Our June Favorites at Whole Foods

You’ve probably seen bottles of Alaffia’s now-ubiquitous African Black Soap in the aisles of your local health food store, or perhaps you read our previous review of the wildly popular multipurpose natural soap. It's trending for good reason—it’s the best all-around shower soap I’ve ever used—but it’s an even better purchase when you factor in what the company making it is all about.

Alaffia products center on one key ingredient: shea butter that’s been fairly traded from partner cooperatives in West Africa. The company, which transforms the raw ingredients into finished products in Washington state, was founded 11 years ago to help empower these West African communities and help alleviate poverty. To this end, they have programs that focus on maternal health, reforestation, and schools. 

They also collect used bicycles and donate them to rural areas where it is particularly difficult for children to get to school. They’ve gifted the community more than 6,300 bikes so far, boosting school attendance as a result. Santa Cruz area readers can pitch in to this cause on Sunday, June 28, when the Whole Foods Santa Cruz store (911 Soquel Ave.) will host a bike drive for Alaffia from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. If you don’t have a bike to donate, consider giving back by buying one of Alaffia’s GOOD Soap bars for just $1.

Which brings me to this month’s installment of our ongoing collaboration with Whole Foods. I’m focusing the June picks (with one tiny, shiny exception) on this fantastic company and a few of their must-try products:

  • Alaffia Beautiful Curls Enhancing Shampoo 
  • Alaffia Beautiful Curls Enhancing Leave-In Conditioner
  • Alaffia GOOD Soap Bar
  • Alaffia's Everyday Coconut Body Lotion

I’ve tried and loved them all. The shampoo and conditioner, in particular, have been a revelation for this curly-headed writer.

My last pick for June, and the only item in the bunch that doesn’t hail from Alaffia headquarters, is Mineral Fusion’s Liquid Lip Gloss. This company is on a serious roll: they’ve long since won me over with their “blonzer,” concealer duo, brush-on sun defense powder and more. Their new lip gloss shades needed to do little else than shimmer from the center of the Mineral Fusion display to convince me that I needed to give one a try. “Delicate” is a sexy nude pink with the glistening sheen of a lip gloss and the feel of a nourishing lip balm (none of that sticky sensation left behind by too many glosses).

Learn more about Alaffia here, or in this video.

Eco-Beauty Giveaway Winner & More

Without further ado, The Penny Rose would like to congratulate Jordy Whitaker for winning our big eco-beauty giveaway! Jordy was one of dozens of entrants across Facebook, Instagram and on the blog, and is the lucky recipient of a Synergy Organic Clothing + The Penny Rose top, a variety of natural makeup from Whole Foods Market, and two tickets to this Friday’s “Spring Style Preview: Natural Beauty & Fashion” event.

Didn’t win? Don’t fret: tickets are still available (online and at the door) for $10, and are well worth the cost considering proceeds go to the Walnut Avenue Women’s Center. The event takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, March 13 at Synergy’s flagship store in downtown Santa Cruz (1229 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz), and will feature skincare demos by evan healy, mini eco-beauty makeovers by Whole Foods and a look at the new spring line from Synergy.

If this fun event whets your appetite for eco-beauty inspiration, you’re in luck. Whole Foods is kicking off its first Beauty Week (March 18-24), when the local stores will participate in a celebration of all things natural beauty. They’ll offer a $60-value limited edition “Hello Beauty!” bag stuffed with exclusive samples for $18 starting March 21, will be offering 25 percent off all facial products from March 20-22, and will be showcasing a new rosehip oil-based skincare brand, Trilogy.