When it comes to developing beauty products, not all companies are made equally. Some businesses focus on merely developing high-quality products, while others go far beyond the call of duty by working to foster community and change the world. One company that exemplifies this goal is Alaffia, a hair-care and skin-care brand founded by Olowo-n’djo Tchala and rooted in Tchala’s upbringing and West African heritage.

The ingredients in each body, face, and hair product are made with fair trade shea butter from Africa with a percentage of sales supporting African communities in need. One of the brand’s missions is to reduce poverty and catalyze gender equality in Togolese communities, in addition to working towards eliminating poverty worldwide.

Tchala’s most noteworthy aspiration has been to combine culture, activism, and beauty to change the way people not only think about beauty products but also ethical treatment and rights. “The communal needs and culture of Togo truly drive the direction of our Empowerment Projects,” says Lanaia Edwards, Alaffia’s vice president of global marketing.

The Beautiful Curls collection is the newest offering from Alaffia, and it was created to promote healthy, defined curls for people with Type 2 to 4C hair. The collection includes shampoos, leave-in conditioners, oils, curl creams, and edge control designed with both low and high porosity hair types in mind—and everything is under $15. Each product is free of silicones, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, synthetic fragrance, and artificial colors. Plus, the entire line is plant-based and made with handcrafted, unrefined shea butter and coconut oil from a women-led Alaffia Village co-op in Togo.

“Each product is formulated with aqueous extracts, which makes even the water efficacious and beneficial to [the] hair and scalp. Using Alaffia’s reverse osmosis water system, purified water is infused with botanicals such as yarrow, comfrey, arnica, calendula, and chamomile,” Edwards adds. Supporting Tchala’s mission to empower African communities, five percent of each sale from the Beautiful Curls collection is donated to Beautiful Arrival, Allafia’s Maternal Care Project which recently expanded to the U.S.

“Our goal is to empower Togolese women to support themselves and their families in sustainable ways by alleviating poverty and advancing gender equality. Facilitating access to the global trade market through the fair trade of indigenous resources and community empowerment projects is a successful way of achieving this,” explains Edwards.

Serving the community has deeply informed the development of every Alaffia product in meaningful ways. Edwards explains, “It came naturally and only made sense to organize cooperatives around the indigenous resources readily available in Togolese communities so that our women-led members would be able to provide their skills and knowledge to the rest of the world and rise out of poverty.”

She goes on to share that, “Our products are entirely informed by the landscape, the cultural customs, and handcrafting processes that are dear to the heart of West Africa. This approach has allowed us to positively impact the lives of thousands through our Empowerment Projects in maternal health, eyeglasses distribution, reforestation, and regenerative agriculture and education.”

Alaffia goes beyond beauty needs. It’s a brand centered on empowering and improving the lives of African people. Every Alaffia hair product is interwoven with the very definition of the name, being in a state of well-being, harmony, and wellness.

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