Shea butter is a great moisturizer and is one of the key ingredients in JenSan's cold processed organic soaps, and body butters. It has many uses. For centuries women throughout Sub-saharan Africa have applied it to their skin as a remedy against the hot sun and as a food ingredient.
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In the cosmetics industry, it is used to fight against wrinkles, dry skin, stretch marks, as a hair conditioner, etc. Shea butter has natural Vitamin A and E which helps to regenerate the skin and protect it from sun damage. It melts on contact and is easily absorbed into the skin without leaving a greasy residue. It is also used by many candy and chocolate companies. According to the New York Times, “Shea is used to make Kit Kat bars, Almond Joys, Milky Ways and other confections”.
Shea butter comes from the fat in the nut of the Karite tree which is found in East and West Africa. In its raw, unrefined state its color can vary from cream to yellow, with a nutty odor. Refined shea is odorless and is a white, creamy color. Most shea butter is harvested and produced by country women who use traditional methods to extract the fat from the shea nuts.
With the increased demand for shea butter by the large cosmetics companies in the West there has been a corresponding increase in production. However, the majority of the millions of women responsible for the harvesting and production of the shea butter live below the poverty level.
Many organizations, including the United Nations are working to make sure that these women profit from the increased demand for shea butter by setting up Fair Trade cooperatives. The women doing this back-breaking work deserve to have the large, western corporations pay them a fair price for their product. The money earned by these women help them to support their families. When purchasing Shea Butter product, check to see if the raw butter was purchased from a Fair Trade organization as some of the money you spend will go to help, empower, and even change these women’s lives.
Written by Jennifer
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