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Shea Butter: Mother Nature's Conditioner

At The Heart...

  • The Shea tree has been nicknamed “Tree of Life,” a moniker earned by virtue of its ability to address numerous skin, hair, and health conditions. “Mother Nature's Conditioner” is a nickname that Shea Butter has earned for its exceptional moisturizing and softening properties.

  • Shea Butter is derived from the kernels of the Shea Tree’s fruits.


  • Used topically, Shea Butter is known to be a “skin superfood” that nourishes skin.  It promotes clarity and addresses problems such as dryness, blemishes, dark spots, discolorations, stretch marks, and wrinkles without clogging pores.


  • Used in hair, Shea Butter moisturizes and nourishes from root to the tip, protects against dryness and brittleness, repairs damage, and conditions without leaving a sticky residue.

Benefits of Shea Butter

The main chemical constituents of Shea Butter are: Oleic Acid, Stearic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Linoleic Acid, Cinnamic Acid Esters, Allantoin, and Polyphenols (Tocopherol/Vitamin E).


OLEIC ACIDS (OMEGA 9) are known to:

  • Maintain the softness, suppleness, and radiance of skin and hair

  • Stimulate the growth of thicker, longer, and stronger hair

  • Reduce the appearance of aging, such as premature wrinkles and fine lines

  • Eliminate dandruff and thereby support hair growth

  • Boost immunity

  • Exhibit antioxidant properties

  • Prevent joint inflammation, stiffness, and pain 

  • Impact the hardness or softness of the butter

STEARIC ACID is known to:

  • Have cleansing properties that purge dirt, sweat, and excess sebum from hair and skin

  • Be an ideal emulsifying agent that binds water and oil

  • Help products remain potent when stored for long periods of time

  • Condition and protect hair from damage without diminishing luster or making it feel heavy

  • Have exceptional cleansing properties

  • Soften skin

  • Provides the butter with a solid consistency


PALMITIC ACID is known to:

  • Have emollient properties

  • Soften hair without leaving a greasy or sticky residue

  • Be the most common saturated fatty acid


LINOLEIC ACID (OMEGA 6/Vitamin F) is known to:

  • Moisturize hair and promote its growth

  • Facilitate wound healing

  • Be an effective emulsifier in the formulation of soaps and quick-drying oils

  • Exhibit anti-inflammatory properties

  • Soothe acne and reduce chances of future outbreaks

  • Promote moisture retention in skin and hair

  • Make oils feel thinner in consistency when used in an oil blend, thus being beneficial for use on acne-prone skin

  • Soothe and promote the healing of skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis

  • Slow the look of premature aging



  • Have SPF properties that make it act as natural sunscreen

  • Soothe inflammation, irritation, and redness

  • Contribute antioxidant properties

  • Promote cell regeneration, making skin look rejuvenate

ALLANTOIN is known to:

  • Contribute protective and regenerative properties to skin that facilitate wound healing

  • Effectively soften skin and soothe irritation

  • Stimulate cell regeneration, thereby promoting the growth of healthy skin and tissue

  • Be an effective moisturizing agent

  • Be gentle and non-irritating, making it ideal for use on sensitive or irritated skin

  • Increase the water content of cells, making it an ideal ingredient for anti-aging products

  • Enhance skin’s texture, making it smoother


POLYPHENOLS are known to:

  • Soften skin

  • Exhibit antioxidant properties that slow the look of aging

  • Protect against harmful UV radiation

  • Boost skin cell regeneration and elasticity, thereby enhancing overall skin quality

  • Promote greater circulation and oxygen to the skin

  • Have antioxidant properties that slow the look of aging and boost circulation

  • Repair scarred and blemished skin

  • Prevent moisture loss from skin and hair

  • Offer soothing relief to skin that has been burned

  • Deeply cleanse pores and balance oil production

VITAMIN A is known to:

  • Protect skin against damage caused by UV radiation

  • Slow the appearance of aging by smoothing wrinkles and fine lines

  • Stimulate production of collagen

  • Stimulate cells regeneration to keep skin healthy, strong, and firm

  • Facilitate faster healing of wounds

  • Protect skin against toxins and bacteria and promotes cell production, thus boosting immunity

  • Lighten unwanted blemishes and dark spots, thus balancing skin tone to create an even glow

  • Slow the production of oil in the skin and clears pores, thereby preventing acne breakouts

As illustrated, Shea Butter is reputed to have many therapeutic properties. The following highlights its many benefits and the kinds of activity it is believed to show:

  • COSMETIC: Anti-Inflammatory, Regenerative, Anti-Aging, Hydrating, Skin-Conditioning, Softening, Smoothing, Restorative, Collagen-Boosting.

Cultivation and Harvesting Quality Shea Butter

Shea trees are indigenous to the Savanna regions of West Africa, where approximately 500 million of them grow wild from Senegal to Sudan. Shea Trees first begin to bear large, green, plum-like fruit when they are between 10 and 15 years old, reaching full bearing potential when they are between 20 and 50 years of age. Known to have a lifespan of up to 200 years, the tree continues to produce fruits up until this time.


Shea trees begin to blossom usually between the months of February and March. The green fruit ripens to a brown color usually between June and July. Beginning at this time and going into the month of September, Shea fruits begin to drop to the ground. This allows for a natural, hand-picking collection system during the time of harvest. 30% of the nuts remain on the ground to germinate and to contribute nutrients to the soil. A Shea tree can yield 15-20 kg of fresh Shea fruit, which will produce 3-4 kg of dry kernels that contain 42-48% oil (butter).




Unripe Shea fruits have a light green outer skin known as the Epicarp, which protects the fleshy Mesocarp also known as the Pulp. Inside the Pulp is a relatively hard Endocarp or the Shell, which contains the Shea Nut/Seed. Inside the Nut, is the white, fatty KernelIt is these edible, oil-rich Kernels that are used to produce the extract known as Shea Butter, which is considered to be a vegetable fat. In the wild, the Nuts/Seeds continue to be propagated by wind, rain, animals, and people for the future growth of Shea trees.

Shea Land and ivy
How is Shea Butter Extracted ?

In the villages of Africa, Shea Butter is extracted primarily by women, whose main source of income is Shea Butter production – hence its name “Women’s Gold.”


There are diverse extraction processes for Shea Butter. Below, the traditional manual extraction method of Africa as well as the modern, industrial method will be explained:


Often, after collecting the fallen Shea fruits, the Shea nuts are inspected to ensure that they are intact and free of mold. Nuts that are broken or damaged are discarded. Other nuts that are unusable for butter are used to create soaps or candles, among other products.


When the Shea nuts are transported to co-ops, the women begin by washing the nuts with water or sometimes with a 5% bleach solution. Washing the nuts reduces contamination caused by microorganisms, thereby preventing mold and yeast from developing. In order to easily remove their outer shells, sometimes the nuts are parboiled for half an hour. Boiling also works to neutralize the germination activities of their embryos and to prevent the final butter’s degradation.


After the nuts have been boiled, they are laid out on a clean, dry surface under the sun to dry.


The usable Shea nuts are crushed with a mortar and pestle. The mass of crushed nuts is roasted for up to half an hour while being constantly stirred, in order to prevent burning. The women are able to tell that the crushed nuts have been roasted for long enough by taking a small sample and sprinkling water on it. When the water sizzles on the crushed nuts, it means that the mass is ready to undergo the next step in the production process.


The roasted nuts are wet milled into a smooth, brown, creamy paste to which water is added. This paste and water mix begins to emulsify into a creamy substance as it is beaten and kneaded by hand for a few hours while more water is slowly added. The emulsified oils from the brown paste float to the top of the water. These curd-like clumps, which are often white in color, are collected into a separate container and may sometimes be washed up to 5 times with water to sanitize them for a cleaner final product.


The emulsified oil clumps are boiled in order to melt them back into a liquid – a “butter oil” – and to purify it by further separating it from any dark brown residue. This boiling process allows excess water to be drawn out of the butter through the steam that is produced. The resultant pure liquefied Shea Butter that floats to the top is constantly skimmed off the top with a spoon, placed into a separate container, and allowed to cool.  Once the filtered liquid Shea Butter cools and hardens, this Refined or Ultra-Refined Shea Butter will usually be ivory, off-white, or cream in color. This soft, smooth final product is scooped into containers and packaged. Depending on its processing method, the final color of Shea Butter ranges from whitish, to a light shade of green, to yellow.

The industrial processing of Shea Butter is typically done by Cold Pressing or Solvent Extraction, and the resultant butter may also be further refined and deodorized. In Cold Pressing, the oil-bearing Shea Nuts are placed inside the pressing mechanism. They undergo high pressure and friction in order to release their oils, which seep through small openings at the bottom of the pressing barrel. These openings are small enough to prevent Shea fibers from leaving the barrel. The resultant butter is similar to Refined Shea Butter, in that it is light in color with a fainter scent while it still retains its nutritive value.

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