Shea butter

In my previous post here I shared a recipe for a nourishing, whipped body butter.

The main ingredient in this recipe is SHEA BUTTER. I have been using shea butter for a while now. Actually, this was one of the very first natural ingredients I bought when I was beginning my natural cosmetics adventure. I know some things about it but today I will look at it in more detail.

I’m one of those people who pays attention to what I buy. Now even more so, I read the ingredients on products I don’t even intend to buy just out of curiosity. Especially if something claims to be natural or contain natural ingredients. If you’re like me, surely you’ve noticed that most of those cosmetics do have a certain natural ingredient in their formula, unfortunately it is usually at the very end of the list which means there is very little of it in there. However, I have also noticed that shea butter is quite often used in products which are otherwise packed with chemicals. Probably that’s better than just chemicals but I do encourage you to always read the ingredients of what you buy. Doesn’t matter if these are cosmetics or food or whatever else it might be.

So…Shea butter. Where does it come from? What are the benefits and uses?

  1. ORIGINS

Shea butter (known as Karite) is pressed form nuts of the Shea tree (Butyrospermum Parkii) that grows in West Africa, in the Sahel region. Shea tree bears its first fruit at about the age of 20 years and reaches its peak production at the age of 40-50 years. It has been used in skincare for thousands of years, going back as far as Cleopatra’s Egypt. Its colour ranges from yellowish to ivory.

Today some of the Shea butter comes from Burkina Faso. It is nicknamed “Women’s Gold” because it is owned by women and the profits they make is the main source of their income.

2.BENEFITS

Shea butter is used for its moisturising properties, especially for dry skin. It also improves skin elasticity. Shea butter contains natural SPF (Sun Protection Factor). It isn’t high (approximately SPF 6) but shea butter has been used in Africa for centuries to protect the skin from the sun. It is also protective and healing, reduces blemishes and scarring, including stretch marks. It soothes the skin and has anti-aging properties. Shea butter also contains vitamins E, F and pro-vitamin A. Shea butter easily penetrates the skin without leaving a greasy residue or clogging the pores.

3. USES

Shea butter is used in  skincare for dry and damaged skin. It is also used in hair products designed for damaged and dry hair. It can stimulate hair growth and lightly relaxes curls. It is commonly used in body butters, creams and lotions, hand creams, face products and hair conditioners and masks. It is also useful in cases of acne, eczema and dermatitis.

SOURCES

To collate the above information I used the following articles/ websites:

https://www.aromantic.co.uk/home/products/butters-fats-waxes/shea-butter,-filtered-(organic).aspx

http://www.naturallythinking.com/shea-butter.html

http://sheabutter.com/shea-butter-history

http://www.sheabutter.net/hiofshbu.html

I do NOT receive any incentives from the above companies. I do however use the first two to buy the most of the ingredients I use.

Now we know a bit more about it let’s just enjoy incorporating it into the DIY formulas, shall we? It is really worth it. I’m nearly through the pot of the whipped body butter I made and shared in the previous post and my skin feels so soft, including the usual problem areas such as knees and elbows. Next weekend I will be making ¬†another body concoction just haven’t yet got an idea what exactly. Maybe it’s time to try something new?