Shea butter is becoming increasingly popular in the natural skin care and cosmetic industry for good reason.
Predominantly, it has been used for centuries in Africa for its moisturizing and healing properties.
Because of its soothing nature and rejuvenating effects, it is a perfect ingredient to include in your body care recipes and skin care regime.
Naturally, shea butter is rich in vitamin A , E and F as well as essential fatty acids and other vitamins and minerals, hence plays a vital role in skin and hair care.
What is Shea butter ?
Shea butter is a yellowish or ivory colored natural fat extracted from the nut of the African shea tree.
In Africa, the shea nuts are traditionally harvested, crushed and boiled to extract the Shea butter.
In addition, it has extraordinary moisturizing properties and therefore it is also known as “mother nature’s conditioner”.
Why Shea butter is good for skin and hair ?
Shea butter is one of the nature’s best ingredients for a healthy skin and hair because it contains a high amount of Vitamin A, E and F.
As we all know, vitamins A and E plays a vital role in skin and hair maintenance; Shea butter is used as a natural nourishing agent and helps to maintain healthy skin and hair .
It also contains vitamin F, which acts as a skin protector and rejuvenates the damaged skin.
Additionally, it also contains a high level of cinnamic acid, which acts as a a natural sun screen and provides protection from the sun.
Unrefined shea butter Vs refined shea butter
Shea butter may be refined or unrefined. Especially, unrefined African Shea butter carries the highest and purest quality of Shea butter.
Unrefined Shea butter is extracted and prepared without the use of chemicals or preservative. On the other hand, refined Shea butter is usually extracted with hexane or other petroleum solvents and some anti oxidants or preservatives may also be added.
Unrefined Shea butter maintains its original color and its healing properties. Whereas refined shea butter is chemically altered and white in color and retains only a small portion of its natural healing properties.
Refined shea butter may be aesthetically appealing, but it lacks the real moisturizing and healing property of the shea butter.
Grades of shea butter
Depending on the quality, Commercial shea butter is classified into five grades:
Grade A – raw or unrefined, extracted using water.
Grade B – refined.
Grade C – refined intensively using chemicals such as hexane and extracted.
Grade D – lowest uncontaminated grade.
Grade E – contains contaminants.
Grade A shea butter retains the most natural vitamins, especially vitamins A and E, which are partially lost in the other grades.
Grades A & B tend to have a higher level of vitamins, although there is a reduction of vitamin content during the refining process of grade C, research indicates that up to 95% of the vitamins can still remain the same as grade A and B.
Shea butter for skin
Shea butter is a skin super food and it is commonly used to alleviate dry skin, itching, and scarring, as well as to reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
Natural anti inflammatory and antibacterial
Cinnamic acid content of the Shea butter possess anti inflammatory property and hence used for treating many skin disorders, In addition it also prevents the development of tumors.
It also has catechins, a polyphenol which has some anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties, which may help to prevent blemishes when used as a part of a healthy skin care routine.
Possess natural healing qualities
Due to the presence of several fatty acids and plant sterols such as oleic, palmitic, stearic and linolenic acids, Shea butter is well known for its healing properties.
Raw, unrefined Shea butter is effective in curing skin rashes, skin peeling after tanning, scars, stretch marks, frost bites, burns, athletes foot, insect bites, arthritis, and muscle fatigue.
Heal scars and fade stretch marks
The popular belief is that rubbing Shea butter on the scars can help them to heal quickly and reduce their visibility.
Vitamin E content of the Shea butter also helps to fade pregnancy stretch marks and scars.
Anti ageing Properties
Naturally, Shea butter has a high content of antioxidants that literally help to nourish and feed your skin and so it is considered as one of the best ingredient for anti ageing.
Vitamin A can also help to reduce wrinkles and boosts collagen production.
Moreover, Phytosterols act as a UV protectors and help to ward off damage from sun exposure.
Shea butter has been used for centuries as a wrinkle reducer. It contains essential fatty acids, along with vitamins A and E, which are more important to maintaining your skin’s elasticity.
The moisturizers in Shea butter are the same ones that are produced by the skin’s sebaceous glands(oil gland), making it one of the best matches for dry skin.
Furthermore, the concentration of natural vitamins and fatty acids in Shea butter makes it an excellent nourishing and moisturizing agent for skin.
Cure chapped lips
Shea butter contains high levels of Vitamins A, E and F, which hydrate and protect the lips. For better results, it can be applied several times a day.
Alternatively, you can also add a few drops of essential tea tree oil with Shea butter to cure chapped lips.
Soothe dry cracked feet
Shea butter in conjunction with coconut oil is a great combination for soothing dry cracked feet. Both exhibits anti fungal property and so can be used as an ultra-moisturizing foot cream.
Shea butter ultra-moisturizing foot cream
Calm down sunburn and provides UV protection
Due to its rich vitamin E and antioxidant content, shea butter is known to calm down inflammation and pain resulting from a sun burn.
Moreover, it also contains antioxidants and offers low-grade UV protection, especially when combined with coconut oil, which also protects the skin from harmful UV rays.
For best results, apply Shea butter 15-20 minutes before going out in the sun.
Since Shea butter is non-comedogenic, it can be used to moisturize acne prone skin without clogging up pores.
On the other hand, its also highly antibacterial and anti inflammatory, making it great for killing of acne causing germs and also reduce acne inflammation.
Shea butter face masks for skin
Anti aging face mask
Shea butter face mask for skin hydration
- Take 1/2 tablespoon of shea butter and 1/2 tablespoon of chopped avocado.
- Mix them thoroughly and try to get it as lump-free as possible.
- Then add some rose water to the above mixture and once again mix it all together.
- Apply this face mask on your face and let it rest for 20-30 minutes.
- Wash it off with warm water and pat dry.
Shea butter is a great healer for dull and dry skin whereas avocado is rich in antioxidants and fatty acids, which will also hydrate dull and dry skin.
This mask facilitates intense hydration for a dehydrated skin and also provides high quality moisture for skin cells.
Shea butter face mask for skin rejuvenation
- Gently mix 1 tablespoon of Shea butter and 2 tablespoon of mango puree.
- Apply the mask on your face and allow it to settle for 10 minutes.
- Wash it off with cool water.
- Pat dry and tone your face with a toner.
This face mask is full of phyto nutrients and antioxidants and so it will rejuvenate your skin and helps to restore its glow and radiance.
How to use Shea butter for hair
When it comes to hair, Shea butter makes miracle and plays a vital role in hair care and maintenance.
Shea butter as a moisturizer
Moisturizing property of Shea butter helps to condition and give shine to dry hair as well as help to retain natural oil to reduce dryness. Hence Shea butter is a natural conditioner for hair.
How to moisturize hair using Shea butter ?
- As usual, wash your hair using shampoo.
- Take a required amount of melted Shea butter and apply it on your hair.
- Gentle massage down the hair from root to the tips.
- Comb your hair and disperse the butter evenly on your hair.
- Leave it on for 30-45 minutes and rinse it off with cold water.
Shea butter hair mask for frizz prone hair
- Melt down Shea butter in a double boiler over boiling water and cool down into room temperature.
- Take required amount of melted Shea butter, coconut water, olive oil and myrrh essential oil in a blender.
- Blend them all together until getting a smooth paste.
- Apply the mask on your hair and wait for 30 minutes.
- Rinse it off thoroughly with lukewarm water.
Deep conditioning shea butter hair mask
- In a mixing bowl, crack an egg and mix it well.
- Add 2 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of honey to the egg mixture and stir it until getting a frothy liquid.
- Melt down Shea butter in a double boiler and allow it to cool.
- Add melted Shea butter and few drops of tea tree essential oil to the egg/olive oil/honey mixture and stir well.
- Apply this mask on your hair from root to tip.
- Leave it for 30 minutes and rinse your hair very thoroughly with lukewarm water(it might take 7-10 rinses).
After the application of this mask, your hair will feel so soft and looks very shiny as well.
Shea butter as a soothing agent for irritated scalp
Shea butter absorbs readily into the scalp and does not clog pores. Because of this, it’s great to use it as a soothing treatment for dandruff and dry scalp.
In addition, it provides moisture for damaged hair and thus it is used to sooth dry itchy scalp.
How to use Shea butter for irritated scalp
- Melt down Shea butter in a double boiler over boiling water and cool down to room temperature.
- Apply it onto your scalp and gently massage in circular motion.
You can add drops of tea tree oil for an extra soothing sensation.
Avocado Shea butter hair mask for soothing itchy scalp
- Take the flesh part of avocado and blend it in a blender.
- Melt down Shea butter in a double boiler.
- In a blender, add melted Shea butter, blended avocado and few drops of peppermint oil.
- Blend them till everything is mixed well.
- Coat your hair with this mask and let it rest for 30 minutes.
- Wash it off with lukewarm water and mild shampoo.
Shea butter for hair revitalization
Shea butter mask is the best hair revitalizer and it also provides new life for your damaged hair.
Shea butter mask
- Apply Shea butter evenly on your hair.
- Wrap your hair in a warm towel and leave it for 20-30 min.
- Wash your hair with lukewarm water and mild shampoo.
For better results, apply Shea butter conditioner to revitalize dryness and damage of your hair.
Shea butter is your skin’s best friend.
Undoubtedly, Shea butter will play an imperative role in your daily skin and hair care routine, so don’t miss out.