FAQ – Learn About Shea Butter

Frquently asked questions and important information about Mino Collective’s shea butter.

1. What is shea butter?

Shea butter is one of the most versatile plant based oils in the planet and has been used in Africa for thousands of years. It’s a great moisturiser and have exceptionally high healing benefits for the skin, It’s great for improving a number of skin issues and is an exceptional source of nutrients, vitamins, antioxidants and fatty acids.

Shea butter is made from the nut of the shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa) which grows naturally in the wild in the dry savannah belt of West Africa. To make the butter the nuts are harvested, dried, milled, roasted, milled again, water is added to the shea butter paste and women kneaded by hand to separate the butter then it is boiled and the butter float to the surface.

We at Mino Collective take great pride in only offering fresh, unrefined, high-quality, hand crafted shea butter. We guarantee that our shea butter is 100% pure, natural and made of the highest quality nuts making our shea butter Grade A and Premium Quality. We work with two women’s groups in North Eastern Benin, to learn more of the traditional production process and watch a video of it being made go to our Shea Butter Production Process page.

 

2. What are the Benefits of using shea butter?

The benefits of using shea butter are numerous, it truly is a ‘miracle’ butter, have a look at the table below to see some of the uses and benefits of shea butter.

benefits of using shea butter

3. What colour and texture is shea butter?

Our shea butter is handcrafted and produced in small batches so the colour and texture may change from batch to batch. Generally the colour of our shea butter is pale yellow to cream and the texture at room temperature (ca 23 °C) is solid but creamy. As we break down big blocks of shea butter and put it in the container the consistency may vary from piece to piece but this does not affect the quality of the shea butter.

The important thing to remember is that our shea butter is handcrafted and pure hence it comes in its natural form and may not always be uniform but that’s how we like it, we want to keep it 100 % unrefined and natural so that you get the ultimate moisturising and healing properties.

4. Does shea butter smell?

Yes, shea butter has a light nutty scent, the scent quickly disappear when the product have been absorbed by skin or hair.

5. What is the shelf life?

Our shea butter has the shelf life of 1 year.

6. How do I store my shea butter and body butters?

Shea butter and our whipped body butters should be stored in a dry, cool place away from heat. Do not refrigerate shea butter as you do not want it to get hard and cold.

7. What is Refined vs Unrefined shea butter?

Unrefined shea butter is usually made using traditional methods, the butter is extracted without using chemicals, which means that all the natural healing and moisturising properties remain intact. The colour ranges from cream to grayish yellow and it has a nutty aroma.
Refined shea butter is made by manufacturers using chemicals, such as hexane and bleach to remove any odour and colour. The result is a butter that lacks the true moisturising, healing, and bioactive properties of traditional shea butter.

8. What are the different shea butter grades?

Mino Collective’s high quality shea butter is 100% Unrefined and Grade A. There are many different grades and it is important to understand the difference.

A – contains the highest amount of bioactive nutrients and is unrefined
B – is refined and contain low level of bioactive nutrients
C – highly refined and extracted with solvents such as hexane
D – lowest uncontaminated grade
E – with contaminants

9. Are your products organic?

Yes our shea butter is organic. Shea butter is inherently organic, the shea trees grow wildly in the african savannah, they don’t need fertilization or irrigation to grow. When the nuts fall to the ground they are picked by local farmers and shea butter producers. There are no chemicals and pesticides used to cultivate the trees and no chemicals used in the production process.

10. Are your products certified organic?

Although our shea butter is organic it is not certified organic as it is quite a rigorous and costly process that would involve adding additional costs to production. Right now our producers are struggling with basic things like getting a well functioning production facility with efficient tools and equipment. Our goal and mission is to get the women we work with and their community into financial stability as quickly as possible and that means prioritising things that will help in the immediate future. Getting organic certification for our shea butter is a long term goal.

11. Why is some shea butter grainy?

Crystallization or graininess occurs when shea butter melts, either intentionally or accidentally during warm conditions, and then cools back down too slowly. Sometimes the melting can happen during transport or if the shea butter has accidentally been left in a hot sunny place. A grainy texture isn’t a sign of “bad” butter, and you can still use it safely on your skin.

12. Is shea butter vegan?

Our shea butter is 100% plant based and not tested on animals so absolute yes, it is vegan.

13. Can I use shea butter on my entire body, face and hair?

Absolutely! Shea butter is incredibly nourishing and moisturising for the skin and can be used as well as on body as on face. It’s an excellent deep moisturiser for your face and lips. It can be a really good product to use just before bed as it will nourish your skin whilst you’re sleeping and then it’s easily washed off in the morning. It’s also a great moisturiser for dry hair.

14. Can I use shea butter on my baby?

In West Africa shea butter has safely been used on babies for thousands of years and it is a staple skincare product for the entire family. Unrefined shea butter is 100% natural and plant based which means that it’s chemical free. It is also a hypoallergenic product proven to be great for diaper rashes, dry skin and eczema. Mino Collevtive’s  Raw Shea butter products can be used on babies, however, as our Whipped Body butters products contain essential oils we would advice you to read up on essential oil safety information for infants and babies before using these products on your children.

15. Is shea butter safe for nut allergies?

Currently, there aren’t any scientific studies linking nut allergies to shea butter. However, as nut allergies are very serious and potentially life threatening we would advice you to consult with your doctor before purchasing any of our shea butter.

16. How is shea butter made?

The traditional shea butter production process is similar across the region, however there are certain steps that have been refined and improved upon, the women of both Alibarka and Sorou Ada craft the butter using quality and sustainability principles received during training from Association Karite Benin using guidelines from the Global Shea Alliance trying to align and standardised the production process across the region.

We use a 10 step production process, you can learn more about it on our shea butter production process page and watch a video of shea butter being made

 

15. Is your production process environmentally friendly?

Yes it is very eco friendly, from the wild-harvesting of the nuts from local farmers and shea butter producers to the processing of the shea butter which is done by hand using no chemicals or additive. Shea butter production is very kind on the environment and we are conscious of keeping it this way, one of the goals of Mino Collective is to build a green production facility using alternative energy sources such as solar panels.

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