It’s no secret that consumers seek natural ingredients when they make personal care purchase decisions. The focus on sustainable practices and responsible sourcing has never been stronger. One of the best loved (and best performing) ingredients to fulfill these consumer demands is Shea butter. It’s a good time to take a closer look at this natural, hair and skin-friendly ingredient.
The Shea sector has nearly doubled in the last decade, with approximately 90% of the harvested raw material used in food/confections and 10% for cosmetics. With the majority of Shea (Butyrospermum Parkii) grown in the 21 countries of the Western African savannah, this growing industry helps empower and employ over 16 million women. Shea plays a crucial socio-economic role in these rural areas as the fruit is gathered from the bush exclusively by women, and is anecdotally referred to as “Women’s Gold” as many rely on the crop for income independence, and to help provide for their families’ education/healthcare.
Shea trees grow wild in the savannah and can live for hundreds of years. Each tree produces an average of 30-40 lbs. of fruit each year. To obtain the butter used in products like Palmer’s Shea Formula products, the fruit is gathered during the harvest season of May to August once it has fallen to the ground, ensuring maturity. What isn’t harvested for local use (including food, personal care and cultural activities) is then processed in several stages by the women in the community. The fruit is rid of its pulp, which is used as a sweet edible treat enjoyed especially by children. The Shea nuts are then boiled, dried in the sun and shelled. The resulting kernels obtained are then re-dried in the sun before being sold for their butter.
KEY FACTS ABOUT SHEA
- The Shea (Karité) tree is commonly known as the Tree of Life for its ability to survive and provide
- The Shea tree can grow up to 20 meters (66’) tall and reaches its maximum production capacity after 35 years
- The harvest season lasts from May to August
- Shea butter is exclusively harvested by the women of the communities
- The Shea tree can mitigate the effects of climate change by storing carbon, protecting water sources and preventing desertification
- Shea trees are fire and drought resistant, and can live for hundreds of years
Palmer’s Shea Butter is ethically and sustainably sourced in Burkina Faso, a very fertile part of South West Africa with forests and agri-forestry parks. All of Palmer’s Shea Butter is ethically and sustainably sourced, helping to further ensure the quality of the crop as well as the economic betterment of the women of those communities.
Shea butter is a powerhouse ingredient with excellent skin-friendly properties. It contains exceptionally high levels of unsaponifiable matter (Karitene Terpene Alcohol) and Tocopheryl Content which not only act as true skin conditioning agents, but are also loaded with antioxidants to help protect against free radical damage.
Palmer’s was one of the first major brands to mass market a Shea Butter line of products, starting in 2001. Recently the line underwent an update of the packaging and formulas, retaining all of the same great characteristics of the original formulas, but with a more natural approach to skin care. All of Palmer’s Shea Formula products are free of parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, gluten or dyes. As consumers become savvier about ingredients, and with instant access to information at their disposal, they demand their brands deliver quality products with natural ingredients. But they also want to see companies taking responsibility to be more conscious of their sourcing and sustainability. That is why it was important that Palmer’s stayed ahead of the curve to ensure that only these raw, naturally sourced ingredients were the stars of our products.
In addition to Shea butter, all of the products in the range contain skin-healthy extracts like African Marula, a cold-pressed, highly nutritive oil, which much like Shea butter, is hand harvested by women in mainly Southern Africa. Palmer’s Marula oil is sourced in Namibia and Swaziland. Marula oil contains four times the amount of Vitamin C as an orange, packing a nutrient punch of antioxidants. Its natural structure reduces trans-epidermal water loss and helps restore skin’s natural suppleness and elasticity. Considering all the good things that Shea does for skin—neutralizing free radicals, aiding in building collagen and providing protection against photo-aging—it’s no surprise that the indigenous women of this region have long used this secret beauty extract for more radiant, youthful-looking skin.
Palmer’s Shea Formula line includes a complete regimen of products including:
- Raw Shea Soap – formulated with 100% vegetable base and gentle exfoliating oatmeal
- Raw Shea Lotion – for 24 hour moisture and nourishment
- Raw Shea Hand Cream – for glove-like protection against dryness and cracking
- Raw Shea Balm – for concentrated moisture on drier areas like feet and elbows
Find a better way to beauty with Nature’s best ingredients and Palmer’s Raw Shea Formula. Available at mass, drug and beauty supply stores.