If you are anything like me, you want to know where things come from and how they are made. Some time ago, I found this video on how women in Mali process shea butter. It is a lot of hard work especially when you consider how cheap Shea butter is.

Please buy fairtrade Shea butter whenever you can. That way you know that the women who labour to process Shea butter from its nuts have a good chance of  receiving a good price for it.

Picture taken with my phone (not too clear)

I saw this lady in Lagos Island and was very pleased at how easy it is to find this wonderful butter locally.

I have to admit though that I tend not to buy Shea Butter in Nigeria because I do not trust that it is unadulterated (one of my silly tendencies). I have been buying my supplies from Ghana. I have however just recently discovered a vendor who directly manufactures her own Shea butter in Oyo state and I shall be contacting her soon. Wherever possible, I like to buy local.

In a few weeks, I will do a post on this wonderful thing called Shea butter which can be used in cosmetics preparations, in medicinal ointments and even for cooking.

52 Comments

Adiya

Where did you find the video. Really cool. Wish we had more locally produced products and that more people bought them!

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Natural Nigerian

Got it on youtube. There are several more. I think my favourite is the one on Shea Yeleen. A cooporative that was formed so that the local women could access buyers without so many middle men. Please check that out too.

Your blog proves that there are several locally produced goods. The problem is that the buying public doesn’t have a lot of faith in Nigerian made products. Hopefully, that will change.

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Natural Nigerian

Same here! The process is certainly quite complicated. It makes you wonder how our ancestors knew what to do. How do you know that if you grind the shea nuts and wash it, white solid butter will be the product.

I guess they were closer to nature and more in tune with their environment than we are.

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surprise

So this is how ori is made. Thanks for sharing. You can also video the vendor who manufactures her own in oyo so that we can see if it is the same process. Some people who are looking for what type business to go into may also find the video useful.

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Natural Nigerian

You are welcome. Not sure I am headed to Oyo anytime soon, but it is an idea I will put to her when I call. If she is able to shoot a video and send to me, I will definitely share it.

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Natural Nigerian

Interesting. I believe this is the first time I am hearing that Shea butter leaves residue. Does this happen anytime you use Shea butter or with just this batch? Shea butter is an oil and is not supposed to leave any residue at all. Try melting it and see if you get just oil or oil with some residue. Also, is the residue on your scalp or on your hair?

I suspect that your Shea butter is adulterated.

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A Simple Thing

Huh. I always wondered why all the shea butter I’d seen online was from Ghana, when my mum seemed to pick up ori so easily from home. I was wondering, what do you mean by unadulterated? And do you think a similar cooperative could ever be set up in Nigeria?

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Natural Nigerian

I may be wildly wrong, but where there are no quality control measures, there is always the possibility of adulteration. It is possible that some bulking agent has been added to the Ori. My mum has bought some questionable ori before. Some had the most unpleasant odor, rather than that nuttiness that original Ori has. Some of them when rubbed together in my palm did not dissolve into pure oil but came apart in tiny granules. In fact, some of the ones I have seen are so yellow that I wonder if palm oil has not been added to give it a more pleasant color.

Apart from adulteration, it is possible for the butter to go bad and still be sold. In my next post about Shea butter, I will try and do a “how to identify authentic shea butter” segment. After I have done adequate research of course.

I have tried to leave comments on your blog in the past. It seems that it does not like me much :( as it has pretty much never let me. One day, I actually spent 30minutes struggling to post a comment…will keep trying. I have so much to say on your post on “No Such Thing as a Nigerian Vegetarian!” .

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Natural Nigerian

Forgot to address the question of the co-op. My answer is yes. I do think it is possible. I went for a seminar where it was stated that a coop made up of local women that make black soap existed somewhere in a village in western Nigeria. Mr Dudu Osun himself gave the seminar. Thinking back now, I am not 100% sure if it was given the name co-op, but there was definitely some structure to it and I got the impression that the women were organized.

It can definitely be with Shea butter producers but I think that whoever organizes it has to be part philantropist, part business (wo)man in order for it to work properly and for the women to actually get their just rewards for their hard labour.

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A Simple Thing

This is true, the standards for Ori don’t seem to be…uh, there. I found a squashed spider in mine. Fortunately, I’m not arachnophobia, but for anyone else, it could have been tragic.

A lot of the American bloggers I follow have really yellow shea butter. I know shea butter can range in colour, but when it is the same colour as a lemon almost, it does make me wonder…
I’m sorry if my blog comment form is misbehaving! :/ I don’t know how to correct it but please feel free to e-mail me as well!
This is true. Some of my family claim that equality would exist in some form in Nigeria if the people at the top cared about the people at the bottom – but that the temptation to reward yourself too generously can be too much for some people *sigh*

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Sahara

hi, Thanks for your blog, really interesting and am so glad I came accross it on my quest for natural hair products in Lagos. I just relocated to lagos, and do not know many places, my husband, who is Nigerian does though, so I was wondering if you can give me places where I can get authentic shea Butter, Black soap (Both Bar and Liquid) in Lagos. Thanks

Sahara

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mikki

Wow…. I have never used pure shea butter before…
I have not been a fan of how it is packaged and sold in the local stores here in the US…
I have heard of it’s wonderful properties so I will be trying it in the coming week..but Will probably have to go to a health food store to get it.

Thanks for the
Inspiration!

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Ibhade

The process is certainly not easy o.

I grew up seeing it in my home and mum used it for almost everything esp when we are sick.

Sadly enough, i had never bought it because like you, i feel it must had been adulterated, but will buy from hence forth as a way of encouragement.

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mariam

Hi, i am REALLY INTERESTED in this and i agree with you on the adulterated thoughts..but about this woman in oyo?will you be supplyin from her?pls can u drop a note as to how i can get this or how to some way get in touch with you..Thank You

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Adura

Ooops… I thought buying my shea butter (ori) from Nigeria meant it was pure and unrefined. I did notice a batch I bought once had the weirdest odour but I won’t be using it.

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Nelly Osagie ndaguba

Thank you all for your comments if you must know we are the major producers of sheabutter in terms of quantity before the awareness of quality we had bad sheabutter but now we have quality sheabutter in Nigeria.i have women groups trained to process we have been on it for close to ten years right now we have the best quality,we trained by WATH Ghana.you can visit our processing site in Abuja you can reach me on 08062695389 will be willing to take you through the processes this we have done for so many organisations.please i would want you look at Nigeria from a different perspective we are a change Nigerians in the shea industry we have a strong association that sees to the affairs of the industry.We have our sheabutter well packaged in jars of different sizes.Just call on me any time.Thanks

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Zele

Hi Nelly, what is your email address I would like to get in touch with regards to purchasing Shea in bulk.

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chibaby

thanks for your comment on my blog!

love ur blog! rocked natural hair for over 3yrs and i loved it< i twisted most times. I had to relax it when i was going through a particularly emotional period and jsut ahd to do something drastic!!!.i used shea butter bought from suleja (seems pretty natural n authentic)..now i use it to condition my hair and my daughters..and it makes ur hair so soft! My kids aslo use it as body cream…I mix it with coconut oil, which isnt really popular in the north so i process my own and its also lovely! another cool oil here is olive oil, it smells just like fresh olives!
I also use black soap but tend to prefer the brand that comes in a jar from ghana..but also use dudu osuna atimes.

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Natural Nigerian

Thanks for sharing your personal experience with Shea here. It is indeed a wonderful ingredient in skin and hair care. I hear that in some parts of the north, it is even used for cooking.

Thanks for liking the blog.

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Tanya

How fascinating! I’ve been wanting to buy the more ivory colored butter, because I heard that the yellowish kind was dyed. When she was done, hers was ivory colored, so I’ll definitely remain committed to this venture. Also, I’d heard that you shouldn’t heat/boil shea butter because it damages it, she boiled it at least once. Good video!

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LosGatos

Here is a link to a site [that also sells Shea Butter] regarding quality control and shea production – in this case butter produced by women’s cooperatives in West African Burkina Fasso:
http://www.empowervillage.com — follow the link named ‘Quality Assurance’

I’d never heard of it before — but I’m sold on it now.

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MRS MODUPE JOHNSON

I like your write-up on shea butter.pls can i get more information on the prevention of rancidity in shea butter especially when incorporated in creams and other cosmetics thanks alot

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Natural Nigerian

Generally when pure Vitamin E is used in creams, it will slow down rancidity of oils and butters.

You will also need to understand the shelf life of the butter you are using and use it accordingly. Ensure that your Shea butter has been made properly and stored properly. If you use bad shea butter, no matter what you do, it will go rancid quickly.

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Handsome Jimoh

60 km from Gwagwalada ( a town near Abuja) lies a village called Goyi. They process the best quality shea butter cream in the whole world there.

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Mickii Nwachuwu

Need companies to purchase raw shea butter
Please send contacts. Thank you

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ashley

hello. I have looking for how to get unrefined shea butter from Nigeria/ Ghana. I am in Malaysia and it is like imposible to find it here. Please kindly send me some contacts where i could get from especially if there are online stores or any other trusted means you would suggest on how i could buy it. you can reach me on this email: ashleyscott_21@yahoo.com. Thank you!

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Zele

Hi, I live in Zambia I have been using Shea Butter for most of the year now, but I have difficulty in getting originally from nigeria/ghana. Whats the easiest way to get it to my counrty if I buy it in bulk? Are there any contacts or trust worthy suppliers? Please let me know. Much appreciated.

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ahmadharb

i like this video so much. they are doing really hard job. where can i find their product in lebanon beirut?

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ozioko sandra

i live in abeokuta and have never bought fake ori before. i use to cook and use it as hair cream for my self and body cream for my son.i just know the original ,i guess

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Oluwabunmi

@Ozioko Sandra: how (and what) do you use ori to cook? I’m really interested in cooking soups (e.g. Egusi, etc) with it.

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Tonya

I’ve been using shea butter for a while but now its making my hair white do you know if some different shea butters have something in it so that it’s not so pure as others are?

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