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Expert Interview Series: Funlayo Alabi with Shea Radiance

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Have you ever struggled with dry skin, dry hair, sore muscles, or poor circulation?

Chances are, you've experienced at least one of those issues. But did you know you could solve those problems simply with all-natural products?

Furthermore, did you know you could take advantage of those solutions and financially empower communities of hardworking women all at the same time?

It's not too good to be true, according to Funlayo Alabi, CEO of Shea Radiance. Biconi recently spoke with Funlayo about the healing powers of the shea fruit.

In what ways can shea butter benefit fans of all-natural products?

Shea butter is a rich emollient extracted from the nuts of the African shea fruit. It has been used for centuries in Africa as a healing and beauty balm.

1. Circulation: Newborn babies are massaged with shea butter immediately after birth to help with circulation and to protect their delicate skin. Natural shea butter that has not been refined or stripped is rich in naturally-occurring sterols and bioactives that have immense benefits.

2. Moisturizing: Shea butter is also great for dry, cracked, and calloused feet or hands.

3. Inflammation/Burns: It has analgesic properties that help to reduce inflammation, as well as to treat small cuts and burns.

4. Soreness: Natural sterols make it a great muscle rub.

5. Conditioner: Pure shea butter can be used to provide deep penetrating moisture to the hair shaft, and can thus be used as a pre-shampoo conditioner.

Most importantly, it's just an amazing overall hair and body moisturizer.

How is this product different from lotions and other products that claim similar results?

Shea butter can be used in its natural state as a balm for hair and body, and it can also be incorporated with other ingredients to make lotions or creams. It is important to note that lotions that claim to be shea butter lotions actually have an insignificant amount of shea in them. Many shea butter lotions on the market use less than 1% of shea butter in their products. For the best results, a shea butter lotion or cream should have no less than 5% of shea in the formula. The most effective shea creams and lotions will have upwards of 20% of shea.

Why do you refer to Shea Butter as "Women's Gold?"

In West Africa, Shea butter is referred to as Women's Gold because the proceeds from gathering the nuts and processing them into butter yield the women an income that they use to feed, clothe, and educate their children. They also use this money to supplement the family income in other ways; but most importantly, this is income women get to keep and use at their own discretion. Women feel empowered when they can make an income from their own businesses.

How did you come upon this product, and what background can you give us on its creation and uses?

We rediscovered shea butter when we were looking for a natural and effective solution for both our boys' dry and eczema-prone skin. We started making our own balms and creams using shea butter as the key ingredient because we grew up in West Africa and were familiar with its amazing healing powers.

We have now harnessed these powers and created products that not only solve the problems of dry skin, but promote beautiful, glowing hair and skin. Shea butter has amazing collagen-boosting properties that make it the perfect anti-aging ingredient. We keep finding new and innovative ways to incorporate this amazing ingredient into products. We source shea butter directly from women-run cooperatives. The business we do economically empowers women to take care of their families and communities.

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