How to Know if Handmade Shea Butter is Best?


Is your shea butter hand-made using time-tested traditional practices and techniques passed down through generations? 

Hand-made shea butter uses time-tested knowledge passed down through generations and provides dignity of income to hard working women


Or is it made in factories with the oil extracted from the shea nut using chemicals, solvents and machinery?  

Inside a typical shea butter factory


Does it matter?  We think so, but judge for yourself.  

Read 10 Reasons to Use Handmade Shea Butter if you want more detail

Baraka carries only hand-made shea butter, lovingly produced by hard working women using proven traditional techniques and processes taught to them by their mothers and grandmother.


What is Handmade Shea Butter?

All shea butter is not the same. Not the same in terms of the properties that it brings to your products and formulations, and not the same in terms of the impact on hard working women in rural Ghana.

Handmade shea butter is made by hand from shea nuts which women gather by hand from the shea forests (see shea nut gathering video here). They turn the shea nuts into shea butter using the age old process of: 

  1. Breaking the shea nuts into small pieces 
  2. Roasting them to get them ready to naturally release the oils
  3. Milling or pounding them until it turns viscous
  4. Kneading water into it to get it to the right consistency
  5. Hand whipping it to coagulate the natural oils which are then further separated using a traditional boiling process

Every step is done by hand in small batches using time-tested, age-old traditional methods passed down through generations.  No chemicals or solvents or foreign matter used.  The result is pure, handmade shea butter.

To see a documentary on how handmade shea butter is made, click here.

An added benefit from handmade shea butter is that it supports more income for hard working rural women.  They are involved every step of the way; from collecting the shea nuts through to packaging the final product for shipment to customers worldwide.

Industrial/Chemical Shea Butter Processing Facility in Ghana 


Buyers roam the shea forest during shea nut collection season, purchasing sacks of shea nuts for transport to their urban factories.  Once they purchase them, the benefits for hard working rural women ends as, unlike with handmade shea butter, there is no room for these women to be involved after the nuts are collected.  Machines and chemicals take over from that point.

So, back to our opening question:

Is Handmade Shea Butter Best?

I guess that is for you to decide.

Handmade shea butter is likely more expensive, but hasn’t been exposed to chemicals, solvents and industrial processing, and much more benefit remains with the hard working rural women.

Handmade shea butter is pure, raw, natural and untainted by chemicals and solvents.


Handmade?  Or Mechanically/chemically processed?  Which do you want in your products?  And on your skin and your customer’s skin?


How can I tell if my Shea Butter is Handmade?

There really isn’t an easy way to tell by simply looking at it, as it by and large looks the same.  Both handmade and mechanical/chemical processed shea butter looks the same, unlike refined shea butter which has a different colour and texture.

Recent Topic: How To Use Shea Butter For Acne Scars and Skin Blemishes

The only sure way to know is to ask your supplier where it comes from and how it is made.  Ask for proof if you feel you need it.   

If your supplier can’t tell you how it was made and give you proof, the odds are that the shea butter you get from them was made in a mechanized factory, extracted with solvents and chemicals and few benefits flowing to the hard working women of rural Ghana.

Handmade shea butter is traditionally made in balls for sale in local markets


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