Exhibitor Q&A series: Just Shea

May 28, 2024

Just Shea is telling the story of Africa, one product at a time.

Written by Adama Kamara – CEO & Founder

Established in 2o22, Just Shea is inspired by African ingredients and products that have been used for generations. The brand aims to bring a modern twist to age old products such as Shea Butter, found in Africa. Just Shea is telling the story of Africa, one product at a time.

Just Shea is an award winning skin care brand that is inspired by Africa. Each product showcases the diverse cultures of Africa, its unique ingredients and beauty secrets. Formulated and manufactured in Australia, Just Shea products are plant-based, vegan, cruelty-free  and suitable for all skin types and tones.

History of Just Shea

My family was looking for a solution to heal my nephew’s eczema. We had tried everything, from over the counter creams to dermatologist prescribed ointments. Nothing seemed to work. On a family trip to Sierra Leone, we rediscovered shea butter – a natural moisturiser made from the nut of the shea tree which grows in east and west Africa.

Like most people, I had a lot of time during the COVID19 lockdowns. I became obsessed with shea butter and formulated the first product – Shea Body Balm by experimenting with other natural oils from Africa that are suitable for sensitive skin. My family and friends were very willing to test the initial formulations. The word spread about the Shea Body Balm and people were willing to pay for it.

So really, Just Shea was an accident!

Just Shea is a passion project that allows me to share stories of the people, traditions, beauty practices and cultures of Africa. In the next couple of years, I hope to have an expanded range of products, share more stories, introduce new ingredients and beauty secrets with a growing customer base.

Product highlights

Shea Body Balm: Crafted from the purest, ethically sourced shea butter and enriched with a blend of natural, nourishing ingredients, it offers a sumptuous and hydrating treatment that caters to a diverse range of skin needs.

The Shea Body Balm is formulated with Shea Butter and premium African oils. This balm is a tribute to the ancient wisdom of African skincare, harnessing the extraordinary properties of shea butter to promote healthy, radiant skin for all. It is available in 50ml Shea Body Balm  – $28, 150ml Shea Body Balm – $48.

Sustainable and ethical considerations 

Just Shea’s products were formulated by our founder and an experienced chemist with specialist expertise in natural skincare. Our products are manufactured in Australia in a facility that meets good manufacturing practice standards and stringent quality assurance procedures. Ingredients are sourced from across Africa and Australia.

  • Just Shea’s products are manufactured in Australia and are alcohol free, vegan, cruelty free, fragrance free, paraben free. All ingredients are natural, naturally derived and plant based.
  • Products are made using natural and naturally derived ingredients.
  • Shea Butter – sustainably and ethically sourced from women cooperatives in Ghana. Women are paid a fair price.
  • Contract manufacturer oversees the whole supply chain, conducting audits on employment practices to ensure all employees are paid a fair wage and no child labour is used, tracking ingredients to ensure claims are valid and from ethical sources

Global importance in the natural retail and beauty industry

The formulations are suitable for all skin types and skin tones.

Shea Butter is the hero ingredient in the Shea Body Balm and all Just Shea products. Shea Butter has social and economic significance for women in rural sub saharan Africa. It provides a vital income source for women, who work in groups to harvest the nuts and produce the rich creamy butter. The labour intensive production process has been maintained for generations and is an invaluable income source that contributes to women’s economic independence. Our Shea Butter is sourced from a supplier that pays a fair

As a female founder, it’s important to me that I support other female entrepreneurs and producers. Women are the backbone of families and their income can make a huge difference in the overall wellbeing of their families.

Supply, demand and growth in the beauty industry

There is a growing interest in beauty and skin care products made of ingredients from the African continent. The well known Shea Butter continues to be a staple ingredient in many beuaty and skin care products due to its emollient properties. Further, growing demand by consumers for products that meet the needs of all skin tones, increased inclusivity and diversity in product offering has contributed to a growing interest in African beauty practices and traditional ingredients. In addition, there continues to be rapid growth in demand for natural products.

Unique business angle

Just Shea aims to showcase African culture, history and traditions in its products. Africa is such a diverse continent, rich in culture and history but sadly the popularised narrative doesnt reflect this. I am aware that very little is known about African beauty practices and ingredients. With each product, I want people to learn about the ingredients that are unique to the continent, their benefits to the skin and how they were used traditionally. To share another perspective on beauty standards – we are a multicultural country after all!

Shea Butter is a powerhouse ingredient and is used in a lot of skin care products – but in lower proportions. I wanted to create a brand that pays homage to my heritage. One that has  ‘use’ hero ingredients that are unique to the African continent.

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