Before I started making soap, I knew about lard and olive oil. I knew about lavender essential oil and cocoa butter. But I had never heard about shea butter. This was a couple of years before shea butter became "cool" and was suddenly a popular ingredient in many soaps and cosmetic products. The process that shea butter is harvested is almost as wonderful as the butter itself. Here's more information about shea butter, how it comes to us, and what qualities it imparts to soap.