The Wali people of northern Ghana have been making shea butter for centuries. Living on the edge of the Sahara with its dry, harsh conditions meant the hot sun and wind constantly battered their face, hands, and skin.
Today, the women who make Baraka Shea Butter do everything by hand, using age-old techniques passed down through generations from their ancestors. Centuries of practice has taught them how to extract every bit of goodness from the shea nut, and that quality is now passed on in every package of Baraka Shea Butter and all the products made from it.
Every time you purchase Baraka Shea Butter, or any products made with it; you have a direct impact on the women, families, and communities in northern Ghana. We believe we have the strongest and most authentic community impact connection of any shea butter producer in the world, and we take great pride in that.
Known for its amazing skin care qualities, traditionally made shea butter can be used in its natural state, or in product formulations. Our customers rave about how well it works in creams, lotions, soaps, salves, shampoos, and many other recipes.
Baraka Shea Butter is wholesome, nourishing, AAA quality and Certified Fair Trade – no chemicals or additives, no animal testing, no harsh industrial processes. Just pure, natural, unrefined shea butter from our hands to yours.
Making high-quality shea butter is truly a labor of love and a work of art. Building from the age-old techniques passed down through generations, we have worked closely with the women that produce our shea butter to help them integrate modern quality and hygiene techniques into their natural processes, without disrupting their art and traditions.
This time-honored, traditional process is used to ensure you receive a superior good that is wholesome, consistent and pure every time you buy it. Watch the animated video below to learn more about the process.
Shea trees grow wild in northern Ghana and cover vast areas of the Savannah. Sometimes a single shea-tree can take up to fifty years before they are mature enough to be harvested for the first time, making them a precious commodity.
Shea fruit season is late April to early June. Delicious, tasty and sweet, it is a treat for young and old, with a seed that can be processed into shea butter. In season, children line the road to sell the shea fruit that they have collected.
Fruit that falls from the trees is picked, then cleaned, dried, husked and packed in sacks for transport to the Baraka Shea Butter processing center. Only about 15% of the fallen shea fruit/seeds are picked for shea butter production. The rest are left to germinate and grow into new shea trees
The process starts by crushing the shea seeds/nuts to break them down into small pieces that can be evenly roasted. Traditionally this part of the process was done by hand with a large mortar and pestle setup, but because this was a time consuming and grueling job, Baraka Shea Butter worked with the village to set up an organic grinding mill to speed up the process of preparing the nuts for the next step.
The crushed shea seeds/nuts are gently roasted over a fire to prepare them to release the oils and fats that eventually turn them into Baraka Shea Butter. Because this step is time-consuming and potentially dangerous, the women worked with Baraka Shea Butter to purchase roasters that simulate manual stirring while standing farther from the flames making it safer and healthier.
The second grind is truly amazing! The ground and roasted shea nut (now turned into a dry, mealy mixture) are poured into a hopper and ground again. Viscous oils and fats are released and come out of the bottom of the hopper. The women have to roast the ground nuts just right to get them to release this magic.
Water is added to the viscous shea oil mixture and is kneaded in until it reaches the right consistency. Next, the mixture is whipped and churned by hand until the shea oil coagulates into early stage shea butter. It is hard work but yields amazing results!
The coagulated early stage shea butter is skimmed off into a large pot. The women then process the churned shea butter by using three steps: cooking, skimming, and settling. The result is Baraka Shea Butter that is carefully strained and left to cool and solidify.
Solidified Baraka Shea Butter is carefully hand-packed into cartons that will be shipped to North America and around the world. It is inspected and weighed, then the woman who made it puts her handprint on top, sending it from her hands to yours.
At Baraka Shea Butter, we ensure that there is no waste in our efforts to provide you with the highest quality shea butter. The shells that protect the seeds are used for cooking fires, while the residue that is left behind after the shea nuts are whipped is carefully dried, made into balls and used for cooking. To see more, check out the videos on Baraka’s YouTube Channel. They even reuse the impurities that are skimmed off the top to make an amazing black soap and fuel for lanterns.
Shea Butter can range in color from a grayish white to buttery yellow. The properties of the shea butter are not affected by its coloration, and you can rest assured that no matter the color it will work well for whatever products you are making.
The color variations are caused by several factors including:
Additionally, age will affect color, but it tends to turn shea butter very white and will be accompanied by a rancid smell. Baraka Shea Butter is produced to order for each container so anything we ship will have a minimum 18-month shelf life.
Beware of Things Added
If someone promises and consistently gives you a very yellow shea butter, you may want to have it tested. Because many people think buttery yellow means better shea butter, some unscrupulous producers have taken to adding yellow dye to their shea butter to make it appear more yellow. This makes it looks better when customers open packages.
With Baraka Shea Butter you will never get that. You will always get fresh, pure, hand-crafted, unrefined shea butter in its natural color and full of its natural goodness.
At Baraka, we are passionate about shea butter, and the shea butter industry as a whole. We are proud of the way we work with the women and communities who make shea butter. These are hardworking women who only ask for an opportunity to earn an income and are proud to share the wonder of shea butter with the world.
At Baraka Shea Butter, we focus on the DOUBLE IMPACT. First, from the healing, restorative and maintenance properties shea butter has on the body. Secondly, the positive human impact that most raw, unrefined shea butter has on the the women and communities where it comes from.
Baraka Shea Butter will continue to focus on increasing and enhancing the human impact and will continue to do what we can to inform our community of how their purchases make a difference. And most importantly, as a focal point of our business model and values, we will continue to bring the best quality, provide the best service, and give the best support to the women who make it.
We hope you will join us and help us continue to create Double Impact Shea Butter!
Traditionally made shea butter is a superb moisturizer with exceptional healing properties. Using shea butter raw, or in product formulations can help with the following:
Skin Care: To calm skin irritations such as eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis. Shea butter also aids in the skin’s natural collagen production to minimize the appearance of scars, fine lines and stretch marks with regular use. It is very nourishing and also acts as an emollient to help protect the skin by sealing in moisture.
Hair and Scalp: To moisturize the scalp, restore damaged hair, reduce frizz or as a leave-in conditioner.
Feet and Hands: To prevent, relieve and cure cracked heels, knees, elbows, and hands.
Pre and Post Natal Mothers: To prevent and minimize stretch marks and as nipple cream for breastfeeding mothers.
Newborn Babies: As a multi-purpose cream to heal the navel, as diaper rash cream, to treat dermatitis or simply as a gentle moisturizer after baths.
Wound Treatment: To help heal small scars and burns.
Traditional Uses: From stretch mark and infection prevention, to ancient beauty balm for Cleopatra herself, shea butter has withstood the test of time, proving to be an invaluable multi-purpose resource for beautification, medicinal and a myriad of other uses.
Additionally, Baraka Shea Butter customers rave about how well it works in its natural state and how amazing it is for creams, lotions, soaps, salves, shampoos, and the many other products they make with it.
Do you have other ways that you’ve used your Baraka Shea Butter?
We’d love to hear about them!
Check out some easy DIY recipes for creating your own products with Baraka Shea Butter.
If you have a recipe to share please send it to us - we would be thrilled to post it.
Check out a wide range of posts from how to use shea butter, to stories of life in Ghana. We’re always updating the blog with news and updates from our community.