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About Shea Butter


Benefits of Raw, Unrefined Shea Butter
Moisturizes and rejuvenates dry skin and chapped lips
Helps sooth and heal rashes  such as eczema, psoriasis and rosacea and burns
Naturally rich in antioxidants such as Vitamin E, Carotenoids, and Flavonoids which promote healing of skin.
Hypoallergenic and safe for infants and diaper rash
Naturally high in unsaponifiables, making it great for soap-making
Excellent deep moisturizing treatment for hair
Reduces irritation after shaving
Naturally high in cinnamic acid, making it beneficial in sunblock lotions
Helps prevent stretch marks and wrinkles
Naturally high in essential fatty acids, and has anti-inflammatory properties
Safe for people with very sensitive skin

ojoba-shea-butter.jpgWhat is Shea Butter?

Shea butter is a natural plant-based oil that's solid at room temperature. It has been treasured in West Africa for hundreds of years for its healing properties. Traditionally hand-crafted shea butter is used to treat a variety of skin problems including dry skin, rashes, burns and stretch marks. Packed with naturally occurring vitamins, essential fatty acids, and other healing properties means pure, unrefined shea butter can rejuvenate skin cells, protect against ultra-violet rays, and has anti-inflammatory properties. If the term "wonder cream” could be used for a skin moisturizer, unrefined shea butter deserves the title!

Shea butter is processed from the kernels found inside the fruit of the shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa). Shea trees are native to the savannah region of Africa. Our shea butter is made from the kernels of wild harvested fruit. It takes shea trees 20 to 30 years to begin to bear fruit, so the trees must be protected by local communities. The fruits ripen and fall from the tree at the beginning of the rainy season. Then, the kernels are separated from the fruit and ready to begin the shea butter production process. Watch the video to learn more how shea butter is produced.

We at Ojoba Collective take great pride in offering only fresh, unrefined, high-quality, traditionally processed shea butter. We believe that our customers would rather receive a handmade product with some minor variations in color and texture, as long as all the natural healing properties are intact, rather than a shea butter that looks “factory-perfect,” but lacks any real healing power. 

We guarantee that our butter is fresh, 100% pure and natural, and of the highest quality starting with the kernels. The region where our shea butter is produced (Upper East region of Ghana) is known to produce some of the best quality shea kernels around. This is truly a product that is good for the planet, good for poverty alleviation in West Africa, and great for your skin!!  

Click here to view the Shea Butter Specification Sheet

Click on the questions below to learn more about shea butter!

How much shea butter should I put on my skin? 

Can I use shea butter on my face and lips? 

Does shea butter smell? 

What is the texture of your shea butter? 

Why is some shea butter grainy? 

How do I store my shea butter? 

What is the shelf life of your shea butter?  What is refined versus unrefined shea butter?

Is your shea butter production eco-friendly? 

Do you test on animals? 
Can I use shea butter on my baby?  How can I be sure your shea butter is as good as you say? 
What about organic certification?  Is shea butter safe for people with nut allergies? 

Is shea butter vegan-friendly? 

Can I use shea butter in my hair? 

Can shea butter be used in all seasons? 

Can I use shea butter on my dog?

How is your shea butter made? 

What is Raw shea butter? 



















1. How much shea butter should I put on my skin? (back to questions)
You do not need a large amount. Just rub a dollop between your hands to warm and soften the shea butter before applying to the skin.

2. Can I use shea butter on my face and lips? (back to questions)
Absolutely! Unrefined shea butter is an excellent deep moisturizer for your face and lips. Depending on what skin type you have, it can be used as a daily facial moisturizer if you have dry skin. Many of our customers report applying shea butter to their face before bed, and washing it off in the morning. It can be applied safely as needed to the lips to soothe and heal dry cracked lips.

3. Does shea butter smell? (back to questions)
Yes, but it is only a light smoky nutty smell of the natural shea butter. Since the smell is not an added fragrance, it does not linger once it is absorbed into your skin and hair. 

4. What is the texture of your shea butter? (back to questions)
Our shea butter is handcrafted in small batches, and there may be light variations in color and texture between batches. Generally, our shea butter is considered to have quite a soft and creamy consistency for unrefined shea butter. Since it is a purely natural and handcrafted product, the consistency will not be perfectly uniform in the tin. This is normal and does not affect the moisturizing and healing properties in any way. Perfectly smooth shea butters are usually refined or reheated which causes the shea butter to lose its healing properties. 

5. Why is some shea butter grainy? (back to questions)
Unrefined shea butter can sometimes feel grainy. This grainy texture can form when the butter is melted slightly or reheated. Sometimes this melting can occur inadvertently during transport, or if left in a hot, sunny location. A grainy texture isn’t a sign of “bad” butter, and you can still use it safely on your skin. 

6. How do I store my shea butter? (back to questions)
Shea butter should be stored in a dry, cool place away from heat. Do not refrigerate shea butter as you do not want it to get hard and cold. 

7. What is the shelf life of your shea butter? (back to questions)
Our shea butter has a shelf life of one year. 

8. What is the difference between Refined and Unrefined Shea Butter? (back to questions) 

Unrefined shea butter is traditionally crafted shea butter, and is what has been used for hundreds of years in Africa.  As with any homemade product, there will always be slight variations in color, texture, scent, and other characteristics between one batch of unrefined butter to the next. Cosmetics formulators that require absolute uniform shea butter for use in factory-manufactured formulations will often need their shea butter refined to ensure uniformity from batch to batch.

When traditionally crafted shea butter is refined, it undergoes a process that can include heating, bleaching and degumming to create a consistent product. You can tell if your shea butter is refined because the color will be white, there will be no natural scent, and the texture will be uniform.

We only offer unrefined shea butter in our tins and bulk packages because we believe the refining process robs the shea butter of its inherent healing properties, and we want you to receive the highest quality shea butter packed with the maximum level of natural healing properties!

9. Is your shea butter production environmentally friendly? (back to questions)
Absolutely yes! From the hand picking of the fruit by Ojoba Women’s Shea Cooperative members to the traditional processing of our pure, unrefined shea butter in northern Ghana, we are in harmony with the natural world. During no step in the production process are any chemicals or synthetic agents used. In fact, the only thing added during the manufacturing process is purified water! Our shea butter comes in reusable and recyclable containers and absolutely nothing is added to the tin except pure, unrefined shea butter. 

10. Do you test on animals? (back to questions)
Absolutely not! We are completely against any form of animal testing! We do, however, regularly test on ourselves (daily, infact!) but never ever on our furry or feathered friends. 

11. Can I use shea butter on my baby? (back to questions)
Yes, as long as it's pure and unrefined shea butter, it's excellent to use as a treatment for diaper rash, as a general skin moisturizer and can even be used safely on your babies hair. Unrefined and traditionally processed shea butter is a natural plant-based oil that doesn't contain any chemicals or dangerous additives. It is completely hypoallergenic, and has been safely used on infants and children in West Africa for a thousand years. However, there are many products that contain shea butter as only one of several ingredients in their baby-care products. We can't vouch for these products, since we don't know if the shea butter they use is unrefined or refined (i.e. chemically processed) and how safe the other ingredients are. If you are considering using a multi-ingredient product, we encourage you to contact the company and ask a lot of questions before using it on your little one. 

12. How can I be sure your shea butter is as good as you say? (back to questions)
We test our shea butter at an internationally accredited laboratory for quality every year and we consistently score in the highest grade for shea butter. 
The region we work in Ghana (Upper East) is known for some of the highest quality shea nuts and our cooperative members handpick the best quality nuts to ensure our high grade of shea butter. 

13. What about organic certification? (back to questions)
Traditional shea tree cultivation and shea butter production have always been natural and organic processes in West Africa. Shea trees grow wild in the dry savannah region, and don’t need any irrigation or fertilizer to grow. Allof the shea nuts we use are wild-harvested when the fruit falls to the ground at harvest time, and collected by individual villagers who live and garden near the trees. This is an important source of income for these villagers. In addition, our shea butter is produced in a remote and extremely poor region of Ghana where there is no large-scale commercial farming, and where local village farmers have simply been too poor to even think about purchasing synthetic pesticides and fertilizers even if they wanted to. As the standard of living has increased in the village thanks to our shea butter production, we have organized a number of community meetings on organic farming practices and the dangers of farm chemicals to ensure the region remains pristine.  Since our shea butter is laboratory tested, we feel confident in saying that our shea butter is produced in accordance with the best organic practices. 

There are many cultural practices in the far northern corner of Ghana where our shea butter is processed that make it difficult to ethically get third-party organic certification. This region is still very deeply rooted in tradition. The shea tree is greatly revered and respected by all, but no one is considered the owner of a shea tree. When ownership rules are not clear, then fencing off large sections of land for one group to label organic and have sole access to seems counter to our mission of alleviating poverty and inequity in rural West Africa. We are continuing to explore more ethical and culturally sensitive ways of getting organic certification for our shea butter. 

14. Is shea butter safe for use by people with nut allergies? (back to questions)
Shea butter is made from the kernel of a fruit that grows wild in West Africa. It is commonly referred to as a “Nut,” but, technically it is a “Pit” from the fruit of a fruit tree. The shea nut is more closely related to the pit of an avocado or apricot than a real nut like walnut and almond. We have searched, but not found any scientific tests done that link shea butter with nut allergies. However, nut allergies can be serious and life threatening, and you should consult your physician before using shea butter if you have serious nut allergies. 

15. Is shea butter vegan-friendly? (back to questions)
Absolutely yes! Shea butter is 100% plant based, and no animals or animal products are used in the manufacture or testing of our shea butter. 

16. Can I use shea butter in my hair? (back to questions)
Absolutely! It's an amazing deep conditioner for your hair. We suggest rubbing a small dollop between your hands to melt the shea butter, then rubbing the melted butter into your dry hair at least 20 minutes before you plan to take a shower. Then wash it out of your hair in the shower using a (preferably) natural shampoo. The more shea you use, and the longer you leave it in your hair, the deeper the conditioning. If you use a lot of shea, then you might need to wash with shampoo a couple of times to get all the oil out, but it is so worth it! 

17. Can shea butter be used in all seasons? (back to questions)
Yes, shea butter can be used year-round! While it is a great moisturizer for extra-dry winter skin, shea butter does come from the tropics of West Africa were it is widely used to combat the harsh effects of the tropical sun.

18. Can I use shea butter on my dog? (back to questions)

While we have not seen any scientific studies documenting the safety of shea butter on dogs, we have many customers who have reported successfully and safely using shea butter on their canine friends for dry noses, cracked paws, and for cuts and hotspots on the skin. Shea butter is also a common ingredient in many dog skin care products, so we feel it is quite safe, but it is always a good idea to consult your vet before trying new products on your pet.

19. How is your shea butter made? (back to questions)

Glad you asked! Click here to watch a slide show of our shea butter production process.

20. What is Raw shea butter? (back to questions)
Raw shea butter is the same as unrefined shea butter. It is what we sell in our tins and in our bulk bags. It means the shea butter has only been handcrafted in the traditional style without any additional refining, heating, or chemical processes introduced. It also means there is nothing else added to the shea butter as a filler. Raw shea butter (also called unrefined shea butter) is what has been used in Africa for hundreds of years , and is widely recognized as retaining more of the naturally occurring  vitamins and essential fatty acids that make shea butter so healing for the skin than shea butter that has been refined or otherwise modified.