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A better Shea butter


Just Shea's three main products—for face, hands, and feet. A Shea butter lip balm (not pictured) rounds out the line.

Shea butter does wonders for our skin, but it turns out that harvesting the nutrient-rich nuts from the Shea tree is seriously dangerous.

Without proper protection, the Ghanian women who collect the nuts are at high-risk for deadly snake bites.

A new Tribeca-based skincare line, Just Shea, aims to fix that.

So while you get to moisturize your feet, hands, and face, the proceeds protect the same areas for the Ghanian women by providing them with boots, gloves, and hats to ward off snakes, explains Wickham Boyle, Just Shea’s Vice President.

Profits are also used to help the women secure fair wages. Just Shea has already purchased land to house a silo, where the women will be able to store shea nuts until they can transport them to market, rather than settling for the low prices buyers offer them as street vendors.

To keep costs low, Boyle and the company’s founder Danielle Grace Warren secured a volunteer chemist on Long Island to formulate the products (which contain only natural ingredients), and designers from Todd Oldham created the label artwork for free.

Boyle has been transporting the jars to the office of the distributor on her bicycle, but only after she recruited friends to come to her Tribeca loft to stick the labels on. “I didn’t let anyone have Prosecco until all of the jars were labeled,” she laughed.

Although the products are somewhat of an investment (the 3-jar set is $148, single jars retail for $75), the company turns over 100% of the profits to the women in Ghana.

Just Shea’s products can be purchased online at AHAlife or at Cristina Dos Santos, 39 N. Moore Street, Tribeca.