Shea butter is one of the most versatile natural beauty ingredients on the planet and has been used in Africa for thousands of years. It’s a great moisturiser and have exceptionally high healing benefits for the skin, It’s great for improving a number of skin issues and is an exceptional source of nutrients, vitamins, antioxidants and fatty acids.
Where does it come from?
Shea butter is made from the nut of the shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa) which grows naturally in the wild in the dry savannah belt of West Africa. To make the butter the nuts are harvested, dried, milled, roasted, milled again, water is added to the shea butter paste and women kneaded by hand to separate the butter then it is boiled and the butter float to the surface.
To learn more of the traditional production process and watch a video of it being made go to our Shea Butter Production Process page.
What does it do for you?
Unrefined shea butter is naturally rich in vitamins A, E and F, it offers UV protection ( SPF ~6), it’s anti-inflammatory and provides the skin with essential fatty acids and the nutrients necessary for collagen production.
Nourishes and moisturises the skin: Shea butter have an exceptionally high percentage of bioactive properties, ranging from 3- 17%, (in most plant oils its 1-2%). The high concentration of natural vitamins (A, E, F), Essential Fatty Acids, catechins and other significant plant antioxidants makes it incredibly nourishing and moisturising for skin. It is often used to remedy dry skin and to help protect the skin’s natural oils.
Reduces Inflammation: A study found that due to its cinnamic acid and other natural properties shea butter is anti-inflammatory. Researchers of the study concluded that “from the results of the…anti-inflammatory tests..it appears that the triterpene cinnamates and triterpene acetates…from shea fat, especially lupeol cinnamate..could be valuable as anti-inflammatory agents and chemopreventive agents…” heck, not only is it good for your skin but it also have anti-tumor promoting compounds!!
Softens and smooths the skin: Shea butter aids in the skin’s natural collagen production and contains oleic, stearic, palmitic and linolenic acids that protect and nourish the skin to prevent drying. Many people that use shea butter on a regular basis report that their skin have soften, become stronger and reduction in wrinkles.
Shea butter is good for:
Rheumatism and aching muscles
In Africa women have been using shea butter for thousands of years, in Benin it has traditionally been used as a cooking oil, for candle/soap making, hairdressing, lamp fuel, as an ingredient in medicinal ointments for sprains, arthritis and as a decongestant.
It’s key use as a cosmetic traces back to Ancient Egypt and Queen Cleopatra that used it as part of her beauty regiment. It is an extremely important commodity for women in West Africa, it’s known as ‘womens gold’. In countries like Mali, Ghana and Burkina Faso shea butter production have provided many women with a sustainable income and improved the lives of people in many communities.
Refined vs Unrefined
Unrefined shea butter is usually made using traditional methods, the butter is extracted without using chemicals, which means that all the natural healing and moisturising properties remain intact. The colour ranges from cream to grayish yellow and it has a nutty aroma.
Refined shea butter is made by manufacturers using chemicals, such as hexane and bleach to remove any odour and colour. The result is a butter that lacks the true moisturising, healing, and bioactive properties of traditional shea butter.
Mino Collective’s high quality shea butter is 100% Unrefined and Grade A. There are many different grades and it is important to understand the difference.
A – contains the highest amount of bioactive nutrients and is unrefined
B – is refined and contain low level of bioactive nutrients
C – highly refined and extracted with solvents such as hexane
D – lowest uncontaminated grade
E – with contaminants
Do you use shea butter? What is your favourite shea butter DIY recipe? Let me know in the comment section!
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