Totally Shea makes vegan soaps, shampoo bars and skincare with natural ingredients. They do it all by hand in a small-scale soap-making factory in De Rijp, North Holland. If you’re looking for a new sustainable body, hair or skincare routine, then keep on reading!
Helemaal Shea products are ethically and artisanally made in the Netherlands. Helemaal Shea also buys its socially responsible ingredients. For example, they use fair trade shea butter from northern Ghana, where the women who are producing the butter receive extra support and income through the Fair For Live programme.
However, the working conditions for the extraction of the ingredients are not always guaranteed. Indeed, we do not know exactly where they’re coming from and are often imported from far away (China, Turkey, Peru...) so we cannot be 100% sure of the conditions surrounding their harvesting or production.
As the name Helemaal Shea (‘helemaal’ means ‘completely’ in Dutch) suggests, organic shea butter plays the main role in the brand's products. This shea butter is unrefined and has a distinctive fragrance and colour. In addition, it also has a unique softening and moisturising effect, great for dry skin. Helemaal Shea's shea butter also has a minimal impact on the environment as the nuts used to make the butter come from an area with no human activity, meaning nature and the shea tree are not damaged or contaminated.
The hair soaps and shampoo bars only contain ingredients hair needs, so the brand avoids sulphates (SLS-free), gluten, palm oil (however, they do not possess a certificate to guarantee this), parabens, silicones, phthalates, synthetic dyes, microplastics, preservatives and perfume. The products only contain natural ingredients, such as pure vegetable oils and essential oils to create a nice scent. Good news for your health and the environment!
Helemaal Shea soaps are biodegradable and, depending on the product, contain various natural and/or organic ingredients (distinguishable by the * in the ingredients list). For example, the shea butter is certified organic by Skal and the coconut oil, among others, is also organic. Other ingredients you will find in the products include almond oil, chamomile, rosemary, hemp oil, argan oil, jojoba oil, clay and aloe vera.
Their natural soaps are cold process soaps. What does that mean? The vegetable oils and butters are first mixed with lye and go through a saponification process together, eventually leaving no lye. Glycerine is created naturally during the process. Then, after 24 hours, the soaps are cut into bars and left to dry and harden for another 4-6 weeks. The cold process requires less CO2 and ensures that the oils retain their qualities well. Only the shampoos (i.e. not the hair soaps) are made via a different process; these are compressed.
Everything from Helemaal Shea is packaged plastic-free! The soaps are packed in FSC-certified cardboard boxes (a certificate for sustainable forest management), the bottled products are in glass and the cans for the body butters are made of aluminium. All of the packaging is therefore 100% recyclable!
The soaps are made very locally and in small batches in the Dutch soap factory. In contrast, the ingredients sometimes have to travel a considerable distance to the Dutch factory.
The Teunis flowers come from China, the Jojoba oil from Israel, the Hemp seed oil somewhere from Europe, the Pomegranate oil from Turkey, the Castor oil from India, the Cupuacu butter from Peru, the Babassu oil from Italy, the Avocado oil from Spain or Kenya, the Olive oil from Spain and the Argan oil from Morocco.
Helemaal Shea's soaps are also completely animal-friendly! In fact, they are vegan and are not tested on animals. The products are only tested on the producers, their husbands and children.
Did you know that bars of soap last much longer than liquid soap or shampoo in plastic bottles? Because they contain no water, the shampoo bars last as long as 4-5 bottles of liquid shampoo.
Helemaal Shea also gives some tips on how to use your soap for as long as possible: don't leave it in water, store it on a good soap dish and let it dry sufficiently between uses.
Helemaal Shea shares its story with complete transparency. The only are they lack transparency is the exact origin of the ingredients and how they (try to) ensure ethical working conditions there. This information is only available for the shea butter. The brand is, however, very transparent about why they choose certain ingredients and what their effects are. The address of their soap factory is even disclosed.
Are you looking for a sustainable, plastic-free alternative to shampoo, conditioner, body soap, deodorant or skin care such as a serum or lip balm? For yourself or to give as a gift? Then you've come to the right place at Helemaal Shea. Shop it at the shops below!