Shea Yeleen Shea Body Butter & Soap

August 4, 2014

Shea butter is a hot ingredient nowadays. From body scrubs and hair treatments to hand creams and cleansers, this African nut has become a hot commodity in the beauty industry. Shea is extracted from the seeds in the fruits of the Shea or Karite tree grown in West and Central sub-Saharan Africa. The word “Shea” derives from the word s’í, which is the tree’s name in the West African language of Bamana.

Known as “women’s gold,” shea butter also ensures a precious source of revenue for those involved in its collection and production. Organized in cooperatives, local women are the only ones who know how to turn it into butter. They can use the shea butter income for their family such as the education of their children.


Outside of Africa, shea butter is primarily used as a moisturizer and in cosmetics and hair products.  It is used to help treat a number of common skin and other ailments including:

  • Severe dry skin
  •  Skin discoloration
  • Burns
  • Muscle aches
  • Rashes/Eczema
  • Cuts & Sores
  • Wrinkles
  • Chapped Lips
  • Arthritis

Shea butter is used as a substitute for cocoa butter and as an ingredient in chocolate.  It is also used by women in Sub-saharan Africa to help nourish and protect their skin and hair.

Some companies have suggested categorizing shea butter into commercial grades as follows:

  • A – for raw butters like whipped butter, extracted using water.
  • B – for refined butter
  • C – for pure white vitamin content , highly refined
  • D – for the lowest uncontaminated grade and
  • E – for butter with contaminants

I recently got to know Rahama Wright, the founder of Shea Yeleen, an organic beauty company  she started at the age of 23.  A first generation Ghanaian American, Rahama has first discovered shea butter production while an intern at the U.S. Embassy in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso in 2002. Later that year, she became a Peace Corps volunteer in Mali, “where she supported the creation of the first shea butter cooperative in the village of Dio.”  In 2005, Wright applied these lessons to found Shea Yeleen, which has worked with women in cooperatives in Ghana, Burkina Faso and Mali.  Shea Yeleen blends pure, unrefined shea butter with essential oils and natural ingredients to create moisturizing, nourishing Body Butters, Soaps, Body Balms, and Lip Balms.

Here is a glossary of various ingredients found in our products:

  • Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract: a botanical that offers healing and anti-inflammatory properties
  • Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride: a liquid derived from Coconut Oil used to protect the skin and stabilize natural oils.
  • Cetyl Esters: used as an emollient and thickener, derived from saturated fatty alcohols and acids from vegetable-based sources
  • Chamomile Flower Extract (Matricaria Recuitita): a botanical that contains anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties and is useful for sensitive and allergy-prone skin
  • Cocoa Pod: helps to relieve rashes, eczema and scalp irritations, soothes blemishes and acne, softens damaged, dry and aging skin, balances oily skin
  • Coconut Oil: rich in antioxidants that prevent aging and skin-strengthening vitamin E
  • Comfrey Extract (Symphytum Officinale): a botanical used to promote skin cell regeneration and known for anti-inflammatory properties
  • Glycerin: excellent humectant that helps keep skin moisturized and supple, derived from vegetable-based sources
  • Glyceryl Stearate SE: a wax used to protect and lubricate skin, derived from glycerin and stearic acid, a fatty acid obtained from vegetable fats and oils
  • Glycol Stearate: used as an emollient and emulsion stabilizer, composed of ethylene glycol and stearic acid, a naturally occurring fatty acid.
  • Olive Oil: rich in vitamin A, vitamin E and antioxidants, helps repair and renew aging and damaged skin
  • Phenoxyethanol: a preservative used in very low concentrations to prevent the growth of bacteria in skincare products
  • Shea Butter: contains high levels of fatty acids, vitamins A, E, F, restores skin elasticity
  • Sunflower Oil: rich in beta-Carotene, vitamin E and antioxidants, helps prevent premature signs of aging
  • Vitamin E (Tocopherol): a fat-soluble vitamin and naturally-occurring antioxidant used to protect the skin and as a natural preservative, derived from vegetable oil
  • Xantham Gum: a natural polysaccharide used as a thickener and emulsion stabilizer, derived from glucose or corn syrup

Shea Yeleen’s body butters are incredibly hydrating. After all, they use unrefined shea butter as the base for the lotions.  The butter comes in two formulas, unscented and lavender honeysuckle.  Unscented is perfect for guys.  The company also has a honeysuckle body balm that works wonders on my niece’s diaper clad bottom.  The brand also has shea butter soaps, including a scented soaps.  Shea Yeleen is now available at Whole Foods, as well as online.
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