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How Is Shea Butter Made?

How Is Shea Butter Made?

We love Shea butter because it’s a rich, nourishing, and natural alternative to mainstream skincare products. But that’s not all! We also love how it’s made. When you order a pound of our organic, unrefined Shea butter, you’re not ordering from some faceless corporation. You’re supporting an amazing group of women in Ghana, Africa who make their living this way.

Shea Butter Origins

Before we get into how Shea butter is made, let us give you a little background.

Shea butter is sometimes called “women’s gold” because it provides employment and income to women in 19 African nations. These nations are home to the Karite (or Shea) tree. It’s a tree that produces the nuts that are used to make this rich butter. This tree can take up to fifty years to reach maturity and is considered a precious commodity due to the nuts it provides. We source all of our Shea butter from fair local trading efforts in Ghana, where women harvest Shea nuts by hand.

How is Shea Butter Made?

A block of Shea butter begins its life as a pile of nuts.

  1. These nuts are boiled in a large pot, which makes the shell easier to break.
  2. When the nuts are cooled, they are extracted from their shells. This extracting process is done by hand, and while it can be time-consuming, it is often done by groups of women who make it a social activity.
  3. The discarded shells are used for cooking fuel, while the seeds are cracked and roasted.
  4. The roasted seeds are then beaten with water, which releases their rich fats.
  5. These extracts are boiled, skimmed, and cooled, which results in the Shea butter we all know and love.

A Family Tradition

A woman in ghana making shea butter - How Is Shea Butter Made?For many women, making Shea butter is a family tradition. Mothers pass on the technique to daughters, preserving traditional methods. Though it is hard work, this lifestyle provides a steady source of income for many West African women. If you’re interested in learning more, BBC News has a great photo series showing how women in Ghana transform Shea nuts into butter. You can also check out this video for an explanation of the process from a woman who makes her living this way.

Demand for Shea butter is on the rise in recent years, which provides many opportunities for women in Ghana and across Africa. Awareness is growing of the dangerous ingredients used in many manufactured skincare products. More and more people are looking to Shea butter to create cosmetics of their own. It’s Rich in vitamin A, vitamin E, essential fatty acids, and antioxidants. It’s the perfect base for lotions, body butters, eczema creams, deodorants, and much more. When you order from Better Shea Butter, you’ll receive a free eBook filled with recipes to inspire you to make the most of this gorgeous ingredient.

We’re So Thankful

We couldn’t be more thankful to the women of Ghana for their talent and hard work. Making Shea butter is not a simple task. We’re honored to be a part of the amazing work these women are doing. We hope you will join in with us in appreciation for all the goodness that this wonderful butter contains and the effort that goes into making it.