Shea Butter has something to offer everyone, whether you’re looking for soft, radiant youthful skin or looking for ways to keep your hair shiny, healthy and in better condition – it can do all that and more for you.
This plant-based organic fatty oil is not only used as an essential ingredient in skincare products, it also serves as food as well as a healing balm. So it’s really worth looking into what this amazing oil is and how you can benefit from it.
We’ve compiled this article to help you. We discussed everything from its origin, the various benefits and even how to find, use and store it the right way.
Before we kick-off, we need to understand what a shea butter is.
So what is Shea Butter?
Shea Butter is fatty oil that’s extracted from fruits of the Shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa). It is solid at room temperature but melts easily when rubbed on the body to give a radiant look.
It contains lots of organic acids that are beneficial to the skin. Examples are the Linoleic acid, oleic acid, stearic acid, linoleic acid, etc.
These acids are all organic and get easily absorbed into the skin, hence making them great remedy in treating dry and scaffing skin.
Now that you know what a Shea Butter is, you’d want to also know where it originated from.
So where does Shea butter come from?
This wonderful butter has been around for a long time, longer than anyone could remember.
Cleopatra was even reputed to have used some of this wonderful oil as part of her skincare routine; so you see, even the ancient Egyptians know about its beneficial properties.
Today it is mainly produced in West Africa, particularly in Nigeria – the largest global producer, Ghana, Burkina Faso, etc.
Women in these regions pick fruits from the Shea tree; the fruits are then crushed, boiled and manipulated through other complex manual means to extract oil which is later sieved to give Shea Butter.
There are also many industries today relying on Shea Butter as a vital raw material in their production process.
TYPES OF SHEA BUTTER
Raw vs. refined Shea Butter
Shea Butter may be raw or refined which means the Raw Shea Butter is processed manually and hasn’t undergone any chemical processing and as such retains all of its vitamins, organic acids, minerals and other nutrients.
If you’re looking for more benefits from your Shea Butter, then you should go for the unrefined type.
On the downside though, raw Shea Butter often come with an unpleasant earthy smell and contain impurities that may impact on the colour.
Refined Shea Butter however, is industrially processed Shea Butter. This type of butter has been bleached through chemical processes to make them whiter and ‘purer’.
Preservatives are also added to increase the shelf life of refined Shea Butter as such they last longer than raw Shea Butter.
If you’re worried about the unpleasant smell of Shea butter; then’ you have to consider purchasing a refined, packaged Shea with fragrance added.
The whiter dirt-free colour, pleasant smell and longer shelf life of refined Shea Butter all come at a price – the loss of some of its nutrients. As we said earlier, the refining process involves bleaching which removes most of the minerals and helpful elements found in the Shea.
However, to compensate for this loss, additives, fragrances are added to the product.
Overall, raw Shea Butter is best for you since the nutrients have not been tampered with. But that’s if you can stand its unpleasant smell. If you’re not a fan of the smoky smell or unpleasant yellowish colour of raw Shea Butter, you can go for the refined Shea Butter, but note that by doing so, you’re sacrificing some important benefits.
Nutritional facts of Shea butter
Shea Butter is chockfull with active nutrients and elements that play an essential role in maintaining a youthful, healthy skin, used in treating certain skin conditions, and in ensuring glossy strong hair.
In this section, we’ll take a look at all the nutritional contents of Shea butter.
Fatty acids: It contains lots of important fatty acids; prominent amongst these are palmitic, stearic, oleic, linoleic, and arachidonic acids.
These nutrients help keep the skin moisturized and help fight against the skin drying out.
Vitamins: It contains vitamins A; E and F. Vitamin A and F are important for treatment of various skin problems such as eczema, dermatitis and can even help to slow down aging. Vitamin A is also important for the production of Rhodopsin which is important for sight.
Aside from these, Shea Butter also contains important antioxidants like Phenolic and other nutrients like phytosterols, provitamin A, and allantoin, all beneficial to the health.
BENEFITS OF USING SHEA BUTTER FOR SKIN CARE
Shea Butter comes with lots of benefits for your skin. Incorporating it into your skin care products can make all the difference you’ve always wanted.
Some of these benefits include:
Shea Butter is an excellent moisturizer. The fat melts easily when applied on the skin to form a filmy layer which traps more moisture in the skin.
Unlike other moisturizing oil, Shea Butter does not give oily shine to your body it is also not sticky.
Acne and blemish treatment
Shea Butter is known for its ability to combat skin problems like acne and rashes. This has often been attributed to the high content of fatty acids found in it.
To get a better result, it is best you use it raw. This is because unrefined ones still contain all the nutrients needed to heal your skin after an acne break out.
Shea Butter has excellent anti-aging properties. It stimulates the production of collagen which helps to keep the skin fresh and youthful. It also contains vitamins E which help to increase the skin elasticity and help keep wrinkles at bay.
Prevents Stretch marks
Stretch mark often occurs during pregnancy which is as a result of the excessive stretching of the skin beyond its elasticity point. Shea Butter helps improve the skin elasticity; hence, ensures that the skin is able to stretch more without going beyond its elastic limits.
It literally, gives the belle skin a staying power to withstand the growing pressure from the fetus developing in the stomach.
Also, after birth it speeds up the recovery of the skin cells; hence, healing and returning the stomach to its state post-partum.
BENEFITS OF USING SHEA BUTTER FOR HAIR TREATMENT
Repairs damaged hairs
Hair products like relaxers, perms and straighteners often damage the hair due to excessive removal of moisture. This makes the hair brittle and dull.
Shea Butter can help repair the hair again as it traps moisture in the hair and gives it a radiant shine.
Soothes itchy and dry scalps
Shea Butter contains lots of fatty acids. These fatty acids possess anti-inflammatory properties for soothing itchy, dry scalps or itching from dandruff.
Prevents hair loss
Shea Butter conditions hair scalps. It moisturizes the scalp and helps strengthen hair follicles which in turn prevents hair losses.
Treats Split Ends and Breakage
The Shea Butter’s moisturizing and regenerative effects on the scalp help to treat and prevent hair breakage; also Shea Butter is rich in vitamins A and E which are found in most hair care products and are important for hair treating hair breakage.
Other health benefits of using Shea butter
Shea Butter is an excellent lip care oil; when applied, it forms a filmy glossy layer on your lips. This filmy layer helps to retain the moisture on the skin as well as help to prevent cracks from forming during hot dry weather.
Reduce Razor Irritation and Bumps
After-shave irritation and bumps can easily be soothed with Shea Butter. You can apply Shea Butter lightly before shaving as it makes it easier and prevent post-shave irritation.
Shea Butter provides relief to pain and swelling in the joints caused by rheumatism. To soothe pain, simply massage Shea Butter on the painful spot.
It has been demonstrated that severe joints pain caused by Arthritis can be soothed with Shea Butter, though the exact process or chemical responsible for this soothing treatment is still unclear.
How to select the best Shea butter
There are lots of Shea Butter products in the market hence making it a lot trickier to select the best product for your skin type.
So, to make it easier for you to sieve through the myriad of products on the market, here are proven tips to guide you.
- Look for a raw Shea Butter. Ask specifically for the raw version.
- Check the butter’s smell. It should have an earthy or smoky smell. If it is scented or does not smell at all, it has been refined.
- You can smear a little on your hand. It should be soothing and moisturizing.
- Refined butter is whiter. Unrefined ones are often yellowish.
Shea butter storage tips
Raw Shea butter on the average has a 2 year lifetime if stored properly.
The best place to store your Shea Butter is a cool dry place. Keep it away from direct sunlight and any source of heat. You can add vitamin E to prolong its shelf life.
Shea Butter does get spoilt hence, if you notice any rancid smell or even a change in its smell, you should consider getting rid of it.
Where to buy Shea butter
You can get Shea Butter from your local grocery store or market or give us a call since we sell and deliver to any location in the country.
However, it’s essential you request for an unrefined Shea – that is if you want an organic whole Shea that hasn’t been tampered with.
There are also several online stores that retail Shea butter, we also stock and sell our whole organic Shea butter online. Visit our store, to place your order now.
Bear in mind that you may have to do some digging around before you find authentic organic unrefined Shea butter suppliers. But, you can just get in touch with us to discuss your unrefined Shea bulk order needs.
In summary, we’ve walked you through what a Shea butter is, where it originated from, its health benefits and uses. Also, we’ve touched on how to identify best Shea butter, store them, and where to buy it.
We hope that this guide will help you utilize this skin super-food to maintain a healthy glowing skin, strong hair and to treat skin conditions.
You can also read this as a Presentation.