Socio-economic Implications of Shea Butter

African Shea Butter Company (whose name is changing to Shea Terra Organics) and L’Occitane en Provenece make two of my favorite shea products lines. These two companies' products are created using a unique approach that not only improves the hair and skin but also impacts some rural African village economies. UNIFEM, an organization that helps women in developing countries, helped broker a deal between L’Occitane and a co-op run by African women. L’Occitane buys much of its shea butter directly from Union des groupements Kiswendsida (UGK) a large network of over one hundred shea producers. Without middlemen, all of the profit returns to the villages from which shea butter is harvested and manufactured. L’Occitane offers a full line of products featuring shea butter. These products are expensive, but the rich formulas allow the products to stretch a long way, making a smart beauty investment. The L’Occitane hair care line includes the Ultra Rich Hair Mask, which I have found to be very effective for helping damaged ends and dry hair. Milk Shampoo is moisturizing, useful for all hair types, particularly in winter or summer with the extremes of temperature experienced in many zones. Shea Hair Conditioner is good for normal hair and though there is heavy emphasis placed on ‘damaged’ hair, plenty of naturally curly tops have normal hair that does not need ‘intensive’ treatment. Then there is the Pure Shea Butter that makes an excellent hair pomade, end treatment and hot oil treatment. These products are available all over the country and internationally by mail order. Learn more here, including the story of the collaboration between the company and African women’s shea co-ops. African Shea Butter Company (Shea Terra Organics) is a woman-owned and operated mail order firm. I interviewed Tammie Umbel, founder and sole proprietor of this company. It is apparent that Umbel’s company’s main object is helping African people, through trade, using traditional methods, materials and indigenous plants. Umbel contracts with African soapmakers; wraps her soap line in traditionally dyed African fabric and indigenous papers. African Shea Butter Company sells a variety of high-grade shea butter products that will appeal to the do-it-yourself type as well as though who prefer to purchase prepared products for resale or personal use.Umbel is now reaching out to other women’s cooperatives that harvest and manufacture baobab and black seed oil, lemon grass and bourbon geranium essential oil. Quite impressively as well, the CEO is also the mother of ten children. Dealing with natural oils from Africa is her way of contributing to the well-being of not only her clientele but also of her very large and still growing family. This shop has a website.

In CurlMart

We're pleased to announce we've just added African Shea Butter Company's great shea butter to our collection.

Benefits of using shea butter

  • Prevents dryness of the skin & hair
  • Protects hair and skin from the sun
  • Soothes burns
  • Highly moisturizing for skin and hair
  • Improve skin softness and suppleness
  • Ideal for dry or sensitive skin
  • Prevents and treats scalp dryness
  • Provides good lubrication for the hair resulting in improved brilliance and manageability
  • Soothing, moisturizing and protecting effects
  • Anti-aging & anti-wrinkling properties

Making Your Own

To find more ways to use bulk shea, such as creating your own shampoo, conditioners and treatments, type in “shea” on the search engine of Donna Marie’s Hand Made Beauty Network or visit Makeyourowncosmetics.com. There are a plethora of suppliers and companies making shea butter products. Have fun exploring the numerous ways to enrich your curls using shea, a golden botanical that is also women’s gold.