exemplary customer service

and bonus brownie point for honesty: to Alaffia.

They’re ever so virtuous–cruelty-free, sustainably produced, fair trade, further profits donated directly back, gender equality, empowerment, and so on. About as hippy lefty as you can get: here’s what the banner of their marketing-wing looks like:

I also happen to like them because they make one of the best, and cheapest, sensitive-skin-friendly cleaning products I’ve used in years. Here’s my old review from over a year ago (June 2010); I’d been using it since it first appeared on shop shelves in February/March that year and I bought it on spec, based on the ingredient list alone, and thinking that if it didn’t work as a body wash, I could always use it for laundry…

Full name: Everyday Shea Moisturizing Body Wash. Available (at present) in three versions: Unscented, Vanilla Mint, and Lavender. The manufacturers, Everyday Shea, are an extension of Alaffia.
This is an excellent basic wash, fine on sensitive, irritable skin (this one, anyway) that tends towards dryness. I’m using the unscented version.
It is, as you’ll see from the ingredients, very basic indeed. Minimal ingredients.
(1) SHOWER GEL / BODY WASH: Applied using a poof. Foams up slightly, rinses off well, and leaves skin–well, clean and calm. I’m still moisturising afterwards: just oil, applied either in-shower then rinsed off or (if skin is drier) left on skin at end of shower.
(2) HAND WASH: decanted into empty bottles by bathroom and kitchen sinks. Very good: moisturising, but decent lather and cleans well, also good on smell-reduction from cooking etc. (washing hands twice).
(3) FACE WASH: I’ve also used it as a facial cleanser: works well, and leaves skin clean but not taught.
(4) UPDATE: is there anything this stuff can’t do? adding SHAMPOO. I acted as a guinea-pig for the Green board. Thought this stuff would be like Dr.Bronner’s: but no. Leaves hair clean and detangled, scalp in good happy nick. Following up as per usual with conditioner, which will have at least as much to do with hair condition. I’ve moved from my lovely luxuriously-priced Phytojoba shampoo to a 50:50 mix of Phytojoba and the Everyday. Washing hair twice; first quick wash, second one leaving shampoo on and down length of hair for a few minutes.
So an unequivocal all-round thumbs up. Functionality aside, Everyday Shea gets bonus points for being very cheap. Around USD 10.00-15.00 and CAD15.00-20.00 for a giant pump bottle, 32oz/950ml. Readily available from assorted green shops (got mine from Whole Foods) and online.
Further bonus: a good ethical choice. Cruelty-free, vegan, and made with Fair Trade sustainably-produced shea butter. Alaffia Sustainable Skin Care are a Togolese-founded company, work with cooperatives, and in addition 10% of sales go directly to community (empowerment) projects: more here (click “continued” at the end of this review to activate the link).
INGREDIENTS: Water, Aqueous Neem Leaf (Azadirachta indica) Extract, Handcrafted Shea Butter Soap (Saponified Shea (Butyrospermum parkii) Butter* and Virgin Coconut (Cocos nucifera) Oil), Cocamidopropyl Betaine.

So far, so good.

I’d seen their shampoos in my local purveyor of eco-stuff; but only the scented versions. Online, I saw there was an unscented one. Started thinking about getting it this last April.

INGREDIENTS: Liquid Shea Butter Soap (Aqueous Shea Leaf [Butyrospermum parkii] Extract, Saponified Shea [Butyrospermum parkii] Butter* [and] Virgin Coconut [Cocosnucifera] Oil), Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Decyl Polyglucose. Costs USD 12.00-15.00 for 32 oz/nearly a litre. (Plus shipping to Canada, but hey, even after that it’s still outrageously cheap. Especially if it works.) As you can see, the ingredients are very like those of the body wash.

Before finalizing the order, I emailed ES customer service. Full marks for speed, honesty, courtesy, and fullness of response; plus actually answering my question and writing well. Bit of a shock given my usual customer service experiences. Over to them:

Yes, you are right, the ingredients in the Everyday Shea shampoo & Everyday Shea body wash are very similar.

The only real difference is the neem leaf extract in the body wash. Neem leaf acts as an antibacterial and is very important when washing your body parts that are filled with creases and crevices for bacteria to live and grow.

The shampoo does not have the neem leaf extract because our heads do not produce or harbor as many bacteria as our bodies do.

We have customers asking all the time if they can use only one instead of both and my recommendation is to use the body wash if you’re going to only use one of the two so that you continue to receive the antibacterial cleansing from the neem leaf extract.

We are glad to hear that our body wash has been working great for you and we are appreciative of faithful supporters like you!

Moral of the story: if in doubt, or generally questioning: email. The worst result would be no reply. The best would be this sort of thing.

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