Mama's Life Products Builds on Success with Centennial
Previously featured for his start-up success working with ACCEL, Ahmed Bawah’s company, Mama’s Life Products has continued to thrive. Focusing on providing his customers with the highest quality Shea Butter products, Bawah enlisted the help of researchers at ARIC to ensure the quality and safety targets of his products were being met, and exceeded.
Like most natural products, Shea Butter degrades with elevated temperatures, and exposure to light and oxygen. However, degradation products can be found in freshly extracted Shea Butter due to the various extraction and storage methods that are used. With degradation comes the production of hydrogen peroxide, which can be harmful to the skin.
Partnering with ARIC, Mama’s Life Products worked with a group of Centennial students led by Professor Andrew Baer to launch an investigation into liquefying Shea Butter and protecting it from degradation. In a few short months the team was able to investigate and explore three main areas: first, how to create a liquid Shea Butter base and use it to produce a commercially viable cosmetic product. Second, they examined the physical properties and chemical composition of Mama’s Life Products Shea Butter, which determined its susceptibility to various degradation pathways. Finally, they tested the effectiveness of various natural antioxidants in improving the oxidative stability of the Shea Butter used in Mama’s Life Products.
For Lindsay Porter, one of the student researchers, it was an exciting learning opportunity. “I learned how to work on equipment that I had never used before that I now know how to use for my future career!”
Applied research projects not only provide new learning experiences, but can also boost a student’s confidence in their chosen career path, as Rochette Sinclair, student researcher says. “This project has enhanced my laboratory skills and allowed me to learn more about Shea Butter cosmetics, which has boosted my confidence for a future career in cosmetics.”
The investigation was invaluable to the future of Mama’s Life Products and built on the previous success of an applied research project focusing on Shea Butter and essential oils. “Mama’s Life Products has obtained valuable data that will serve as a catalyst to sparking new product innovations to bring to the marketplace.” Ahmed Bawah says. “Through the applied research project, Mama’s Life Products has explored areas of interest that without the leverage obtained by applied research would not have been possible.”