What is Shea Butter? Frequently Asked Questions

Shea Butter in kom

 

Shea butter, also called shea butter or shea butter, is a fantastic natural moisturizing oil/cream.

At room temperature, shea butter is quite thick, but if you rub it in your hands, it melts and moisturizes your skin deeply. Shea butter is fantastic as an eye cream, lip balm or in your homemade body butter to revitalize dry skin.

Shea butter contains fatty acids that have an anti-inflammatory and anti-aging effect on your skin. It also nourishes dry skin with essential fatty acids and the nutrients that help your skin produce collagen. Using shea on the skin can also provide light UV protection.

What is Shea Butter / Shea Butter?

Shea butter (also called Shea butter) is a natural oil/butter made from the seeds of the fruit of the Shea tree.

Shea trees come from the African Savannah and most shea butter is still made in that region.

Shea butter has long been used in West and East Africa to moisturize and protect the skin and hair. It also has a long history of medicinal use, in wound care and the treatment of leprosy. Even the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra would have used it as a care product.

In Africa it is also sometimes used in food. Opinions are somewhat divided on whether this is healthy. There are studies showing that consuming shea butter can interfere with protein digestion, but more research is needed to get a clear picture of this.

The botanical name of the Shea tree that you mainly find in Gana is Vitellaria Paradoxa (formerly called butyrospermum parkii). There is another type of Shea tree that can be found in and around Nigeria, the Vitellaria Nilotica. The nuts of this type of Shea tree are used to make the so-called Shea Nilotica butter.

 Afrikaanse Savanne

3 Shea Butter Benefits

1. Hydrates your skin

Shea butter contains a large amount of vitamins such as vitamin E and vitamin A, as well as fatty acids that nourish and moisturize your skin. It is a fantastic product to avoid and treat dry skin and protect your skin.

2. Works anti-inflammatory

Research has shown that shea butter has an anti-inflammatory effect, which means that it can even help people with acne.

3. Anti-aging

Using shea butter boosts the collagen production of your skin.

In addition, the butter also contains stearic acid, linolenic acid, palmitic acid. These fatty acids nourish and protect the skin, helping to prevent the skin from drying out. This can also help reduce wrinkles and lighten blemishes on the skin.

How is Shea Butter made?

Shea Butter is made from the seeds/nuts of the Shea tree. If you are thinking of planting a shea tree yourself and making your own shea butter, it is best to start as soon as possible.It takes 20 years before the tree starts to grow its first fruits and only after 45 years does it reach its peak. of Shea Butter is quite labor-intensive:

  • First the nuts of the shea tree are collected, which of course fall from the shea tree.
  • These are then blanched to remove the outermost layer.
  • They are then dried, coarsely ground and then roasted. After roasting, they are ground very finely into a dark brown paste.
  • This paste is then kneaded by hand for hours . After that, the paste is cleaned by rinsing it with water. Then the paste is heated over a low heat until the shea butter floats to the top.
  • The shea butter is then allowed to cool until a beige-coloured cream is obtained.

Shea Boter Productie

How to use Shea Butter

Shea butter is a very versatile ingredient for skin care and is often used in products such as lip balm. You can use it 100% pure as a moisturizing cream, or use it in homemade beauty products. You can make a body butter, a DIY lip balm, lotion bars, etc.

Here are some of our favorite uses for shea butter:

  • Pure on your face and body as moisturizing cream
  • In a shea butter lotion bar for easy use
  • As a mild aftersun lotion, pure or together with aloe vera juice, rosehip oil, almond oil and lavender oil
  • Make your own pregnancy cream to prevent stretch marks with shea butter, beeswax, coconut oil, avocado oil and almond oil
  • As an eye ointment to reduce crow's feet and bags under the eyes
  • If massage oil
  • On your dry nose with a cold or flu
  • On scars to fade them naturally
  • As a basis for your DIY deodorant
  • Directly on your lips or in a homemade lip balm
  • On the eyelids before applying make-up
  • As hair mask (in combination with other natural ingredients such as castor oil and jojoba oil)

TIP: If your shea butter is too thick to mix with other ingredients, melt it over very low heat. However, make sure you don't let it get too hot or it will lose some of its good qualities.

Shea body butter

Which Shea Butter Do I Buy Best?

Unrefined Shea Butter

Unrefined Shea Butter is made without the use of chemicals or high temperatures. As a result, the shea butter retains its moisturizing vitamins and fatty acids much better. Unrefined Shea Butter usually has a beige/light yellow color and a slight smell of earth.

If you find that smell a bit strong, we recommend mixing your shea butter with your favorite essential oil.

Refined Shea Butter

High temperatures and sometimes chemicals are used to make refined shea butter. This gives you a very white shea paste, but the shea butter loses some of its vitamins and moisturizing fatty acids. The refined shea butter also has no smell.

According to some studies, the shea loses as much as 75% of its bioactive ingredients during refining.

We currently only sell unrefined organic Shea Butter because it is so much better for your skin.

What is the Difference Between Grade A,B,C,D and E Shea Butter?

Shea butter is often also divided into different grades that indicate the quality and way in which it has been processed.

Grade A: This shea butter is "raw" and unrefined, and is not processed with chemicals.

Grade B: This shea butter is refined 

Grade C: This shea butter is refined and to obtain the oil/butter from the nuts, chemical solvents are used such as hexane

Grade D: This shea contains many impurities and is the lowest grade not considered "contaminated".

Grade E: This shea is tainted/contaminated.

We always recommend using Grade A, or if you really don't like the smell of shea, Grade B because refining will remove a lot of the smell but also a lot of it the vitamins.

For Which Skin Problems Can You Use Shea?

When fighting skin problems such as eczema and acne, it is often a search for products that work for your skin. Every skin is different and there are many factors that cause such skin problems, such as the food you eat, your sleeping pattern, air pollution, etc.

Shea butter has a soothing and healing effect at: 

  • Eczema
  • Stretch marks on the skin
  • Problems with dry skin and/or hair
  • Dermatitis
  • Psoriasis
  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Oily skin and acne
  • Cracked skin and fissures
  • Itchy skin
  • Muscle fatigue and stiff muscles
  • Sunburn
  • Skin allergies and rash
  • Scars and dark spots

How do I use Shea Butter on my face?

You can simply use shea pure on your face as a moisturizing cream by rubbing a little in your hand and then applying it to your face. The shea melts away and is absorbed by your facial skin. You can do this in the evening before going to sleep, since shea is relatively greasy and your skin will have a shiny layer left over.

If you use it in the morning, make sure you don't use too much so that it quickly absorbs into your skin. If there is still some left on top of your skin after applying it well, you can remove it with a cloth.

Another great way to use shea butter is if you melt it and then mix it with a moisturizing oil such as argan oil, rosehip oil or almond oil. A 50/50 ratio of shea and oil works well. You can also add 1 or more essential oil for a nice scent and additional therapeutic effect of that oil.

How long can you keep Shea Butter?

If kept in a cool and dark place, you can keep it up to 3-4 years after production.

Under certain circumstances it can get bad sooner:

  • By oxidation. Light and heat can alter the chemical structure of the shea butter, causing it to smell rancid and acidic.
  • Due to contamination with water. Because no preservatives are used in unrefined shea butter, mold can begin to grow in the shea if it is exposed to water for an extended period of time.

Can I eat Shea Butter?

As mentioned before, there are African tribes that use Shea Butter in their cooking. Currently, shea  (to our knowledge) is not tested/certified anywhere outside of Africa for use as a food, but this could change in the future.

Is Shea Butter Clogged Your Pores?

Although Shea butter is a fat, it is non-comedogenic, meaning it will not clog pores. Shea can even help prevent and fight clogged pores and acne.

How do I make Whipped Shea butter?

Because shea butter can be quite a solid substance, especially in winter, some users whip up the shea to make it easier to spread. Whisking air into the shea butter makes it light and fluffy making it a little easier to use.

This is how you do it: 

  • Melt the shea butter slowly over a low heat in a bain-marie
  • Once it has melted, turn off the heat, and optionally add a carrier oil such as argan oil or sweet almond oil (this will lighten the final result) and vitamin E oil (this will help keep it longer).
  • Let it cool to room temperature
  • Stir occasionally as it cools to about 20 - 25 degrees Celcius
  • Now you can optionally add essential oils
  • Whip it for a few minutes while it is still liquid
  • Refrigerate until mixture hardens
  • Then take it out of the fridge and let it come back to room temperature
  • Whip the mixture again until you get a "fluffly" butter/substance
  • Done! Store your whipped shea in a jar or bag, and just spread it

Where can you buy Shea Butter?

You can buy here unrefined and organic Shea Butter of the highest quality in a sustainable glass jar.

Our Shea Butter comes from Ghana, where we work with a small producer who receive Fair Trade wages and produce the Shea Butter in the traditional way.

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