About Baraka Shea Butter
Questions About Ordering
Questions About Our Partnership with the Women in Ghana
How can I get feedback from others who have used Baraka Shea Butter?
Is there some sort of quality control in place?
Yes, of course. There are several quality control systems and processes that work together to ensure that Baraka Shea Butter meets or exceeds the quality expectations of our customers (93% of respondents rate the quality as “great” or “better”)
Quality control starts with the women who make the shea butter. Their processes have evolved over centuries and have a natural, built-in quality control. They made shea butter for their own use long before they sold it for export – and they wanted good quality shea butter for themselves. Quality control practices were passed down from mother to daughter, or grandmother to granddaughter.
We also have added other processes and checkpoints:
- We have a Quality Control manual and system, based on traditional practices with modern interventions such as straining the freshly melted oil prior to cooling and packaging. This system is inspected annually as part of the quality control review which is part of the Organic certification process.
- We have a Shea Butter expert that meets with the women every year and reviews quality control and, if warranted, will run classes to demonstrate techniques and processes. Baraka Shea Butter covers all costs for this.
- We visually inspect each carton before we purchase it and reject any that do not meet our requirements. Cartons are filled and weighed with our team leader present and inspecting each.
- We have our shipments tested by Ghana Standards Board for quality and safety issues prior to export.
What are the benefits to using shea butter in skin care products?
Wow! This answer could take a book, or more, to fully respond to, there are that many.
Traditionally made shea butter has amazing skin care properties including being used as:
- a moisturizer
- in hair as a leave in conditioner
- for scalp treatment and for restoring damage hair
- great for taking out fritz
- used for stretch mark prevention and minimization where they already exist
- for babies, it can be applied to the navel while it is healing, and after the first bath, they can be massaged with pure shea
- bum cream
- Mom’s also use it as nipple cream if they experience dryness
- for healing of small scares and dermatitis, cracked heals and for healing burns
Does your shea butter have a scent?
Everything has a scent. My dog told me so.
All Shea Butter has a scent, unless it is processed and chemically de-scented (and who wants that!).
Baraka Shea Butter will often have a very slight smoky smell that lingers from fires that the shea nuts are roasted on.
Why is my shea butter not pure white in colour?
Baraka Shea Butter is traditionally made using no chemicals, processes or destructive processes.
The colour will vary from a buttery yellow to an ivory/off-white colour. The colour is dependent on several factors including rains and climate during the growing season, mineral makeup of the soil, whether it is nuts from the very first fruits or later fruits in the harvest and, I’m sure, other things that we don’t know about.
We do know that whatever the specific colour of your Baraka Shea Butter, it is the natural colour that nature meant it to be.
We understand that some producers add a yellow food colour to try and get a consistent yellow colour. Of course, we don’t do that.
As for pure white…. Pure white shea butter is processed and de-scented, often with harmful chemicals. This process not only sounds horrid, it takes away many of the special healing and restorative powers that Baraka Shea Butter has because of the traditional and natural way it is processed.
What is the shelf life of your shea butter? How will I know how old it is when I receive my order?
Shea Butter will still be good quality and very usable even after five years of stored in reasonable conditions (cool, dark, etc.).
But, to be on the safe side, we set a shelf life of three years from when the women make it.
We’ve never had a customer have a problem with that shelf-life period.
We did once have a customer contact us five years after they purchased shea butter and tell us that they thought it had gone rancid. They had stored it in a damp place all that time.
We replaced it, including shipping, because we stand behind Baraka Shea Butter 100%.
What is the Fair for Life Fair Trade Standard and why did Baraka select that standard?
Fair for Life is a highly regarded Fair Trade Certification that goes beyond supply chain only fair trade practices to encompass the company’s commitment to community, environment and family.
We selected this standard because we found it to be comprehensive and practical, and because it was consistent with our personal beliefs and long-standing business practices.
Baraka Shea Butter is very proud that our performance is rated in the exceptional range.
Here is a summary from the certification website:
Fair for Life Fair Trade certification includes all Social Responsibility standards with fair working conditions, environmental performance and community relations, but focuses additionally on fair trade relationships, fair prices and direct support of marginalized groups by means of a Fair Trade Development Fund.
Fair for Life Fair Trade means long-term and trusting cooperation between partners, transparent price-setting negotiations and prices, including a Fair Trade Premium, that allows for social development of the concerned communities. A Fair Trade Policy defines the beneficiaries of Fair Trade and confirms the social commitment of the production company.
Is there any Baraka Shea Butter that is not Fair Trade?
Baraka has practiced Fair Trade since the business was formed so, in that sense, all Baraka Shea Butter has always been fair trade.
But, we were only certified in 2015 so it is only from 2015 onwards that we can claim to be Certified Fair Trade.
The reality is that Certification did not make us any fairer, or cause us to do more for and with the women and communities who make Baraka Shea Butter.
We were already doing more than is required by Certification Standards because our mission is to work alongside the women who make our shea butter and support them as much as possible.
What Certification did do was to provide an independent verification of this to all of our customers and stakeholders as well as unfortunately adding costs and complexities to our business.
What Organic Standard is Baraka Shea Butter Certified to?
Certified Organic Baraka Shea Butter is inspected and certified according to the procedures as outlined in the United States Department of Agriculture, AMS 7 CFR Part 205 National Organic Program.
What will happen if my shea butter sits out in extreme temperatures until I arrive home?
It will be nice and creamy and buttery! That is, if you get home in a day or two, or even a week. If you didn’t plan to be home for a few years you should probably arrange cool, dark storage for it.
The reality is that Shea Butter is produced in areas where the temperature is often VERY HOT and it does just fine. It isn’t good to subject it to long periods of intense heat but a day or two, or three, isn’t a big deal. And, when it is very warm it is creamier and butterier (my computer says Butterier isn’t a word but I am sure you know what I mean).
If I'm using your shea butter as an ingredient in my products, can I claim 100% certified USDA organic and grade A?
In order for your full product to be certified as Organic you would need to have your production processes, procedures and ingredients certified as there is very strict control on contamination and other risks and issues.
If you purchase Baraka Certified Organic Shea Butter and only use that in your product you can claim that you use 100% certified organic shea butter in the product, but you cannot claim the product is certified organic without having it certified itself.
Questions About Baraka Shea Butter (you are on this page)
Questions About Ordering
Questions About Our Partnership with the Women in Ghana