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Shea Tree
Sustainable Resource

Shea butter is one of the world's most sustainable natural resources. The shea trees grow naturally in the grasslands of west and central Africa and produce an abundance of fruit without the need for irrigation, fertilizer or pesticides. Because they are native to the West African savanna and are not grown in dense plantations, pests are also not a problem. Thus, there is no need for toxic pesticides. Shea trees are adapted to the savanna environment and do not need to be irrigated. They are also resistant to the fires that sweep through the savannas every dry season.

Shea trees are wild, and are not grown in plantations. Efforts to start shea plantations have failed for two reasons. First, shea trees do not germinate easily and have not been viable in plantation settings. Second, it takes at least 25 years for a shea tree to produce large numbers of fruits. For these reasons, shea butter remains a wild harvested product.

Sustainable Extraction

As more people become aware of the healing power of unrefined shea butter, the demand for this natural product increases. It is important to purchase only shea butter that has been produced in Africa using traditional methods. The product is sustainable because it is hand harvested and hand produced. The shea nuts are not over-harvested, and local people are in control of their resources. Shea butter production has the potential to help poor African nations, but there is also a threat to this resource as demand increases.

Sustainable Formulating

The goal of Beautiful Curls formulas is to preserve the protective, healing and moisturizing properties of the base ingredient, handcrafted shea butter. Therefore, we use shea butter in its raw, unrefined state in maximum concentrations. We carefully choose fresh herbal extracts, vitamins and minerals specific to curly hair to create simple, effective formulations without harsh chemicals - such as sulfates and parabens. All formulas are created without animal testing, are vegan and biodegradable.

Sustainable Cycle

One of the main ways we 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 us achieve our goals.

In Sokodé, Togo, members of the Alaffia Shea Butter Cooperative handcraft shea butter, other indigenous oils and extracts using traditional, organic methods under fair trade guidelines. Our members gain pride and equality as well as a living wage.

In Olympia, Washington, we formulate and produce Beautiful Curls products under the same principles. Our products are our voice to educate individuals and other organizations about the importance of fair trade and sustainable living. Our customers help spread our message, provide feedback and ideas, volunteer their time to help with our projects, as well as provide the funds with which we conduct our projects and support our cooperative members. We appreciate your support in reaching our goals.

10% of our sales are returned to West Africa to fund community enhancement projects. These projects are designed to help lift our communities out of poverty and become self-sustaining. Our projects focus on the future, emphasizing the environment, gender equality education and empowering communities.
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