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Agbanga Karite


Shea Butter, Pure & Unrefined

This site offers pure, unrefined shea butter, virgin coconut oil and African black soap at wholesale quantities.

Our Alaffia shea butter, shea butter lotions, shea butter face creams and shea butter soaps are available at Alaffia Fair Trade Shea Butter.

We handcraft our shea butter and African black soap in Togo under fair trade and organic standards. Our direct involvment in the entire process, from gathering shea nuts to distribution to our wholesale customers, ensures that our shea butter is of the highest quality and guaranteed to be fresh. Please read more below for information on our shea butter and fair trade practices.

Our pure unrefined shea butter comes from seeds of wild shea trees scattered throughout the fields and forests of the wooded savanna in central and northern Togo. The moisturizing and healing properties of shea butter have recently been discovered by the western cosmetic industry, but shea butter has been a mainstay of African pharmacology for centuries.

Tree Landscape Photo

Shea butter has many useful properties and has been traditionally used for hair and skin care, as cooking oil, and for lamp fuel. However, the protective and emollient properties of shea butter are most valued for skin care. In central Togo, shea butter is applied to the skin and hair as a moisturizer and is also a main ingredient in traditional black soaps.

Learn more about Alaffia in this video

Beautiful Curls Instructional Video


Moisturizing & Healing Benefits of our Unrefined Shea Butter1>Unrefined shea butter contains an abundance of beneficial ingredients, including vitamins, minerals, proteins and a unique fatty acid profile, and is a superior active moisturizer. Unlike petroleum based moisturizers, shea butter actually restores the skin's natural elasticity. Shea butter enables your skin to absorb moisture from the air, and as a result, it becomes softer and stays moisturized for longer. In addition, shea butter contains natural antioxidants. Because of its amazing properties, shea butter is an excellent ingredient for soaps, lotions and creams. Perhaps it is most effective when applied to the skin in its pure state. Regular users of pure, unrefined shea butter notice softer, smoother, healthier skin. Shea butter has also been shown to help moisturize dry skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Fair Trade Shea Butter

Fair Trade Shea ButterUnrefined shea butter is a valuable natural resource for West African 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. 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. Through our direct involvement of the entire process - from gathering the wild shea nuts and crafting the butter, to distribution locally and abroad - our members receive fair and steady incomes. In addition, a large percentage of your purchases will go directly back to our community in the form of community enhancement projects, AIDS and malaria outreach, and educational scholarships. We believe in "building African self-empowerment the moral way" and truly appreciate your involvement in reaching our goals. Visit our non-profit organization - the Global Alliance for Community Empowerment and Alaffia Fair Trade Shea Butter and Sustainable Skin Care for more information on what we do to support our communities.

Refined & Unrefined Shea Butter - the Difference

Fair Trade Shea ButterOnly pure, unrefined shea butter has the true beneficial and moisturizing properties of shea butter. Most shea butter available to the general public outside West Africa is white and odorless, in other words it has been "refined" to remove the natural scent and color of natural shea butter. In the process, the majority of the effective agents are also removed. In addition, refined shea butter has usually been extracted from the shea kernels with hexane or other petroleum solvents. The extracted oil is boiled to drive off the toxic solvents, and then refined, bleached, and deodorized, which involves heating it to over 400¡F and the use of harsh chemicals, such as sodium hydroxide. Shea butter extracted in this manner still contains some undesirable solvent residues, and its healing values are significantly reduced. Antioxidants or preservatives such as BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) or BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) may be added as well. The end result is an odorless, white butter that may be aesthetically appealing, but lacks the true moisturizing, healing, and nutritive properties of true traditional shea butter. In addition, refined shea butter is often hard and grainy, not smooth and creamy like pure, unrefined shea butter. All that can be said for refined shea butter is that it has an extended shelf life, a white, uniform color, and no odor.


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