Shea Butter

In order to provide some of the finest and most responsibly sourced raw shea butter on the market, Global Mamas partners with Naasakle Damongo.


This region of Ghana is known for a very difficult environment but is also home to some the world's most preferred shea nuts, desired for their higher healthy oil content. While many other shea butter suppliers use modern industrial and often tainted means of production, Global Mamas works with their producers and has perfected how to make shea butter by using a semi-mechanized process that both begins and ends with natural ingredients and efficiency saving factors to make the best raw shea butter.


shea oil into butterThe first step in how to make shea butter is the collection of fallen shea nuts from the shea or karite tree. Naturally grown throughout the Savannah and Sahel regions, shea nuts are relatively bountiful with an estimated 1.8 million tons grown annually. Only 35% (600,000 tons) are used for the exportation of nuts or butter. The women usually harvest the ripe nuts from the ground during the time period between June and October. The process of walking to find a fruitful and proper tree (it takes roughly 45 years for the tree to reach maturity) is a demanding activity.

After the collection process, the shea nuts are stored in various buildings throughout the villages. A big effort is made to keep the nuts cool while making the best raw shea butter, either under the shade of a roof or tree. This keeps the nuts free from moisture, unwanted chemical buildup, and the possibility of the nuts breaking down. After collection, the process of separating the stearin (butter portion) and the olein (oil portion) begins with boiling the shea nuts in clean water. While other producers frequently make the mistake of using iron tainted water, Global Mamas and our processing partners know that pure water always yields the top-end results in the process to make the best raw shea butter. After boiling the nuts in large pots, the whole nuts are spread out in a sanitary fashion to dry in the sun.  

Cooking shea butter



After the shea nuts are completely dry, the nuts are de-husked to get to the kernel of the shea nut. At this step in the process of how to make shea butter, our women's groups begin the 'semi-mechanized' process. Instead of painstakingly cracking and de-husking each individual nut, the group has various diesel mills to save time and raise efficiency. Again the women use a machine to crush the nuts in to small pieces; this speeds production time while not introducing foreign chemicals or artificial ingredients. The manual option is to hand-crush the shea nuts and this can be done to only one to three nuts at a time.

Another round of dry, open flamed, iron-pot roasting is performed next. The women producers closely monitor the roasting this time around to prevent overcooking and the formation of unhealthy hydrocarbons in the final unrefined pure raw shea butter. This step is performed in order to help soften the kernel into a buttery paste. This paste is then mixed with water again, and the women then knead, by hand, to form an emulsion which separates the fats inside the butter.

shea butter


There are two final two steps of how to make shea butter to arrive at the final product of the best raw shea butter. First, the emulsion mixture is cooked one more time in order to cleanse and perfect the unrefined pure raw shea butter. In this process, the fat is skimmed off the top and decantation occurs to remove any remaining sediment. Finally, the butter is stirred for the final time and left in big pots under a cool roof to harden and become ready for sale as Global Mamas unrefined pure raw shea butter.