This is what Grade A unrefined shea butter should look like
You’ve heard of the magical healing properties that shea butter can bring to your skin: fighting dryness, cracked skin, blemishes, stretch marks, baby’s diaper rash, sunburn, and a multitude of other uses.
But how can you be sure the shea butter you buy is the best quality possible, bringing the maximum healing power for your skin while being good for the environment and providing a stable income for women in Africa who make it? Here are some guidelines:
1. Choose Grade A, unrefined, naturally extracted shea
To achieve the maximum benefit for your skin, it’s important to choose Grade A natural unrefined shea butter.
- Grade A refers to the best quality, unrefined, raw shea butter, extracted only using water
- Grades B-E are refined with certain types of solvents, such as Hexane
2. Colour makes all the difference
Shea butter dyeing with Borututu flowers
Examples of inferior quality shea butter with yellow dyes and additives
3. The best, most nourishing handcrafted shea has an earthy, nutty smell and a slightly grainy texture
With the best Grade A unrefined shea butter, you should expect a shelf life of 18 to 36 months. Shea butter that is not produced correctly can turn rancid in a much shorter time period. With that in mind, when you buy shea butter, you should keep in a sealed container away excess sunlight, moisture and humidity to avoid spoilage.
Also, beware of shea butters that are completely smooth to the touch. Handcrafted unrefined shea butter should have a slightly grainy texture, compared to refined butters that feel totally smooth on your skin. Please also note, according to United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the refinement process vastly reduces the nutrition value for your skin, up to 95% of vitamins (including Omega-9, an essential fatty acid, and the antioxidant Vitamin A) can be removed from refined grades.
To maximize shea butter's benefits to your skin, it is recommended to only choose Grade A unrefined shea butter.
At Maame, we use only 100% natural unrefined grade A, fair trade shea butter in our products, ethically sourced from Ghana. Try our body butters and soaps today and experience the Maame difference.