Shea butter is made from natural oils of the shea tree that has become very popular and widely used in cosmetics. Products containing shea butter can be found in every drugstore or beauty product shop and they have been proven useful for many purposes.
About shea butter
Shea butter is not really a butter, it is a natural yellowish or ivory-colored oil obtained through extraction from the shea tree, which grows in Africa. In cosmetic industry, this oil is used for lotions, salves and creams.
Shea oil is edible and it can be used instead of cocoa butter. It also has many other culinary purposes.
Unrefined shea butter is obtained through a series of steps, which include separating and cracking the fruit to reach the inner nut, crushing, roasting, grinding and separating the oils.
Shea butter is a complex fat that contains oleic acid, stearic acid, linoleic acid, palmitic acid and arachidic acid. It can be solid or semi-solid but it is easily absorbed into the skin as it reaches body temperature.
Shea butter products
Shea butter can be used alone but it is more often used as an ingredient in cosmetic products, especially body lotions and moisturizers. At room temperature shea butter is solid, but it turns liquid when in contact with the skin, and it is absorbed very well into deep skin layers.
It has a pleasant, slightly nutty smell and its color is usually yellow or grayish-white.
Shea butter is one of the best natural moisturizers. It can be used on normal skin but it is particularly recommended for dry, itchy and flaky skin, where it provides excellent relief.
It can also be used to moisturize the scalp, prevent its flaking and nourish it, and it provides a nice, healthy shine to the hair.
Shea butter is particularly recommended as a sunscreen and as a remedy against skin peeling and flaking after tanning. It can be used on small wounds, on eczema, even against acne and other skin blemishes. It prevents and reduces wrinkles and it is particularly effective against stretch marks during pregnancy.
The market today offers a wide variety of shea butter products. Many cosmetic products designed for dry skin or brittle, dry hair list shea butter as their active ingredient. It can be found in the form of solid or liquid soaps, moisturizers, hand, body and feet lotions, body washes, massage oils, shampoos and hair conditioners.
Shea butter has a characteristic smell, which is removed through the process of refinement. Refined or processed shea butter is still good, but it has much less beneficial properties than the natural one.