Alaffia Virgin Coconut Body Cream
I’ve tried so many different lotions, body creams, and hand creams over the years, but I never polish them off. I always become annoyed with a product for various reasons. Either they get sticky, don’t soak in, or I get tired of the scent. On many occasions I’ve missed an irritating ingredient and had to toss it! There’s nothing worse than picking something that looks clean, but isn’t*. I like short ingredient lists, they’re usually safer and much easier to decipher.
I’ve had my favorites in the past, like Weleda’s skin food. It’s greasy and amazing but sadly takes a while to sink in. Practically speaking, greasy isn’t always good. You know, it gets all over your clothes! So I always move on, still longing and searching for the best, yummiest, and most moisturizing body cream ever made. A cream free of wild, flashy ingredients and low on the (much overused) plant derived preservatives.
About 4 months ago, I found it. Alaffia’s virgin coconut body cream is truly delicious. I’ve known about Alaffia for years. I love their products but their Coconut cooperative is rather new. I’m totally in love with their coconut lotions (the body cream in particular). It’s thick and lasts forever (I’m on my second tube, the first one lasted well over a month!). Unlike many new creams, I haven’t gotten tired of it. I long for it, crave it, need it! It still works wonders and I love the smell –real fresh coconuts, lightly toasted with a deep scent of love and hint of lemon. Yummy!
Since it’s so thick a little goes a long way. It mostly contains Fair Trade shea butter, Fair Trade coconut oil, glycerine, and water. Alaffia doesn’t use parabens or any other nasty questionable ingredients. Their products are gluten free and are never tested on animals. And the best part is, the company was founded on love, not profit. Here’s the scoop:
Alaffia was created for one reason: to empower the women living in absolute poverty in Togo, West Africa. Their founder, Olowo-n’djo (pronounced All-O-WANd-Jo) is from West Africa and wanted to change the terrible circumstances in his village. The drop out rate for school children was very high, almost 100% for girls, due to the distance they had to travel on foot. The natal birth/death rate was also very high, just like other places in Africa. The company was founded to change these things.. and change, they have. (NOTE: around 8% graduation rate then but now inverted to only 8% drop out rate. change shown in 10 years time.)
Since an indigenous craft was producing Shea butter, creating a Shea cooperative was the first step in empowering these women. The Shea nuts are harvested when they fall from the tree and then processed in traditional ways: by hand. The elder women in the village are in charge of whipping the shea into heavenly butter. They have a long, tedious process! Yet they all sing, smile, dance, and chant while they work…because they are happy and enjoy it! The products they make vibrate with their joy and are quite magical.
Recently Alaffia started a new coconut cooperative employing over 130 new women! People are pretty coocoo for coconut lately and sales seem to be going very well. Yay for them!
I feel good rubbing their coconut body cream all over myself. Not just because it smells like coconut cake, or because Alaffia gives over 10% of profit back to the village (and pays far above minimum fare trade standards) but because it’s awesome.
This product cells in 4oz tubes for around $10.
I hope you get all coconutty shea slathered and support a good cause doing so!
Other products Alaffia makes that I love include:
Tangerine Citrus Black Soap (http://www.alaffia.com/store/pc/Authentic-African-Black-Soap-16-oz-Tangerine-Citrus-39p211.htm)
Everyday Coconut Body Wash (http://www.everydaycoconut.com/shopEDC/index.php/shop-online/edc-body-wash.html)
and Rose Geranium Shea Butter Balm (http://www.alaffia.com/store/pc/Shea-Butter-Hand-Body-Balm-16p115.htm)
I encourage you to support their efforts in empowering women and changing the world!
Read more about Alaffia here:
Read more about the IMO here:
Read more about Fair for Life here:
*Would you like an example of dirty but “clean” body care? Let’s use a lotion label from Andalou Naturals.
Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis Juice*, Aqua, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Oil*, Vegetable Glycerin, Capric/Caprylic Triglycerides, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Xanthan Gum, Citrus Reticulate (Mandarin) and Vanilla Planifolia Extracts*, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil*, Sodium Alginate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*†, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Oil, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Butter*, Malus Domestica (Apple), Solar Vitis (Grape) and Vaccinium Myrtillus (Bilberry) Fruit Stem Cell Cultures and BioActive 8 Berry Complex*, Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5), Aspalathus Linearis (Rooibos) Extract*†, Allanotin, Soy Tocopherol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Benzyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil*.
*Organic †Fair Trade
We see Panthenol which is B5, about as pure as the stuff in Panteen Pro-v. Note it’s not organic, which means it’s probably derived from a corn (or coal!) source (could be GMO!). Speaking of, the Soy preservative (vitamin E called tocopherol) isn’t organic ether. Then there’s Ethylhexylglycerin, which they say is better than Parabins, but I don’t necessarily agree. Read about it HERE (http://chemicaloftheday.squarespace.com/todays-chemical/2009/7/31/ethylhexylglycerin.html).
Although this label looks flashy with it’s fruity oils and 8 berry complex stem cells (Andelou uses water soluble cells which do not absorb into the skin) there are tons of preservatives, water, and filler oils. This is not a gluten free or soy free product. The only thrill of this item is it’s price, $8 for 11oz. While it’s not terrible, it’s what I consider an acceptable “Sold at Target” naturalish product. But sadly, it’s sold in Whole Foods and other Health Stores nationwide.
You can find this product here: http://www.swansonvitamins.com/andalou-naturals-body-lotion-mandarin-vanilla-11-fl-oz-lotion
Now let’s looks at the Alaffia coconut body cream. The fragrance is a blend of indigenous oils while the steric acid, potassium sorbate, veggie wax, and glycerin are likely coconut derived. This is a gluten free and soy free product. Yum! It’s also got a much shorter list of ingredients and a better fair trade certification list. Oh, and it’s handmade… Ya just can’t beat that!
Ingredients: Distilled Water, Virgin Coconut (Cocos nucifera) Oil**, Vegetable Glycerin, Vegetable Emulsifying Wax, Handcrafted Cocoa (Theobroma cacao) Butter*, Stearic Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Fragrance, Lemongrass Essential Oil, Limonene, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C).
*Handmade by Alaffia Cooperatives in Togo. **Certified Fair Trade by IMO.
Christy Patton is Chakra Center’s savvy and experimental product reviewer. Find out more about her work on our staff-and-contributors. This information is intended for educational purposes only.