Ingredient Spotlight - Shea Butter (Fair Trade Unrefined Raw Organic)


Loved by indie and top beauty brands alike, Shea Butter has grown to become one of the most popular, natural cosmetic ingredients of our times, in both leave on and wash off products, such as soap. Shea Butter helps to nourish the skin within any formulation or it can simply be applied directly to the skin. It is hydrating and soothing for all skin types - yes, even oily skin! To me, Shea Butter is a lot like Lavender Essential Oil in skincare, and Rosemary in Magic. It is multipurpose, inclusive and essential. 

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What are the benefits of Shea Butter?

With its rich texture and high fatty acid content, Shea Butter is ideal for nourishing and protecting skin (face and body), lips and even our hair. In Ghana, it is often used for sun protection (although if you are light skinned, please don't try that, you will get badly burned) or to soothe the skin after sunburn. High in Vitamin A, Shea Butter is popular for use on scaring such as through acne and stretch marks and its moisturising effect can be seen immediately on parched, flaky skin.

What makes Shea Butter so incredible in soap is that up to 9% of Shea Butter is "unsaponifiable" meaning that some components in the fats and oils cannot become soap, so they remain in the bar and rather than cleanse, they moisturise and condition the skin. This is a lovely benefit for all skin types but especially for dry and fragile skin such as for children and elder skin. Shea Butter also contributes to a silky, stable lather and overall hardness of the bar.

Shea Butter also helps support the elasticity of the skin and with its smooth, easily absorbed consistency, it's easy to see why it is such a staple in cosmetics. 

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Where is our Shea Butter sourced?

For our soaps, we choose to use Fair Trade, Unrefined, Raw, Organic Shea Butter from Baraka Shea Butter. Their community production of Shea Butter is based in North Western Ghana where it is grown and harvested by hand using traditional methods.

Being an ethical company, it is vitally important to us that we select our ingredients with care because the purchasing choices we make have a direct impact on local communities and the environment.

Knowing that Baraka Shea Butter has been founded with the principles of:

  • Fair Trade
  • Directly support Women, Children and their communities through education and economic development
  • Environmental stewardship
  • Sustainable development goals 

means that we put our money and support into ethical, enriching programs and pass these principles along to our customers so they can participate in ethical buying as well.

Read more about the specific community work Baraka Shea Butter does here

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How is Shea Butter harvested and processed?

The traditional and preferred method of creating Shea Butter is laborious but the end results are undoubtedly worth it.

It takes the African Shea Tree (Vitellaria paradoxa) which grows wild across Northern Ghana 20 years to reach maturity and begin to fruit so to replanting efforts are important to ensure a long term supply. Each tree can fruit for up to an incredible 200 years.

The fruit itself is sweet and delicious but it is the nut that produces the creamy Shea Butter. To briefly describe the process from harvest to preparation, the nuts are ground and then roasted and then ground again until they are finally whipped and churned from oil into the butter form we recognise today.

Which Sailor Mouth Soaps contain Shea Butter?

Almost all of them! Shea Butter is a staple of my core soap recipe but from time to time I might switch it out for another butter, like Mango or Cocoa Butter so be sure to read the ingredients listing at the bottom of each product page. 

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Image Credit:
(1) Image: Pexels
(2) Image: Source - Baraka Shea Butter - Traditional whipping shea butter
(3) Image: Source - Baraka Shea Butter - Shea Butter Fruit on Tree
(4) Forest Floor Soap by Sailormouthsoaps/Aliya Hutchison
(5) Brimstone Soap by Sailormouthsoaps/Aliya Hutchison
(6) Sweetheart Soap by Sailormouthsoaps/Aliya Hutchison
(7) Image: Source - Baraka Shea Butter - Pinterest Graphic

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