Shea tree - Butyrospermum parkii

Butyrospermum parkii


The shea is a tree from tropical Africa belonging to the Sapotaceae family. 12 to 20 m high, it takes 25 to 30 years for the walnut-sized fruits to appear. They contain a kernel. These trees grow spontaneously and it has not yet been possible to cultivate them. Their life span is estimated at two to three hundred years.


Specific to the African continent, this tree is sacred and sets the pace of village life. The source of an edible fatty substance, shea butter is also used for health purposes. Its main application is nevertheless cosmetic since it protects the skin from the wind and burning sun and serves as a nourishing balm for the hair.


Incorporated in L’Occitane’s formulas, shea butter is an ideal balm for dry and dehydrated skins. Its nourishing and protective properties have been revealed: thanks to its insaponifiable content, it accelerates cell renewal and repairs the hydrolipid film for a softer, more elastic and comfortable skin. It acts on the skin as a veritable barrier and limits water loss in order to maintain optimum cutaneous hydration. Moreover, for an oil version and a higher proportion of unsaponifiable matter, shea butter olein is used. Finally, in soaps, the butter can be saponified to make it exceptionally soft and gentle.


In Burkina Faso, the manufacture of shea butter is a craft assigned to women. Aware of the great value of this raw material from a cosmetic point of view, and wishing to make a positive and sustainable change in the underdeveloped countries, L’Occitane instigated a stable Fair Trade programme. Since 1980, L’Occitane has encouraged the setting up of partnerships for the organisation and development of women’s associations. Thus, unlike the large industrial groups which only buy the nuts, L’Occitane buys the shea butter at a fair price and consequently remunerates the women’s work (the price of the butter is 8 times higher than that of the nuts). Today L’Occitane works closely with two NGOs, CECI and PAF bio, which supervise 3 groups with 3,500 women..

Body & Hands:

Bath & Shower:

Face Care:

Hair Care: