The global cosmetic products market was valued at USD 532.43 billion in 2017, and is expected to reach a market value of USD 805.61 billion by 2023, registering a CAGR of 7.14% during 2018-2023. Global Shea Butter Market was valued at US$ 1.7 Bn in 2018 and is expected to reach US$ 2.67 Bn by 2026, at a CAGR of 5.81% during a forecast period.
What is it?
Shea butter is a skin superfood that comes from the seeds of the fruit of the Shea (Karite) tree and that is naturally rich in vitamins A, E and F. It offers UV protection (it is SPF ~6) and provides the skin with essential fatty acids and the nutrients necessary for collagen production.
Shea butter is fat that’s extracted from the nuts of the shea tree. It’s solid at warm temperatures and has an off-white or ivory colour. Shea trees are native to West Africa, and most shea butter still comes from that region.
Shea butter has been used as a cosmetic ingredient for centuries. Its high concentration of vitamins and fatty acids — combined with its easy-to-spread consistency — make it a great product for smoothing, soothing, and conditioning your skin.
- Shea butter is an all star natural moisturiser. It can be used on the hair and skin.
- Anti-inflammatory and healing properties: it has been proven to have extensive anti-inflammatory properties. Redness and swelling on your face may be calmed by applying shea butter products.
- Emollient properties: the rich tree-nut oils in shea butter can soak into your skin, creating a smooth and soft barrier that seals in moisture. This moisturising effect can last several hours.
- Anti-aging properties: shea butter has also been reported to have anti-aging properties. If true, the exact mechanism isn’t well-known and may be related to promoting collagen production or decreasing the breakdown of collagen that’s already present.
Types of shea butter
- Yellow shea butter is raw and can have a strong odor. There may be impurities present if the butter has not been filtered.
- Unrefined shea butter is usually whiter in appearance and has been run through a filter to remove impurities.
- Heavily refined, pure white shea butter still contains is moisturising abilities, but its vitamin content has been lost.
How is it made?
For generations, women across the Sahel earn money from making shea butter. The Sahel is an area of the African continent south of the Sahara desert. It stretches across Northern Africa, like a belt, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea. It is 5,400 kilometre long and between a few hundred and a thousand kilometres wide. The 18 countries on the ‘belt” are Senegal, Guinea, Mali, Ivory coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Uganda, Congo and Sudan.
Local women in villages mainly undertake this manual intensive labour. Since the industry is not regulated, women producers are often exploited and abused. Women are poorly compensated due to lack of business management skills. There is hope to help them gain the competitive edge and obtain international standards. Governments and NGO have begun to rally around these women by assisting them with training and resources. Cooperatives also play an important role in pooling talent and resources together to improve production and increase profit. These actors help empower women and improve their economic standing.