Shea Butter

The landscape of Burkina Faso is interspersed with majestic karite trees – the source of shea butter. In this region, the hot winds carry dust and fine sand, and can be very drying for the skin. The women of Burkina Faso traditionally protect their skin – and that of their children – against harsh environmental elements by applying shea butter daily. Organized into cooperatives, they use traditional methods to harvest the fruit of this sacred tree. They extract and dry the nuts, grind them to make a fine paste, and transform the paste into shea butter – a universal and irreplaceable beauty product. This explains why their skin remains so beautiful, supple and elastic…


"Thanks to the incredible success of our Shea Butter range, which is known and loved throughout the world, the number of women producing shea butter for L'OCCITANE has gone from an initial group of less than 100 (20 years ago) to over 15,000 today!" Olivier Baussan, founder of L’OCCITANE

In the early 1980's, L’OCCITANE set up a joint-development program with the women of Burkina Faso.

Did you know? L’OCCITANE wants to go further than a trade business. It ensures that the women of Burkina Faso reap the full benefits of their work by purchasing the butter directly from them in situ. A correct price is paid, which covers the production costs – including environmental and social costs – and leaves a margin for investment. L’OCCITANE prefinances harvest by up to 80% and helps the women’s groups with production, export and finding new outlets.

In 2003, we set up the organic network, which is more lucrative for the producers.

Created in 2006, the L’OCCITANE Foundation supports projects that give women greater autonomy and promote their economic emancipation, creating literacy centers, providing access to micro credits, or bearing the cost of medicines and treatments (

In 2009, we decided to "professionalize" the women’s groups by obtaining the “Fair Trade”. label for their shea butter. ECOCERT SA, the European control and certification body, developed the EFT “Ecocert Fair Trade” label, with four main objectives:

- Social responsibility
- Economic solidarity
- Environmental responsibility
- Transparency of information and respect for the consumer
*Standards available at

Thanks to the EFT label, the women’s groups can now provide a guarantee for international clients. It also provides a sustainable basis for their emancipation.

L’OCCITANE has also taken part in an "industrial accompaniment" program, which involves training a man or woman from Burkina Faso in our techniques and expertise at the L'OCCITANE site in Manosque.

This year we had a record shea butter order: over 500 tons!


The shea butter used in the L’OCCITANE formulas is the perfect beauty balm for dry or dehydrated skin. It restores the hydrolipidic film, leaving skin softer, more supple and more comfortable.

Discover our "Shea Butter" skincare collection