Shea Butter Basics
Shea Butter is a skin superfood that comes from the seeds of the fruit of the Shea (Karite) tree and that is naturally rich in vitamins A, E and F. It offers UV protection (it is SPF ~6) and provides the skin with essential fatty acids and the nutrients necessary for collagen production. Shea butter has been used in Africa and other countries for years to improve skin and hair.
Butyrospermum parkii, B. paradoxa grows in and is produced in various countries in West Africa, and Vitellaria paradoxa grows in East Africa and is produced in Northern Uganda and Southern Sudan.
Shea butter from East Africa has a sweeter scent, is softer, creamier and is easier to apply than shea butter from Western Africa. Shea butter from East Africa also contains slightly higher therapeutic properties than shea butter from West Africa.
Shea butter’s therapeutic properties and shea butter benefits range from ultraviolet light protection, anti-inflammatory, moisturizing, regenerative, anti-eczema, and anti-wrinkle properties. These benefits can be described by two fractions. One is the bioactive fraction and the other is the moisturizing fraction. The bioactive fraction also called the healing fraction consists of the vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin F, cinnamates, plant sterols, and other phytonutrients.
The bioactive fraction in shea butter ranges from 3% to 17% and 10% being the percentage normally found in good unrefined shea butter. This is in contrast to the 1% found in other nut oils.
The moisturizing fraction, also called the saponifiable fraction, gets it moisturizing properties from shea butter’s fatty acids.
21 Benefits of Shea Butter
- By itself for face and body as a natural moisturizer
- In a shea butter lotion bar stick for easy use
- Alone or in a pregnancy stretch mark salve to ward off stretch marks
- As the best under-eye wrinkle remover and bag-reducer
- For massage butter
- In velvety soft whipped body butter
- or basic homemade lotion
- As a base for homemade deodorant
- As an SPF 6 skin lotion
- In magnesium body butter
- As a natural baby-care product (alone) or ingredient in baby care recipes
- By itself on the lips or in homemade lip balms
- Or homemade shimmer lip balm
- To improve skin elasticity (some even say it helps with cellulite)
- On the hair or scalp (in mixture with other natural ingredients)
- In homemade liquid creme foundation and makeup
- After sun or beach exposure to replenish skin
- On the eyelids before applying makeup to make it last longer
- As a natural cuticle cream
- On scars to naturally help collagen production
- On sore/raw noses during a cold or flu