Organic Shea Butter

Gently moisturising

Products with this ingredient



Shea butter is a gentle and effective moisturiser. It contains oleic acid, a saturated fatty acid which is highly compatible with the sebum naturally produced by our skin, which means it's readily absorbed and is said to help the absorption of other active ingredients. We use shea butter in a number of nourishing creams and lotions.  The butter is the ivory-coloured fat that's extracted from the nut of the Vitellaria tree (Vitellaria Paradoxa), which is similar to an oak, and usually grows wild.

At a glance

At a glance

Shea butter is very nourishing, as well as being gentle and easily absorbed.
The Ojobab Women's Cooperative, Bolgatanga, Ghana.
Organic Shea Butter can be found in these products
Products with this ingredient
Organic Shea Butter can be found in these products
Massage Bar
Sensually soft
Massage Bar
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It's a wonderful world
sandy santa
Body Butter
No hidden clauses


Shea Brilliance

Shea butter is highly prized because it is very nourishing, as well as being gentle and easily absorbed

Shea butter is the ivory-coloured fat that’s extracted from the nut of the Karite tree. It’s commonly used in moisturising creams and lotions as it is high in vitamin A and oleic acid, which help to maintain youthful, supple skin. We source our shea butter from Bolgatanga, Ghana, and use it in Each Peach Massage Bar, Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner, British Nanny and Imperialis moisturisers, The Sacred Truth Fresh Face Mask, and Buffy Body Butter, among others.

We buy our shea butter directly from a fantastic women’s cooperative, where shea nuts are hand-processed using traditional methods. The nuts grow from the Karite tree, which is similar to an oak, and in this arid environment it grows wild. Although it is difficult to cultivate, the fruits are famed for their rich fats and moisturising properties.

Shea butter was a valuable commodity during the reign of Cleopatra, and it is still highly prized because it is very nourishing, as well as being gentle and easily absorbed. It has also been shown to offer some protection from UVB rays.

The nuts are preserved and prepared by removing them from their fleshy pods, boiling and drying under the strong African sun. As needed they are retrieved and washed by hand, and any blackened nuts which might compromise the quality are removed. Once scrubbed clean they are spread on a stone to dry again in the sun, before being taking inside to be fed through a simple machine which crushes them to a chunky crumb. This allows the inner flesh to be exposed so when it is roasted over a smoky open fire the nuts become almost praline-like, so they are easier to process. Once cooled, this substance can then be fed through another simple machine, which presses it into a slick liquor that looks like molten chocolate.

The women then expertly whip and knead large pans of this liquor by hand to release the fats and wash them from the base residues. The shea butters then form a dense layer on top of the pan, which is expertly skimmed off and heated once more, to evaporate any trapped water. This then cools into a smooth, pure shea butter, ready to be sealed into 25kg cartons. When the time comes to prepare a shipment to send to Lush in the UK or Canada, the women will collect all the cartons to load a 10MT delivery.

Now that the women can rely on this regular work they can budget to live comfortable lives all year round. This means that they are no longer forced to leave the area in hope of finding work elsewhere after the farming season, often ending up separated from their children. Regular employment has helped to build their confidence and earned them the respect of their husbands. On a practical level, they can now afford child health insurance and school fees, and have access to literacy classes, and can apply to borrow funds from the business micro-finance offering. This year, two young women who excelled in their literacy class will go on to nursing college.

Lush Buying Presents: Ghana Shea Butter

Lush has also co-funded the community library, in partnership with the cooperative, through investment from the SLush Fund. We committed to investing £3000 in the facility which the women democratically selected as the best achievable addition to their their community, and through their own profits from shea butter sales they chose to invest as much again themselves, so they could build the best library in the whole district. The value that the community place on the library highlights the aspiration to continue improvements in the area, including studying to bring new skills to their homeland and inspire their children. SLush contributions continue in 2014 as we support the women to create a nursery of shea saplings so they can grow new trees, and eventually more of the nuts that they need, on their own land.

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