The very first winter at Beekman farm was rough.  Literally. Having spent the last several years of our lives in the rarefied office environments of Manhattan, our skin was not used to facing the harsh elements. Because the relative humidity – moisture in the air – gets so low in the cold season, winter weather dries out our skin. Indoor heating also lowers humidity, depriving the skin of moisture. In the cold weather, many of us develop something commonly called “winter itch” or eczema – dry, itchy, flaky skin.

In addition to using the goat milk soap that would eventually make Beekman 1802 famous, we started working on other chemical-free products that could help protect and restore our skin. First came the Stick of Butter—a solid lotion stick made using goat milk that could travel right along with you, even on an airplane.  This was great for lips and routine use on the hands. But for those areas of the body REALLY prone to drying, like the elbows, knees, and heels, we wanted an effective spot treatment.

So was born the Tub of Butter which blended goat milk with the only thing we could think that would be more emollient – Shea butter. Shea butter is a slightly yellowish or ivory-colored fat extracted from the nut of the African Shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa). The Shea nut is used both for its fruit (which is eaten,) and its oil (which used in skin care products and also for cooking.) While we love Shea butter for it’s moisturizing properties in the winter, it’s also used by persons living in the Sahara Desert to keep from losing too much hydration in the hot dry winds.

 

Photo courtesy of TreeAid. http://www.treeaid.org.uk/

While Shea butter was widely used in Western cosmetics from the 1930’s – 1960’s, in the last part of the 20th century it was replaced in most beauty products by cocoa butter, which was cheaper to import. But Shea butter has some interesting natural SPF and anti-inflammatory properties that cocoa butter doesn’t, and has seen a resurgence in popularity recently. We’re often asked why we don’t produce traditional lotions. The answer is that any liquid lotion or soap requires chemical preservatives and stabilizers, which we prefer to avoid. Shea butter, however, has a naturally long shelf life.

Shea butter is also a vital part of some rural African economies, where it is harvested and processed by women. In fact, it’s sometimes referred to as “Womens’ Gold” since in some regions the harvesting and processing of Shea nuts is one of the only opportunities for income for African women. In fact, the Mali government produced the two videos below for its national television to help teach women how to harvest and process Shea nuts more efficiently and profitably.

 

 

 

Beekman 1802 is a beauty brand that has grown into something much more, but at our core is the desire to make beautiful things and sometimes the beautiful thing is you.

To see all Beekman 1802 Skin Care click here.

 

 

Comments11

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  • By: Lana Farrington

    I, too, am going to try your skin care products and get rid of my old, chemical-infused products. So do you recommend using your soaps for cleansing face and body (and maybe hair, too)? And using the tubs for moisturizing face and body? What about the need for a facial moisturizer with an SPF? I am a female used to using about a dozen different products (and that’s before I even start with makeup!).

    • By: Dr. Brent

      Hi. Yes. You can use the soaps for face, body and hair. We still recommend an SPF product

  • By: Suzanne Hard

    Thanks so much for this article. I am paying new attention to the ingredients in skin care products and this information is very helpful. Great also to learn a little about the international economic factors.

  • By: Sarah Martin Beekman

    Found the videos compelling, and oddly fascinating. Good Lord, wash the nuts, dry the nuts, wash the nuts, dry the nuts…a tremendous amount of work! Watched both from start to finish. (It’s a slow, cold night here in S’cary County, okay??) Now I must have a Tub of Butter, no doubt. PS Do you think Afu Sangare, of shea butter video fame, is related to the divine Omu Sangare?

  • By: Vitta Fernandez

    This butter is awesome! A friend of mine gifted me a tub. I sew A LOT and having very dry hands is no fun when you’re dealing with fabric, wire, beads, etc. This product is divine! Thank you.

  • By: Linda Schnell- Leonardi

    I bought your TUB OF BUTTER, when you introduced it. I needed something that was chemical free, as I like to keep my skin products as natural as possible. Your products fit the bill perfectly. I have a TUB OF BUTTER in my hand bag at all times, the convenient size also fits into my jeans pocket. You sell it in a selection of fragrances, which allowed me to have a choice, which is important, I love the spring and winter. I have bought it time and time again, and give it as gifts as well. Thanks Boys!

  • By: sue tolbert

    Tolbert Testimony: Beekman 1802 products have not turned me into some flaming beauty but I certainly have smooth as silk skin. I dare you to try the products and not me thrilled with the results. sue t.

  • By: Pam Landy

    Shea is wonderful stuff and supporting fair trade makes it even better!!

  • By: Abby

    Need it, want it…Wish I knew about this a month ago…

  • By: Toby Norma Lu Wilcox

    Wow Shea butter so labor intensive…. Imagine what they could do with a rake, even just one burner and a counter to work on. No wonder it is expensive. Very cool video

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