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Product Spotlight: Alaffia

With the recent crash-and-burn of SheaMoisture, we have been spending time researching hair products in an effort to find some acceptable replacements. It's a job easier said than done given that SheaMoisture was a worthy brand for such a long time, but some contenders are peeking out.In early 2017,

I was in a Vitamin Shoppe to buy some supplements when an end cap that held Alaffia products caught my eye. Alaffia Authentic African Black Soap All In One looked interesting and could be used as a facial wash, body wash and shampoo. I love African black soap, so I decided to give it a whirl. The first time I tried it, I actually panicked because my hair felt CLEAN, almost stripped. But when I conditioned (with a non-Alaffia conditioner), the tangles fell right out, leaving my hair soft and manageable.

With round two, I was at my newly-opened Lucky's Market and spotted Alaffia there as well. I chose their Lavender shampoo and conditioner (because I am a lavender freak) and fell in love with the shampoo. It didn't feel as deep-cleansing as the All In One, but my curls still felt plenty clean and moisturized.

I wasn't as enamored with the conditioner, however. I missed the slip I got with other conditioners and the detangling process in the shower was more difficult. When my hair dried, it looked and felt fine, but I noticed tiny knots at the ends of my hair after a day. I tried using the Lavender conditioner just as a leave-in, which was better, but I still needed to power up the conditioner with coconut oil to give it any kind of serious slip. My hair, incidentally, is medium texture with a 3B curl pattern.

Alaffia contains no protein that I could see, which was great for medium- to coarse-textured hair, but the lightness of the conditioner was definitely a problem for coarse girls with curls. The lightness of the product is good for our fine-haired sisters, but the lack of protein is a sticking point for them. Since Alaffia is so reasonably priced ($13.99 for 16-ounces in a convenient pump bottle), I would say to try it, but be aware that coarser textures will need to supplement with oils while fine-haired girls will need to add a few protein drops to their conditioner. Medium-textured girls will most likely need a bit of oil as well.

Our verdict? Acceptable for many hair types with some finagling.

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