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Shea Butter the Fair Trade Way

September 8, 2009

Shea butter is a staple ingredient in many cosmetic chemists treasure trove, so when a good quality and fair trade supply source opens up its reason to celebrate. Shea butter is the fatty substance extracted from the fruit of the Shea tree which is grown across central Africa. The trees take around twenty years to bare fruit but then continue to produce the plumb shaped nuts for around 200 years! Shea butter is used across Africa as a cooking oil, as a base for body paint and as a natural sunscreen (although SPF would only be around 4-6 alone). Cosmetic chemists around the world use it to make creams, lotions and hair products – there are even claims that it reduces the appearance of stretch marks (probably through good moisturisation and delivery of vitamins to the skin).

The processing of this fruit is labor intensive but environmentally low impact due as it can be extracted purely via force and a bit of water! However, many consumers like their face creams to be pure white and unrefined shea butter is a yellowy brown colour. Therefore further bleaching and processing is often carried out to meet these aethetic standards.

Anyway, news came out this week about a new source of Fair Trade Shea butter from a company called Akoma. Akoma work with farmers from Uganda through to Ghana and have recently achieved organic certification by the UK’s Soil Association and fair trade certification from the Fairtrade Labelling Organisation (FLO). You can read the story from the Cosmetic Design Newsletter here and can visit Akoma online to purchase this fair trade ingredient.

Akoma are one of the many companies and charities investing in Fair Trade and Fairly sourced Shea butter across Africa.  Supply chains are strengthening and the internet has made sharing these stories and experiences so much easier. Why not look for fair trade Shea butter in your next lip balm, face cream or hand lotion and support the hard working men and women of Africa by letting them  share in your beauty!

The video below is a great introduction into the Shea butter market. Produced by Visual Story Tellers of the USA it takes a look at Shea butter farming in Mali, another West African nation. Enjoy!

7 Comments leave one →
  1. October 13, 2009 9:52 pm

    I love using shea butter as all-in-one product. It’s one of my favourite “product with a conscience” buy. 😀

  2. November 11, 2010 7:20 pm

    Oh shea butter is one of good thing for making cosmetic, the products made from shea butter is very good for skin health

  3. November 14, 2010 10:16 am

    body paints are quite nice when you are out on a pool party or just about any party “~*

  4. April 18, 2011 11:26 pm

    I really like what you post here. Very insightful and intelligent. One problem though. I’m running Opera with Debian and parts of your current layout pieces are a little wonky. I realize it’s not a typical set up. Yet it’s something to keep in mind. I hope that it will help and continue to keep up the top quality writing.

    • RealizeBeautyEd permalink
      April 18, 2011 11:49 pm

      Thanks for the feedback. I don’t know how to change the layout for Opera as this is a free wordpress blog. I’ll see what the support guys say as it is important! Thanks for sticking with it anyway.


  1. Shea Butter the Fair Trade Way · Video Beijing
  2. Akoma » Blog Archive » Realize Beauty

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