What is shea butter?
Shea butter comes from the shea tree, which is less commonly known as Butyrospermum parkii. This tree comes from Central Africa, where it is considered sacred. The nuts from the tree create shea butter through these steps: remove the outer shell, crush them by hand, and slowly roast them into the butter. Afterwards, this butter is kneaded in a big basin of water, which helps to separate the oils aka fatty acids. The fatty acids are the coveted ingredients that contain endless skincare benefits to restore your glow. People have been using shea butter for centuries, with Cleopatra as one of its most famous users. Here are all the restorative uses and benefits that shea butter can bring to your skin.
Where do shea butter’s benefits come from?
There are many active ingredients in shea butter that help make your skin radiant. This is due to antioxidant vitamins A,E, and F along with nourishing triglycerides. Shea also contains palmitic, oleic, stearic, and linoleic fatty acids, which balance your skin’s natural oils. Finally, cetyl esters give shea butter its waxy feeling and locks hydration in.
1. Anti inflammation
Shea butter is a cheap but effective moisturizer that has anti-inflammatory benefits. This is useful for people with all kinds of skin issues. So many products on the market today have synthetic ingredients and chemicals. But shea is all-natural, and conditions the skin with some serious power.
Stop spending hundreds on all kinds of solutions — that’s just expensive marketing. Raw shea butter promotes the regeneration of cells while softening skin, which in turn can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
3. Hair moisturizer
Yes, shea butter can be used on your hair and scalp — it’s not just for skin. It’s pretty much a one-stop beauty shop. Warm shea butter to soften it, and rub throughout the scalp and hair, leaving on for 20 minute. Afterwards, rinse this mask, apply shampoo and conditioner, and watch the results! If you’re worried about greasy strands, only apply to the ends.
4. Use it as a mask
If your skin is dehydrated and in desperate need of a facial, forget the spa and combine these ingredients at home: a tablespoon of raw honey, a few drops of grapeseed oil, and a tablespoon of pure shea butter. First, cleanse your face, and then, apply this mask.
5. Cracked skin
Many of the body moisturizers you use aren’t so effective on cracked heels and elbows, as well as reducing the effects of windburn on the skin. Shea penetrates deeply, which moisturizes more deeply and lasts longer.
6. Stretch marks
After weight loss/gain or pregnancy, it’s common for women to experience stretch marks, and many opt for laser treatments as a solution. However, the high vitamin A content in shea butter will ensure that stretch marks naturally dissipate on their own, or at least have a reduced appearance.
7. Diaper rash
Can’t seem to find the right diaper rash treatment for your baby’s sensitive skin? Raw shea butter is all you need! Thanks to its inflammation fighting powers and anti-fungal properties, It also regenerates cells and promotes collagen production, which both heal diaper rash ASAP.
8. Good for sensitive skin
A lot of people are hesitant about DIY or all-natural treatments if they have sensitive skin. If nothing you try seems to work, you can trust that soothing shea butter will put that skin irritation to a stop. Fancy lotions can’t stand up to a seed-based moisturizer, which mimics your skin’s natural oils.
9. No side effects — unless you have a nut allergy
There’s a rumor out there that shea butter clogs pores, but that only happens when you use oils from a fruit/plant flesh, like coconut oil. The fatty acids in shea butter actually mimics sebum in our own body, so there’s no greasy effect. There’s no documented topical shea butter allergies, but if you’re allergic to nuts it’s probably better to stay away.
10. Natural sunscreen
Many of us don’t use skincare products infused with SPF, but it’s important. Even on the cold days, sun damages facial skin. Luckily, shea butter is a natural form of sunscreen, though it has a low SPF level of 6. Still, it’s better than nothing! It can be applied to prevent sunburn, as well as heal the effects of a burn.
11. Use as an all over body moisturizer
It’s not limited to your hair and your face — you can actually use shea butter to moisturize your entire body. Slather it on every limb — especially when the weather is cold, or if you live in a dry climate. Gently rub it in until it’s totally absorbed, but remember that a very small amount goes a long way.