I know many of you know Coconut oil and may have tried it at one stage or the other. While coconut oil is easily accessible and can be bought over the shelf even in your local stores, it is possible that you are buying one that is not raw or processed. Another all natural product that is not only good for your skin but for hair, lips and body is Shea Butter. In this post, I will be sharing all you need to know about the Shea Butter with you.
Properties of Shea Butter
Shea butter is very thick and solidifies at room temperature. It is buttery rich in texture and consistent which makes it ideal for use as a body butter or body cream, a natural eye cream and lip balm. Research shows that Shea Butter penetrates easily into the skin and as a result is a good emollient because of the high amount of fat it contains which is a total of 60%.
Shea butter is not only good as a moisturiser but because of its special properties, it is a good source of anti-inflammatory and anti-ageing component on the skin. I know when I hurt my knee many years ago, to reduce the swelling, mum used shea butter on it.
Shea butter is a fat extracted from the nut of the African shea tree. It is usually almost yellow in colour when raw – the unrefined one. The refined, and ultra-refined shea butter is usually ivory or white in colour.
Shea Butter is naturally rich in Vitamin a, E and F. It provides UV protection (SPF) and provides the skin with essential fatty acids and the nutrients necessary for collagen production. Collagen by the way enables elasticity and youthful on the skin.
Shea Butter has been used traditionally in many African countries to improve hair growth and texture and the skin as well for years. It is mostly produced in the western parts of Nigeria in states like Osun and Kogi.
Shea Butter on it’s own is good for growing your hair, softening your hair and it is good for the treatment of skin diseases like eczema, rashes skin irritation like sun burn and discolouration. Shea Butter also helps you to prevent or treat itchiness of the scalp and dandruff.
While some have proven that Shea butter is edible, because of the amount of fat in it, it is proven to interfere with the ingestion of other proteins so I would highly recommend to use it externally for hair and skin.
Advantages of Shea Butter
The most obvious use of shea butter is that it is extremely good for the skin. Shea butter has a high concentration of natural vitamins and fatty acids and this makes it incredibly nourishing and moisturising for skin. It is often used to remedy dry skin and to help protect the skin’s natural oils. It is a good emollient and would prevent dryness of the skin of all kinds.
Redness & Inflammation
When I was younger, I broke my knee and to help me reduce the swelling, mum used shea butter repeatedly on it. I have also repeated this on the same knee each time I felt any swelling on that spot. A recent study (2010 precisely) found that due to its cinnamic acid and other natural properties, shea butter is an anti-inflammatory. One compound in particular, lupeol cinnamate, was found to reduce skin inflammation and even potentially help avoid skin mutations. This also makes it beneficial for some people with acne.
Although shea butter is very good for locking in moisture into the skin, it can be really oily because of the high concentration of fat in it at 60%. So, when using shea butter on your skin with make up, it is best to use it in low concentration or on the other hand, it is best to use it in high concentration when going to bed at night and then wash off in the morning.
For redness of the skin, if you ever get burnt in the sun or suffer redness because of exposure to direct sunlight, shea butter would relief the redness and soothe any pain that may come with it.
Always wear sunprotection factor when exposing your skin to direct sunlight.
Check HERE for Why It Is Important to Wear Sunscreen (SPF) Always
Many have proven that shea butter after consistent use have naturally evenly toned their skin. Not only that, shea butter aids in the skin’s natural collagen production and contains oleic, stearic, palmitic, and linolenic acids that protect and nourish the skin to prevent drying. With long-term use, many people report skin softening and strengthening as well as wrinkle reduction.
Different Ways to Use Shea Butter
Shea butter is very versatile and can be used as a natural beauty ingredient. I currently personally use shea butter on my natural hair and I also shared a video on how I prepare the one I use for my hair. Please see the video below…..
1. Shea butter can be used for face and body as a moisturiser.
2. It can be used after exposure to sunlight as it helps cool the skin and replenish it with moisture
3. It can be used to help the skin stretch easily when pregnant and some women says it helps with stretch marks.
4. Just like the shea butter is good on the skin, it is also good on the nails as a cuticle cream.
5. It can be used to remove under eye circle and help reduce puffiness or under eye bag.
6. It helps with collagen production
7. It can be used to prevent dryness of the skin on new born and toddlers who may be prone to dry skin
8. It can be used on the lips to treat dryness of the lips
9. It helps improve the elasticity of the skin and boost the youthfulness of the skin
10. It is very good for softening natural hair and it helps with growth and reduce falling out which is used by dryness in natural hair.
In my next video which should publish on Saturday 21/07, I shared how I used shea butter on my natural hair. Naturally the shea butter solidifies when the weather is not warm. To warm the shea butter up, your palm does the magic. Rub it in your palm till it melts and you are good to use it.
How I Prepare the Shea Butter Mix For My Natural Hair + More Advantages of Shea Butter
The Best Shea Butter to Buy
I started out this blog by saying coconut oil can be bought in almost all stores. While they are easily available or accessible, not all of them are good because they have been processed with chemicals. This was why I researched shea butter and moved on to it.
The best shea butter to buy is the raw, unrefined, Grade A shea butter. There are many refined ones that are odour free and bleached to be completely white, but the refining process removes some of the beneficial properties.
While a lot of people think that the real shea butter has a lot of odour, I can tell you that the shea butter does not smell like flowers or powder but the smell is not offensive. So, I would recommend that you stick with the unprocessed or unrefined ones which is usually almost yellow in colour, as seen in the picture above or in the video.
So the best shea butter to buy should be raw or unrefined, unbleached, organic (all natural) and one that can be classified as Grade A
How to Store and Preserve Your Shea Butter
As mentioned in the video, I store the shea butter I am not currently using in the freezer to preserve its shelf life. It is advisable to keep your shea butter out of direct light or heat. I keep the jar I am currently using on my bathroom counter and I reach for it anytime I need it.
To be sure that your shea butter lasts for as long as possible, it is best to but the organic one as mentioned above. Many say shea butter has a life span of 2years or 24 months. If you are not using it, keep in the freezer, this would make it last longer.
I sincerely hope you find this post helpful. Do share it with your friends and family, they would find it helpful too. Now, have you ever used the shea butter? How was the experience for you. Please share in the comments below.
Thanks for reading.
Much Love, Mojisola