I’ve become increasingly frustrated reading (international) hair blogs & realising how few choices Black women in SA have when it comes to products & there isn’t any good reason for this. Even the Africa International Hair Expo a few months carried my highest hopes but was just another dismal case in point.
Shea butter is probably the most common thread through so many of the blogs that I’ve read & I decided that there has got to be some in this country & I was going to find it. I was motivated by my own dry, forever-thirsty hair (I’m 10 months post the big chop!) & I thought that surely because this is a natural substance (God made it & would want me to have some!) I wasn’t going to let up on this easily. So about a week ago I started asking anyone & everyone who’d listen & went about some research of my own.
But before we go any further what is shea butter?
In a nutshell, it’s the fat extracted from the oil-rich nut/seed of the African Shea tree which grows mostly in Mali, Cameroon, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Togo, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, Burkina Faso & Uganda. Besides being used on hair & skin as a moisturizer, it’s also edible & has medicinal purposes. Shea butter can be unrefined (raw) or refined & there are various extraction methods when it comes to the latter including the addition of Sodium Hydroxide, bleaching, deodorizing & degumming (removal of proteins, carbohydrates & natural gums).
The shea butter I purchased butter was refined. I was a little disappointed but there seems to be much contention around the subject with many saying that extraction has evolved to the point of not interfering with the integrity of the nut – you decide…
Determined & quite by chance I contacted (amongst many others) Windrose, who specialises in 100% natural aromatherapy oils. Based in Edenvale, Johannesburg, they supply pharmacies, spa’s & health stores etc & the public directly. Let’s just say the rest is history. I first contacted them around noon yesterday & I picked up my order around 4pm – I was as excited as a schoolgirl!
Without any further ado, here is the direct link to the shea butter on their site: http://tinyurl.com/8umpt5u (PS it’s a bit hidden, you need to search under vegetable butters in you’re trying to find it from the homepage)
Service & ordering
I had great service from Dana at Windrose who was friendly & efficient throughout though I’m sure she must have thought I was a tad crazy to be that excited! Note that you need to register on their site to be able to buy – it’s quick and easy, took me 2/3 minutes.
|Shea Butter – cost average per Kg/Litre|
|Qty||ml/kg||Cost||Cost Per kg/L|
Best news ever! I haven’t actually come across any shea butter in SA personally yet, but the prices I’ve heard about from health shops etc don’t compare to this at all. And it gets cheaper the more you buy – I’ve done the math 🙂 Makes sense right, you’re buying direct. I went for the 1 litre since this was more of a test & I didn’t want to over invest. Oh & over and above this they also offer an additional 10% for most online orders! *squeal*
They deliver throughout SA & the lead time (please enquire) differs depending on which option you choose:
|Gauteng – courier||R 120|
|Rest of RSA – courier||R 200|
|Local Postage||R 80|
I placed my order online & chose to collect in person (I couldn’t wait), so there was no delivery charge. It normally takes about 2 days for them to get your order ready for collection.
The shea butter itself has a very light fragrance if at all. The texture is very soft & it will melt in your hand after a while with body heat. Although it appears quite white in these pics in person it’s more of a creamy/off-white colour. Personally, I love fancy packaging (I’m superficial like that!) & few black hair care suppliers have got this right but my shea butter arrived in a plain old tub – I was too stoked to care! Unopened, they say it has a shelf life of around 6 months.
So of course I whipped my shea butter as per the video I saw on Curly Nikki. What you whip yours with is really up to you – I’d say use the oils you know already work well on your hair. I saved half of the shea butter that I bought to try whipping it with some different oils next time just to experiment.
Ingredients & tools – all set to go!
This is the recipe I used (PS don’t get too bogged down by quantities):
500 ml shea butter (so half of what I purchased)
125 ml virgin coconut oil
100 ml grape seed oil
Just add all the ingredients (no need to “melt” the coconut oil first if you are using some) & whisk. I don’t recommend a manual whisk but I may just be lazy! It whipped up beautifully into soft peaks & reminded me when my mom would whisk egg yolks & sugar when baking & I would hope silently that I could swipe the bowl to lick it clean ahead of my brother! 🙂
Yummy enough to eat!
I then decanted the mixture into various air tight containers but not before I used some on my hair overnight – I haven’t peaked yet, keep you posted 🙂
Ta da! You can get these air tight containers (the 2 on the left in 2nd pic) from Mr Price super cheap from R9.99 to R15.99 depending on the size.
Windrose’s site has loads of other oils & butters that I’m keen to try & at competitive rates vs. retail. I’ll certainly be experimenting more & hope this gem of a find will be of useful for you too!
Be kind to your hair!
242 Albert Amon Rd, Meadowdale, Edenvale, Johannesburg.
+27 11 454 5400