…think fresh cut lemon grass drizzled in coconut oil…whoa!). And it’s affordable! 10% or more of profits go directly to support the following initiatives in Togo:
1. Bike project–over 3500 bikes donated to date to help keep rural kids, particularly girls, in school, in 40 different villages in Togo
2. Schools project–have donated metal roofs and school benches to various schools in Togo
3. Reforestation project–thousands of trees planted in Togo since 2006 to decrease global climate change and desertification; fruit and forage trees provide food for families and livestock
4. Maternal health project–from 2006-2010, 740 women received full pre-natal care and delivery assistance resulting in zero unnecessary deaths of mothers or their children
5. Gender Equality project–women are the backbone of African societies; when given a fair wage for their important community knowledge and skills, it encourages equality as they are able to earn money to support their children and husbands. The traditional act of extracting shea oil from the nuts is done only by women and then passed on to their daughters. Empowered women = empowered communities!
Here are my current top 5 favs (all range from $11-$14):
1. Virgin Coconut and Shea body lotion (honestly, you’re going to want to buy 2-3 bottles of this at a time–incredible!)
2. Shea and Coffee Cafe au lait body lotion
3. Unscented shea body cream (I also use this as an eye cream!)
4. Everyday Shea lavender body wash (“Everyday Shea” is an extension of Alaffia’s Sustainable Skin Care line; larger sizes, simpler products, GREAT value)
5. Coconut and Shea daily hydrating shampoo/conditioner (although I use the Everyday Shea lavender body wash as shampoo and face wash too–very gentle and perfect as a multi-tasker if you’re on a tight budget)
Please send me your comments and thoughts about this blog and Alaffia!! Check out their website and support them in any way you can.
Afro Flow Yoga–a passionate team member since 2010