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shea butter

shea butter
1 August 2021 Marlies van Heusden

What is shea butter?

Shea butter – also called Shea butter or shea butter – is a 100% natural and vegetable butter. West African women have been using its beneficial effects for centuries. Because of the high amount of vitamins A, E and F, the butter is very nourishing. This makes the shea butter very suitable for moisturizing the skin, promoting blood circulation and improving elasticity . That’s why every Nature Bar soap and shampoo bar contains a healthy dose of shea butter.

Some people even swear that it prevents wrinkles.

Origin Shea butter

Another name for the Shea tree is Karite tree. This tree only grows in a 300 km wide strip from Mali to Ghana, Togo and Benin in the African Savannah. This special tree is even known here as the tree of life because of its many special properties. The tree can grow very tall (15 meters) and old (more than 200 years). It is only after 20 years that plum-like nuts grow on the tree. And these nuts are what matters. The nuts consist of up to 50% rich fat.

There are two types of Shea trees: the Vitellaria Parodoxa growing in West Africa (this is the most common source of Shea Butter) and the Vitellaria Nilotica growing in East Africa (a rarer source of Shea Butter).

Women’s Gold

Only women process and produce the butter, often it is also the only source of income. That’s why it’s called Women’s Gold. I think it’s fantastic that by using shea butter in every soap and shampoo bar I can support women in West Africa to build a better life.

How is Shea butter made?

Shea Boter

Source: Dominic A. Kyilleh

Making unrefined shea butter is a laborious process.

  1. Picking the nuts in the wild.
  2. Washing and drying.
  3. Cracking and roasting.
  4. Grind to a dark almost chocolate-like paste.
  5. Knead and rinse.
  6. Heat the pasta over a low heat. The Shea Butter that floats to the top is the end result.

Refined vs unrefined

Unrefined means extracted and manufactured without chemicals and preservatives. Of course you prefer the unrefined variant in all cases. But with shea butter it is even more important. Refined shea butter is obtained using hexane and/or other chemical solvents, which often remain in the end product. In addition, the butter is heated so high that it can lose up to 95% of the minerals and vitamins.

For the sake of clarity, Shea butter is divided into Classes A to E.

Class A

The best grade (A) indicates that the Shea butter is unrefined. This means that only water has been used to separate the butter from the nuts. The lowest class (E) indicates that the shea butter is partially contaminated.

Nature Bar ‘s soap and shampoo bars contain only organic grade A Shea butter. Nature Bar chooses this because this butter is produced in a sustainable way and still contains all the beneficial powers.

Special about Shea butter

In a nutshell, seed oils can be divided into two caring properties. The saponifiable part, this has moisturizing properties. And the unsaponifiable part, this has caring properties. Shea butter has 5 to 17% of the unsaponifiable caring part. This may seem little, but many other oils contain only 1%.

Because Shea butter has such a high level of caring properties, Shea Butter can support your skin very well. No wonder the tree is also nicknamed “Tree of Life”.