Shea butter is a slightly yellowish or ivory coloured natural fat extracted from the seed of the African shea tree by crushing and boiling. It is widely used in cosmetics as a moisturiser and salve. The English name “shea” comes from sí, the tree’s name in the Bamana languages of Mali. The French name “karité” comes from ghariti, its equivalent in the Wolof language of Senegal.
Shea butter originates from the Karite Nut tree, also called the Mangifolia tree, found in the semi-arid savannahs of West and Central Africa. The Karite Nut tree, which can live for 300 years, is often dubbed the “tree of life” by African women who make this precious butter completely by hand. Continue reading