Shea butter is an African super ingredient that helps to achieve smooth, shiny skin this season. As a popular natural ingredient in the cosmetics industry, many top brands such as The Body Shop and French cosmetics company L’Occitane use shea butter as the hero ingredient in many products.
Although a very popular natural ingredient in many cosmetic formulations, it is also a great single ingredient skin moisturizer. That is, it can be used on its own without the addition of extra cosmetic ingredients. In fact, raw shea butter has been used as a skin moisturizer in many parts of Africa for centuries. Shea butter is not only good for the skin, but also versatile and perfect for hair.
What are the benefits of African shea butter and how is it made?
Shea butter is a vegetable fat extracted from the fruit of shea butter, which grows primarily in West and East Africa. Nuts are dried, ground, roasted, milled, hand-kneaded and boiled to extract butter.
Shea butter is rich in skin-loving nutrients. Rich in essential fatty acids such as oleic acid, palmitic acid, linoleic acid, arachidic acid, triglycerides, cetyl esters, vitamins A, E and F.
For example, vitamins A and E promote antioxidant activity and protect the skin from free radicals. This accelerates skin aging and dullness, and essential fatty acids balance skin oils and reduce inflammation.
Shea butter is an excellent natural remedy for people with dry skin. Shea butter’s emollient properties help to soothe and smooth dry, cracked, flaky skin while trapping skin moisture.
Tips for choosing African shea butter
There are two types of shea butter on the market. Unrefined and refined shea butter. Unrefined shea butter is a type that has not changed anything. Butter is naturally extracted using traditional extraction methods and retains all its nutritional and healing properties. It is usually ivory, beige, or cream with a nutty or smoky aroma.
Refined shea butter, on the other hand, has been chemically modified to remove the natural aroma of butter, is white in color, and loses most of its healing and nutritional properties. If you’re trying to get most of the nutritional benefits of shea butter, unrefined shea butter is your best bet!
How to use African shea butter
As mentioned earlier, raw, unrefined shea butter can itself be used as a single-ingredient moisturizer. It is also commonly mixed with other natural ingredients such as coconut oil, argan oil, almond oil and essential oils. Scoop a small amount from the container and rub the skin or dry flaky area.
Shea butter usually melts at body temperature and is easily absorbed by the skin. It is also common to dissolve in fluffy, decadent body butter, souffle, or ointment. Making your own DIY body butter is always simple, fun and empowering! Below is a simple body butter recipe using raw, unrefined shea butter that you can easily make from your home comfort. The recipe is great for winter skin care and can be used as a moisturizer for the body and hands.
Simple DIY shea butter recipe
Note: This recipe is from Botanical Soaps: Marta Tarallo (2021)’s latest guide to making your own soaps, shampoo bars and other beauty essentials. The recipe formula uses essential oils, which may be stimulating for some. Therefore, it is highly recommended to do a patch test before adding it to the mixture. Also, always get high quality essential oils from reputable manufacturers and follow their instructions.
- Raw unrefined shea butter 15g
- 15g virgin coconut oil
- Optional: 1/2 teaspoon arrowroot powder or cornstarch (to reduce greasiness)
- 1 drop of your favorite vitamin E and 2-3 drops of essential oil.
- Weigh the shea butter and slowly dissolve it in a water bath.
- When it melts and doesn’t get too hot, add coconut oil.
- Allow the mixture to cool and harden in the fridge (usually it takes about 30 minutes in the fridge and 15 minutes in the freezer). The mixture should not be solid, it should be semi-solid.
- When it becomes semi-solid, remove it from the refrigerator. At this point, you can add optional materials. Half a teaspoon of arrowroot powder reduces the stickiness of body butter. You can also add a few drops of your favorite essential oil.
- Once all the ingredients are combined, whisk everything together for a soft, fluffy consistency. It takes about 5-10 minutes to get a light, fluffy, soft creamy consistency.
- When you reach the desired consistency, transfer to a clean jar and you’re done!
Safety Tips: This body butter does not contain water and does not require preservatives (vitamin E), but it is recommended as it helps slow down the oxidative process and maintain the integrity of the body butter! There are other places where you can find some really good shea butter recipes. Check out books and community classes at your local library, or browse the Bramble Berry website.
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If you are looking for a place to buy your own African shea butter Pogbanusia Is the best Canadian supplier for both retail and wholesale. Now that we know the many benefits of this African super-ingredient, we hope it will take some time to enjoy its sacred goodness during these dry winter months! I will thank you later.
Serena Deli Mini Is the founder of Pogbanu Shea, a purpose-driven company founded with the goal of bringing sustainable impact and community development to women’s lives in northern Ghana. As a global supplier to Canada’s cosmetics and hair care industry, Pogbanu Shea procures the finest shea butter for everything from skin care to hair care.
Have you ever used shea butter as a moisturizer? Did it improve the texture and radiance of the skin?