I usually make a big tub of body and hair butter which friends and family are welcome help themselves to. One of my frequent beneficiaries decided to give me a gift of Shea Butter because she thought that I paid too much for the brand I use. She told me that she had a customer at the market that she had been buying from for years. She felt that the woman's Shea Butter (Ori) was unadulterated because she had sold the same item from the same stall for about 10 years.
I reluctantly accepted (I am not a big fan of not knowing the source of my ingredients). The next time I was reasy to make a batch of body butter, I used hers. Following my recipe here, I melted the Shea Butter. Imagine my absolute horror when I realized that I got Shea Butter and a bit more thrown in. I will let the picture below do the talking.
Now, this does not mean that ALL Shea Butter from the market is bad as I have used some in the past that appeared to be just Shea Butter. I say “appeared to be” because I did not conduct any microbiological tests on them – they may or may not have had microbial growths in them as well.
I however, have never felt comfortable about buying Shea Butter in the open market because of the way it is handled – out in the open with dust, exhaust fumes and other environmental pollutants coating them. Prospective buyers touching them with dirty fingers. Also, thanks to our sunny weather, the Shea Butter melts and is reconstituted many times before it is sold.
I apply the same principle to food. I will not buy raw leafy vegetables sold on the roadside where cars have had the chance to pass by and coat them with exhaust smoke and dust. I also do not buy leafy vegetables from a seller who has a stall next to a meat/fish seller. Once can be sure that the flies from the meat will definitely perch on the veggies at some point.
I digress, the point I am trying to make is that handling is very very important. It can make or break a product. Imagine using that Shea Butter on your face or body. Several things can result, ranging from dermatitis and to diseases that are much worse.
As with most things, buy from a credible source – unless you have decided that you are a willing risk taker.