It is a naturally occurring fat, derived from the nut of the Karite tree (Butyrospermum parkii). The tree is akin to an oak and usually grows wild. Though it is difficult to cultivate, its fruit kernels are famed for their ability to nourish – inside and out.
Karite oil is used for cooking; the butter is used for cosmetics.
We trade directly with the women who hand-process the butter using traditional methods. This ensures that we get the best quality product and they get the best deal. We believe ‘fair trade’ should mean something.
The butter was a valuable commodity during Cleopatra’s reign. It has a high lipid profile, also containing beneficial phytochemicals (vitamin A). It also contains oleic acid (omega-9 monounsaturated fatty acid).
Topical application of vitamin A (known as retinol) helps to maintain youthful appearance and healthy skin.
Compounds within the butter have been shown to offer some protection from UVB rays.
Oleic acid is highly compatible with human skin and with the sebum we naturally produce to protect our skin’s surface. It absorbs readily and aids the absorption of other active ingredients.
Shea butter is moisturising, emollient and softening on skin and it’s so gentle that it has been traditionally used in Africa for baby massage.
We use the nourishing butter in our Cosmetic Lad and Imperialis moisturisers for its emollient properties and vitamin content.
A combination of shea and cocoa butters forms part of our indulgent Crème Anglaise body lotion.
Shea butter is a lighter material than cocoa butter. We use it in our lip balms and massage bars for the emollient action of the butter.