Shea butter is an amazing moisturizing all-rounder. People across Africa have been using shea butter for thousands of years to protect their skin from drying out due to the hot climate in the sub-Saharan countries. Due to its outstandingly caring, naturally nourishing properties, shea butter has become indispensable in today’s body care and cosmetics products worldwide. This high-quality butter is also a vital ingredient in many Beiersdorf products – it is used in our lip balms and body lotions, for example.
Shea butter is a naturally renewable raw material and is mainly sourced from the West African countries of Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Benin, Nigeria, Togo, and the Ivory Coast. The only region in the world where the shea nut or shea tree grows naturally is the “Shea Belt” that stretches right across Africa south of the Sahara. A shea tree can live to be over 300 years old and can take 15-20 years to bear fruit for the first time. The shea nuts grow on the branches of the tree, which can grow up to 20 meters high. Shea butter is extracted from the nuts in complex steps. The special thing about the shea tree is that it is difficult to cultivate – there are no shea plantations to date. New trees are the result of a targeted regeneration process controlled by farmers that supports the “accidental” germination of shea tree seedlings. This means all nuts from wild-sown, widely scattered shea trees on the savannah and on arable land are gathered by local people.