In a world where the natural hair movement is growing rapidly, Ncomeka Mpofu saw a gap in the shortage of natural hair products and decided to fill it. 

She talks to us about her shea butter.

When did your love for hair start?

Since there has never been a moment when I did not love my hair, let’s just say since my ‘sandbox’ days.

When and why did you decide to start your own shea butter?

The original idea was not mine, I just happened to hijack it, unintentionally. The owner of Zynab Products, a small skin and hair company based in Bethlehem, South Africa, was the one who approach me about introducing Shea Butter to the South African market. Umera Jamaican Black Castor Oil, which I gave him a hard time over as it was mostly available in the CBDs, was the reason he was aware of me as a blogger and a naturalista. The viability was his concern while I was ridiculously enthusiastic about idea. After a lot of back and forth he was on board and immediately decided that the branding as well as launching of this product was going to be my baby. I guess I was too vocal whenever he consulted me about his products and now I was being given an opportunity to step-up to the plate, which is how I found myself with Shea Butter on my hands, literally.

Please take us through the process, from the minute you thought about it to the finished product. What was involved?

The shipping of the raw Ghananian Shea Butter was that of the Zynab Products. My involvement was on production, packaging and branding. My main concerns were packaging the product in such a manner that it was ready for use, while retaining its wholesome goodness; so we could cater for the mixtress natural as well as the naturalista’s that prefers the convenience as opposed to mixing hair potions and concoctions, but is still passionate about using nature-based products. The creativity behind the designing and the sourcing of the labels and containers was the easy and fun part of the whole process. All and all it was an eye opening experience made easy and realised with the support of Zynab Products.

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Please tell us more about your Shea Butter. From how you came up with the name to what it can do for my hair?

So far we are launching with two products, Pure & Unrefined Shea Butter, which is just that, pure and suitable for all hair and skin types. It is wholesome as nature intended, can be used as is, mixed with other oils and butters or used as carrier to essential oils.

Our Umera Shea Butter Whipped Body Cream is made with unrefined Shea butter infused with Vitamin E, Lavender and Rosehip essential oil. All these essential oils are known for their restoring and nourishing properties that work well on both skin and hair. The prince in their mist being the hard to source and incredibly costly Rosehip essential oil, which is what gives our whipped body cream its rich golden colour, while the Lavender gives this product a lovely scent that’s soothing to the senses.

Since the Umera Jamaican Black Castor Oil was already making its name in Southern Africa as an earnest natural hair brand, adding the new Shea Butter range under the Umera brand, in terms of brand continuity, made logical sense and that is what we went with.

Uses of our pure Shea Butter range from scalp treatment, heat protectant, moisturising oil to nourish, soften, seal-in moisture and protect hair from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

What makes yours different from the rest?

Umera Shea Butter is a proudly African product, harvested in Ghana and packaged in South Africa. Our Shea Butter is ethically sourced from co-operatives that are in partnerships with community development programs aimed at uplifting and empowering women. We hope that this does not set us apart, but keep us in a large pool of companies that feel passionate about using African resources to create jobs in Africa for Africans.

Where and how can people get it?

We have a budding online store www.zynab.co.za and our Shea Butter range will soon be available there. The 250 grams of Pure & Unrefined Shea Butter will cost R150 and the Umera Shea Butter Whipped Body Cream will be R 180, sizeable and yet reasonable priced.

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