City Pulse

By Allison Warenik-Queenan

If you’ve used shea butter before, you already know that it is one of the best natural ingredients in the world for combating dry skin. I have a secret. When the winter wind starts whipping up and the heat on my apartment is cranking, I get horrible eczema on my arms. It’s not only ugly but it hurts! Shea butter has been my go-to product for the past few winters for combating this unwelcome cold weather arrival. But what exactly is shea? Shea butter is a solid, yet creamy, oil which is extracted from the Karite nut tree, grown in Central and Western Africa. It contains Vitamins A, E and F and something called Elastate, all of which make it the perfect product for those of us with badly dry skin, eczema, burns, wrinkles and even stretch marks!

I was introduced to Shea Yeleen International at a benefit reception in NYC last week. Being an avid supporter of companies that produce an exceptional product, while also giving back to the communities they operate in, has always been high on my radar. Shea Yeleen is a non-profit which works to promote sustainable economic development in rural West Africa by organizing and training women-owned cooperatives to produce, market and sell exceptional quality shea butter for an actual living wage. They produce natural body care products that are fair trade. What makes Shea Yeleen’s shea butter so high quality? Simply, it’s unrefined. So this means that it has not been processed, bleached, deodorized and essentially stripped of all of its therapeutic benefits (think whole wheat vs. Wonder bread).

You can purchase Shea International’s products at There are a variety of body balms, lip balms and soap, all containing the wondrous shea butter. I love the Body Butter. It’s luxurious creamy with a strikingly fresh scent and absorbs easily into the skin’s driest areas. Take THAT winter skin!

Originally published October 2010
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