Sunday, February 8, 2009

Shea Butter

In yesterday's post, I discussed some of the things I like to do for my skin. One of them is Shea Butter.

Shea Butter comes from the shea tree, aka karite tree, Butyrospermum Paradoxum renamed Vitellaria Paradoxa (West African Shea tree), Vitellaria Nilotica (East African Shea tree). They extract the fat from the fruit of the tree by boiling and crushing the fruit(unrefined butter). It produces its fruit at 20 and is in its high point of production at 45 years old. This tree is found in Africa.

Benefits of Shea Butter:

  • Prevents the bumps that sometimes appear after shaving
  • Heals scars, burns, bruises and stretch marks
  • Evens out your skin tones and softens skin (great for dry skin)
  • Good for minor burns, cuts, eczema and/or psoriasis
  • Good for hair-eliminates scalp irritation from dryness or chemical processing, and it gives you shiny hair
  • Helps restore elasticity to skin
  • Strengthens cuticles and nails
  • Prevents skin irritations and is great for rashes
  • Firms the skin and help us fight against wrinkles!
  • Contains Vitamins A and E which help against skin damaged skin and preventing wrinkles and facial lines
  • Contains Vitamin F which softens and protects dry chapped skin
  • Is a fat that does not saponify. Fats that saponify become soap thus when there is unsaponifiables mixed with soaps it helps with moisturization, conditioning, keeping the vitamins in and textures. There are different levels where unrefined Shea Butter has a 6-17% unsaponifiable percentage level, which is a high percentage. Refined Shea Butter has a low percentage of 1% or less.
  • Absorbs into your skin quickly and easily without making your skin greasy or clogging pores

Unrefined/Raw vs Refined:
  • Unrefined/Raw Shea Butter- The Shea Butter is extracted without chemicals, through cold pressing and boiling(more info).
  • Refined Shea Butter- There are different processes which remove things or add substances that make it less effective than unrefined/raw Shea Butter. They may remove the scent, color or impurities(more info).
"Good" Shea Butter:

There are many products that contain Shea Butter in it. However there may be a minimum amount of Shea Butter or they added in chemicals that make it less effective so do research on the products before you buy them! The best to have is unrefined/raw Shea Butter which has a weirdish scent (but not horrible) and is yellow. The color may vary though...

Shelf Life:

Shea Butter has a low melting point, so store it in a cool place. Even if it does melt its still usable, just stick it in your refrigerator for a little while so it hardens again. Its good that is has a low melting point so your skin absorbs it quickly. It loses some of its properties after 2 years.

East vs West:

East African Shea Butter-It is higher in olein which makes it softer and more scented. It has a higher absorption rate because it has less saturated fatty acids. However it has less Vitamin A. More rare, thus it is about $40/2 oz.

West African Shea Butter- It is harder and has a milder scent. It has more Vitamin A, which is good in preventing stretch marks. It is less rare than East African Shea Butter.

Clicky For More Info On Shea Butters

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