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Shea Butter Making Story

Shea butter’s journey from shea nut to butter is a beautiful undulating journey. A journey intertwined in the lives of several industrious women whose joy is found in bringing a decades old tradition to the world. Little Naa’s* mom woke her up mornings at 4am in their little town in Tamale Ghana one day, to participate in the making of “nku” (shea butter in the local dialect). This was a monthly ritual to prepare the oils that the family would use for the upcoming month. Mom would start by washing the shea nuts she had gathered in a bowl of water and proceed to dry them out in the sun.

 

After drying, Naa would collect the product and proceed to their wooden pounder to break up the seeds into smaller bits. Though this was hard work, Naa was proud to finally be old enough to be allowed the role this time. After drying the smaller bits, Naa and mom would proceed to dry roast the seed bits in order to loosen up the texture. After which mom would allow the seeds to cool off for a bit. Afterward, mom would head off to the local mill with Naa hopping and skipping right along, to grind the shea bits into a fine texture. The characteristic smell of shea is starting to waft up from the mix now and Naa tries to sneak a pinch from the mixture but is shooed away by her mom, who knows the mixture is piping hot at this time. Mom takes the milled mixture back home and allows it to cool and starts the process of extracting the shea butter from the remaining mixture using water and heat. After a beautifully eventful albeit hard day’s work, Naa has fresh shea butter for her skin and feels even more proud of her role in it. Mom smiles as she scoops the leftover product for use as kindling in the home ensuring that none of the byproducts are laid to waste in this process. Naa now wakes up every morning at 5am along with other industrious women in Tamale to produce the shea butter that you now hold in your hand, with fond memories of her childhood and pride of work written all over her face.

 *Name changed to protect privacy

Moisturizing our skin isn’t simply grabbing the cheapest product on shelf. It means providing natural, clean, healthy, actual moisture and care to our skin. It’s rewarding our skin with the best on offer out there. It’s in knowing that many years from now, our skin will still look and feel its best. It’s that or nothing.

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