Shea butter (also known as karite butter) is a very popular ingredient in cosmetics. Shea butter is produced from the nuts of the Shea tree (Butyrospermum parkii) which grows in West and Central Africa in Nigeria, Togo, Mali, Ghana, the Ivory Coast, Benin and Burkina Faso. Ninety-five percent of the shea butter produced in these countries is used in candy and confectionaries. The other five percent is used for cosmetics.
Shea butter has several wonderful qualities that make it an excellent additive to cosmetic products. It consists primarily of stearic acid and oleic acid - two fatty acids which moisturize the skin. Shea butter contains a large percentage of unsaponifiables which help to stimulate and regenerate the skin. It also is useful as a sunblock. It also contains vitamins A, E & F.