Shea butter, also known as karite butter, is extracted from the fruit of the karite tree. This is a tree that grows in the African savannah, with a lifespan of up to 3 centuries. It begins to produce fruit after 15 years, reaching maturity around the age of 25-30 years. But the maximum productivity is between 50-100 years, which is the main inconvenience in its cultivation, and it takes more generations to take advantage of its fruit. They are similar to avocado fruit, but smaller. In order to obtain Shea Butter the fruit is removed and the walnuts are broken and crushed. The obtained paste is subjected to a process of purification and refining by traditional methods, after recipes developed by producers families over several generations. Shea butter thus purified has a creamy consistency and white-ivory colour.
Shea Butter has been used as a cosmetic and therapeutic lotion for thousands of years. Its origins reach Cleopatra’s beauty salon in Egypt. Shortly after, its healing properties were discovered. Butter Shea was popular even in the Middle Ages, in West Africa and coastal regions. It was sold in impressive quantities on the European market. His uses began to diversify, from soap to nasal decongestion. It remains a popular substitute for coconut butter in chocolate, although it still functions primarily as a cosmetic product, as in Cleopatra’s time. And nobody has complained yet, though thousands of years have passed. On the contrary, in Burkina Faso, Shea Butter has been named the “Women’s Gold”! If there are complaints, however, they will probably belong to men, out of jealousy.
Shea butter is one of the most used cosmetic products, from skin care to scalp and hair care. In fact, shea butter is the basis of many care products due to its soothing and moisturizing properties. Its introduction into the daily maintenance routine is beneficial for hydrating the skin, strengthening its protective barrier and refreshing intercellular communication. Beyond the many benefits it brings to the body, it is also known for preventing wrinkles and helping people with dry skin that is easily desquamated. The high content of fatty acids provides moisturizing and elasticity to the skin. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, shea butter has proven to be a beneficial remedy for patients suffering from rheumatism.