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Mame Khary DIENE, general director of Bioessence, A frican winner of the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards 2008

A local laboratory promoting the finest African cosmetics and essential oils.

MAME DIENE, Karistal, Senegal

Mame Diene: “Bringing the magic of natural African cosmetics to the world” For generations, African women have been soothing and nourishing their skin with shea butter – a moisturising paste derived from the revered shea nut. Senegal has an abundance of shea trees, but lacks the infrastructure to capitalise on this so-called ‘African gold’. Mame Diene hopes to make a difference with her company, Karistal, which she founded in 2007 with her mother. Karistal produces and distributes cosmetic products made from shea butter and other local ingredients, such as mango butter and baobab oil, to Senegalese and international markets. “In Africa, people believe in the magical properties of the balms and lotions we put on our skin,” says Mame. “What Karistal tries to do is to take that magic and, using rigorous scientific methods, put it into our products.” Mame hopes to revive ancient African beauty practices, modernising them while preserving their organic character. In 2007, she launched the company’s first product line, Karistal – a range of “luxury” age-defying shea butter skin care products. The company sources its shea nuts from a women’s co-op in Kédougou, a region in south eastern Senegal. Mame is planning to build her own subsidiary in Kédougou to ensure the quality of her ingredients right from the source and create additional jobs for women.

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