Information & Advice
Extracts is one of Boots' most luxurious pampering ranges. Boots naturals brand manager Tam Sharpe travelled to Ghana to learn how key ingredient shea butter gets from tree to tub...
Health & Beauty Magazine Online Editor
Published March 2009
From body butters to lip balms, the Boots Extracts range feels gorgeous on the skin. And what’s more, every product contains either shea butter or cocoa butter which are organic, community traded and sustainably sourced.
‘Shea butter, one of the key ingredients in the Extracts range, is only produced in West Africa, so that’s where we had to go to get it,’ explains Boots naturals brand manager Tam Sharpe. ‘Not only did we want to meet the people who collect and process the shea nuts, it was also important for us to know that it came from a sustainable source.’
Tam met with Georgina Koomson who has lived in Ghana her whole life. She has been key in helping to develop international markets for traditional Ghanaian crops and produce. ‘Women in the village used to sell their butter individually at local markets, but this was time consuming and also meant they didn’t always get a good price,’ Tam explains. Georgina showed them that they’d be better off selling the butter as a group and helped them form a co-operative.
‘We’ve been working with this particular co-operative for nearly a year,’ says Tam. ‘It’s in a village called Wa, in the Upper West region of Ghana, and is built around a community of 200 women, all of whom have a say in how the money made from the butter is used locally. Recently they’ve used some of the funds to build a school.’
Arriving at Accra, Ghana
From Nottingham, where Boots is based, it was a 13-hour journey to Accra, the capital of Ghana. The bumpy, dusty, hot roads couldn’t be more different from home.
Meet the Gulli shea Co-operative
Here are some of the people who harvest and process the shea butter, including Georgina Koomson and Mr Sidu who makes sure the women are paid accurately for their work.
Beauty grows on trees
This is where it all starts, from this innocuous-looking tree! Only the nuts that fall from the trees are collected. Then they’re dried in the sun and ground. The grinding is the only part of a process that uses an actual machine. The rest is all done by hand.
The nut-grinding machine might do all the work, but it still needs a strong arm to operate it.
Tam gets to work
The nuts have been ground, then dried over a fire, which releases the natural (and delicious smelling) oils. Now the tough part, the kneading.
The end result
After kneading, water is added to the mix. The butter is left to dry in the sun, boiled for 45 minutes to remove any residual water and then allowed to solidify. Next, the butter undergoes an organic purifying process, before it is used in the Extracts range.
Extracts Vanilla Body Butter has an oh-so-creamy texture and delectable vanilla scent that will leave your skin smooth and silky soft.
Made with organic almond oil and shea butter, Extracts Almond Lip Balm works wonders in keeping lips soft, supple and moisturised.
Bring the tropics to your bathroom with Extracts Mango Sugar Scrub. It smells so good, you almost want to eat it.
Awaken your mind with the uplifting scent of Extracts Bergamot Body Wash. Perfect for an early morning pick me up.
Writer: Tam Sharpe
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