Shea Butter Origins and Production

Shea Butter Origins and Production

Shea Butter is created from nuts extracted from the Shea Tree fruit that is native to West Africa and today most Shea Butter still comes from that Region. Shea Butter has been used as a beauty product for as far back as 4300 years and its use can be traced back to ancient Egyptian trade.

We can also track the trade in shea butter through records taken by explorers in 1352–1353  and Mungo Park recorded its widespread trade as Ibn Battuta tracked the Niger River 1795–1797. The shea tree was used to make coffins for the  African kings and is considered sacred.

The almond like fruit or Vitellaria paradoxa is harvested and the nut of the fruit Is extracted. Nuts are then washed, dried, pounded and roasted till a beautiful brown paste is formed.

Shea Fruit with the Shea Nut within

This paste is then mixed  by hand with water and washed several times to purify it. the purified paste is then heated so that the oil can separate from the fat as it rises to the surface. the fat is skimmed off and the oil hardels forming the beautiful shea butter 

Shea Butter boiling


The Shea Butter at this point is an ivory or off-white color and is also known as unrefined Shea Butter. 

When the bark of the Borututu or Cochlospermum angolensis Tree is shredded and added to the boiling stage of Shea Butter production it becomes Yellow in color.  

Ivory and Yellow Shea Butter
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