If you feel like you’ve heard us talk about shea butter before, you’re probably right. We put it in a LOT of products, and chances are you’ve used them. Ever tried a Skin Stick? Shea butter. A Snarky Bar™? Also shea butter. A Posh body butter? Yeah, we use shea in some of our bases (it's way better than fillers!).
So you already know it’s moisturizing, full of skin-loving fatty acids and antioxidants, and incredibly soothing on your skin. But did you also know it’s been used in Africa for smooth, healthy looking skin for centuries? In addition, shea butter has also evolved into an empowering industry for African women.
Over 16 million women in the African Savanna depend on shea to earn a living. They hand harvest shea fruit and complete every step of the time- and labor-intensive process of turning it into shea butter:
There are about 2 billion shea trees growing wild in the Savanna. These hearty trees need no fertilizer, irrigation, or pesticides. African women hand harvest ripe shea fruit, usually once it falls from the trees, and sometimes walk up to 10 miles a day to gather and carry it back to their villages.
Shea fruit contains a kernel inside that is filled with the pulp used to make shea butter. The kernel has to be left out in the sun to dry. Once the kernel is dry, it needs to be crushed. Traditionally done by hand, crushing shea kernel is hard work. Some communities are lucky enough to have mechanical grinders to speed up the process.
Shea is usually roasted over an open fire, which means women must gather tinder and firewood before they can begin this step of the shea butter process. Once the shea is roasted, it must be milled again until it forms a thick paste.
Slowly adding water, the paste is kneaded by hand for at least an hour to draw the oil to the surface.
After gathering more wood, another fire is made to boil water. Once the water comes to a boil, the oil is added to sanitize it. Women carefully scoop off the hot oil that floats to the surface, then strain it to further remove any impurities.
The purified shea oil is stored in a cool, dark place where it solidifies. At this point, it’s ready to package and sell.
At the beginning of 2018, Perfectly Posh partnered with the Global Shea Alliance, a non-profit that works to help supply women with the tools, training, and shelter they need to make and store shea butter. When you buy Always Ghana Love You™ Shea Butter Bath Bar, $1 of every sale goes to Perfectly Posh’s Shea Sisterhood Co-Op, to help further empower these amazing women.
It wouldn’t be Posh if it wasn’t also ridiculously pampering! So we added more shea to this Chunk™ than any other Chunk before. And then we decided it wasn’t enough, so we added more. And then we were like, “Hmm, how much shea could we actually put in one bar of soap—25%?”
Side note: 3–7% is a lot of shea butter in a soap, but 25% is unheard of!
Now, here at Posh, we don’t much care for being told what to do or how to do it. So when we said we wanted a 25% shea butter Chunk and our manufacturer looked at us like we’d been sniffing a few too many Big Fat Yummy Hand Crèmes, do you think we backed down? No way!
And here you have it, our first ever sustainable shea Chunk, Always Ghana Love You™, to commemorate our partnership with the Global Shea Alliance, filled with 25% shea butter for a ridiculously creamy, luxurious lather fragranced with tart pomegranate, pear, and grape. And $1 of each bar helps women across Sub-Saharan Africa live better lives and build their businesses.
So if you think you know shea, get to know it in a whole new way with your next shower or bath.