It is a naturally occurring fat, derived from the nut of the Karite tree (Butyrospermum parkii). The tree is akin to an oak and usually grows wild. Though it is difficult to cultivate, its fruit kernels are famed for their ability to nourish – inside and out. Karite oil is used for cooking; the butter is used for cosmetics. We trade directly with the women who hand-process the butter using traditional methods. This ensures that we get the best quality product and they get the best deal.
We believe ‘fair trade’ should mean something. The butter was a valuable commodity during Cleopatra’s reign. It has a high lipid profile, also containing beneficial phytochemicals (vitamin A). It also contains oleic acid (omega-9 monounsaturated fatty acid). Compounds within the butter have been shown to offer some protection from the effects of UVB rays.
Oleic acid is highly compatible with human skin and with the sebum we naturally produce to protect our skin’s surface. It absorbs readily and aids the absorption of other active ingredients. Shea butter is moisturizing, emollient and softening on skin and it’s so gentle that it has been traditionally used in Africa for baby massage. Shea butter is a lighter alternative to cocoa butter. We use it in our lip balms for the emollient action of the butter.