Shea Butter is a solid buttery oil extracted from fruits of Shea-karite tree. It grows in wild in African tropical savannahs where insufficient rains occur. The tree bears fruits, the nuts of which are crushed and boiled to extract Shea Butter. It is a light coloured solid. It is edible and used in food. It has also gained popularity as a beauty product and cosmetic additive.
Properties of shea butter
Shea Butter is rich in fatty acids, phenolic compounds and vitamins. It is mainly constituted of oleic acid and stearic acid. Its rich components impart great virtues which makes shea butter a superfood.It melts at body temperature. It gets absorbed in skin without leaving any residue or clogging pores.It is unsaponifiable, unlike other oils or fats, which makes it incredibly beneficial for skin and hair.Quality of shea butter depends on the method of extraction. Shea butter which is extracted manually or mechanically retains its minerals and vitamins. It is therefore beneficial for health. On the other hand, shea butter extracted by using chemical methods loses most of its good properties.Some of the benefits of shea butter for skin and hair are as follows:
- It is anti inflammatory and anti-oxidant. These properties make it a good remedy for itchy skin and scalp. It can cure dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis and rashes. It can also heal minor cuts and burns, insect bites and contact dermatitis caused due to poisonous plants.
- It is a deep moisturizer that nourishes skin and hair. It can cure chapped lips and cracked
- heels effectively.
- It stimulates collagen formation. Thus it helps in regenerating and maintaining a youthful skin. It soothes dry skin and makes it soft, supple and strong. It also cures skin cracks, sunburn, marks, scars, spots, blemishes, under-eye bags and wrinkles to result in an even toned, glowing skin. Thus shea butter is a favourite ingredient of anti-aging recipes and skin creams.
- Shea butter reduces acne and prevents occurrence of bumps after shaving.
- It acts as a natural sunscreen for skin and hair.
- Its gentle nature makes it ideal for babies’ skin. It is used in diaper rash creams.
- Its moisturizing properties make it an excellent revitalizer for hair. It cures dry, damaged and brittle hair, rehydrates dry hair and imparts lustre to them. It is an excellent treatment for heat treated or chemically treated hair.
- The gentle nature of shea butter, its anti inflammatory and anti oxidant properties, its sun- protection, its moisturizing property combined together make it the best ingredient to use in extreme climates, either during harsh summers or chilly winters. It protects skin and hair from damage caused due to pollution, UV rays and dehydration.
Shea butter for skin
Shea butter can be used by itself as a skin moisturizer, massaging agent, SPF 6 sunscreen, cuticle cream, de-tanning lotion, lip balm, shaving cream etc, among plenty of other uses. It can also be used as a baby care product by itself. It is also used in various skin recipes like lotions, soap bars, conditioners, baby care recipes etc. Read our own shea butter diaper rash cream recipe here.
Shea butter for hair
Apply pure shea butter on hair from root to tip and leave for 30 minutes. For deep rooted effect, soak a towel in warm water and wring it. Wrap this warm towel on your hair. The steam from the warm towel will help the shea butter to get absorbed well. Wash hair with your regular shampoo. Pure shea butter can again be applied in place of conditioner. This treatment helps in reviving damaged hair, without making them greasy.
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