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Home>About Shea Butter>FAQ About Unrefined Shea Butter
 

FAQ About Unrefined Shea Butter

These Q&As refer to unrefined shea butter only and not refined, bleached & other forms of processed shea butter or shea butter as an ingredient.

Is Nasabb's Unrefined Shea Butter Fair Trade?
Yes! Nasabb's unrefined shea butter is fair trade. Nasabb has been fair trade way before it become a fad on the net.
 
Why are some Shea Butters grainy?
Shea Butter is sometimes grainy for many reasons. But the #1 reason is heat. Shea Butter will melt in the sun, by a heater or any other form of heat. When shea butter is heated at high temperatures, it becomes grainy when it cools too quickly. It can still be used. It just feels interestingly grainy. If you absolutely cannot deal with the grainy feel, whip your shea butter.
 
 
Do you have to clean Shea Butter?
No! If you purchase shea butter from a good source it should already be clean and you do not need to clean it, drain it, filter it etc etc.. If you have to clean your shea butter before you use then start looking for another source.
 
Is all Shea Butter yellow?
No! All shea butter is not yellow. Most shea butters are cream colored or beige to medium yellow. Try not not base your knowledge of shea butter by color first. Look at quality and texture.
 
What about Fair Trade? Do Africans benefit from the sale of Shea Butter to the West?
This issue is a very broad and can be debated for days. But the bottom line is yes! Most shea butter producers in Africa benefit from the sale of shea butter to the West. In the beginning of the shea butter trade to the West, many were not really benefiting. But recently many cooperatives have been established in many parts of Shea Butter producing African countries. These cooperatives are mostly ran by women who come together to start a shea butter producing business. The demand to the West is vast so these days, the middle man does not exist unlike in the past. Yes things can be improved. Yes some African producers are still being taken advantage off. But on the whole African producers benefit.

The women are their own bosses, hire other women and ran their own businesses. Yes there are still some struggles but majority of women in the shea butter business are in charge. For example many US companies buy directly from shea butter businesses in West Africa so there is no middle man and the women capture more of the butter's value. In addition some businesses prefer quality to quantity so they go straight to the source in Africa to buy shea butter.

Contrary to popular belief, not all shea butter is produced by extremely poor people in devastating areas in Africa as portrayed by several pictures on the net. There are several businesses in major cities in Africa that produce shea butter. There is a lot of buzz online about Fair Trade. Fair Trade is an issue that exists even here in our own society in the USA. So keep it simple!

 
Why are some shea butters so hard you have to scrap it to use it?
This means that it was heated at a very high temperature, it is not fresh, or it has been mixed with other products. It could also be that the shea butter is several months old. As long as it is not more than 18 months to 24 months old, you are fine. Fresh shea butter is always the best to use. Fresh shea butter is anywhere between 1 month - 3 months old.
 
 
Does Shea Butter smell?
No! Shea Butter does not smell. It has a natural smoky nutty scent. If you are familiar with shea butter you will recognize the scent. This scent is natural so it does not linger when applied to skin or hair. The fresher the shea butter, the stronger the natural scent. Some may not be familiar with shea butter and therefore cannot handle the natural scent. Not to worry. Just leave the shea butter uncovered for several days and it will be just fine.
 
What makes some Shea Butters smell so bad?
This happens for several reasons but the three most common reasons are as follows. 1. The shea butter was extracted using dirty water. 2. The shea butter was not properly stored. 3. The shea butter nuts were fermented before extraction. Some ferment the shea butter nuts before extraction. And this gives the shea butter a very pungent scent.
 
Why are there so many grades of shea butter?
Because shea butter is used for a variety of things including skin, hair, cosmetics and in food. There are several grades of shea butter depending on what your interests are. Also shea butter is now a cash cow so like any other cash cow there is going to be a lot of buzz about it. Basically unrefined shea butter or raw shea butter is Grade A and say a shea butter lotion is a Grade F. And in between that are a host of other grades and levels. What it simply means is that if you are interested in 100% shea butter then go for unrefined. If you would like a shea butter lotion then it will fall in the lower grade because it has to be mixed with other ingredients to provide the lotion.

Take flour for example. There are a gazillion grades & levels of flour. You may prefer whole wheat flour or bleached flour or bread flour. It is all flour but the end result in your recipe will be different. It is the same with several products on the market. For example Cocoa Butter. Cocoa Butter is used for all kinds of things and there are many grades and levels very similar to Shea Butter. But we all purchase what we prefer. Including the various types of chocolate they are used in. So it all comes down to preference.

So shea butter is just as complex when it comes to grades & levels. You will drive yourself mad trying to figure out every grade and level. Just go with what you prefer & call it a day!
 
Should Shea Butter be refrigerated? How should it be stored?
No! There is no need to refrigerate shea butter. It will only get hard & cold. You want your shea butter soft enough to apply to your skin. Shea butter should be stored like all other skin & hair products. In a cool dry place away from heat.
 
Can Shea Butter be heated?
Yes! Shea Butter can be heated. But you should know what you are doing. If you do not know what you are doing then don't. When you purchase shea butter ask your vendor what to do if you are not sure. Do not go by what others around you have said or are doing with their shea butter (unless you trust them & they know what they are doing) If you overheat your shea butter you can still use it but it will not be that beneficial. This is where it gets grainy and very hard.
 
Can Shea Butter be scented?
Yes! Again you should know what you are doing. Whether you are using essential oils or fragrance oils, be cautious. Use just a few drops at a time. If you do not know what you are doing then don't attempt it.
 
Can Shea Butter be mixed with other oils?
Yes! But this is also on the level of preference. Shea butter is already naturally oily so additional oils being added should serve a purpose. Don't add oils to your shea butter just because your friend told you to otherwise you will end up with an oily mess.
 
Can Shea Butter be used by anyone?
Yes! That is the beauty of shea butter. It can be used by anyone in any climate. Remember shea butter originates from Africa. Africa is a multicultural continent. Shea Butter is versatile and you control how much you want to use. Because it is natural, it can be used several times a day. Morning, afternoon or night from hair to toe.
 
Shea Butter in the big brown shell-like container at some fairs & festivals, is that the Shea Butter Nut?
No! That is not the shea butter nut. It is merely a calabash. It is just a container that some traditional shea butter makers store their shea butter in.
 
What makes Shea Butter so smooth?
Shea Butter gets it's smoothness from kneading. After the shea butter has been extracted and prepared, it is kneaded to smooth out big lumps and make it even & easier to apply.
 
What is the difference between West African Shea Butter & East African Shea Butter?
Lately there has been a lot of buzz about East and West African Shea Butter. It is rather unfortunate that this is going on. First of all there are several countries involved when one mentions East & West Africa. It is like saying the East Coast and the West Coast. Now we all know that there are several states in the East Coast and several states in the West Coast. New York is not the only state in the East Coast and California is not the only state in the West Coast. Now transfer that to East Africa & West Africa. Hello!

So when these people are talking about West & East Shea Butter, what country are they referring to? Sooner or later, they will start saying Central African Shea Butter is better. Oh don't forget Southern Africa and South Western Africa. This could go on for days. And if you have noticed, the East African Shea Butter is triple the price of West African Shea Butter. Hummm!

Basically all the noise about East African Shea Butter is centered on Shea Butter from Uganda. What they do not tell people is that Ugandan shea butter is mostly prepared for cooking & less for skin care & hair care. So the Shea Butter is much oilier, not as thick & has a different consistency. Shea butter from West Africa is mostly used for skin & hair care and less for cooking. So Shea Butter from West Africa is thicker with a longer shelf life. So once again it comes down to preference. So go with what you prefer but don't fall for the hype in prices.
 
Should Shea Butter be used in the summer or winter?
Shea Butter can be used in any weather. Remember shea butter comes from Africa where it is hot almost all year. So yes shea butter can be used all year round. Just remember that in the summer time shea butter will be much softer because of the heat. In the winter shea butter will be stiffer. In the winter, you must allow the shea butter to rest at room temperature after you receive it from NASABB to thaw out the cold before using. The cold weather will naturally make the shea butter harden. But once it comes back to room temperature, it is much softer.
 
Where does Nasabb's shea butter come from?
Our shea butter comes Ghana, West Africa. We fair trade with a major no nonsense hard working women's cooperative. The business is owned & operated by women who have been in the shea butter business long before it became a household name. Our Black Soap also comes from the same source. Our women's cooperative trade all over the world. They were featured on Voice of America in 2004. They make us proud.
 
 
  
 


Information on this website is not a diagnosis for any disease, condition or disorder. All information is solely for general skin & hair uses. All advice and information about our natural products are based on history and the experiences of many groups of people who have used these products.

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