by Nicole P
July 22, 2019
Shea butter is one of the most well known and frequently used skin and hair care ingredients on the market today. Despite being so prolific, few people understand exactly what shea butter is and how it works as an ingredient.
Ok, so let’s explore shea butter as a skincare ingredient by defining what shea butter is and where it comes from, and looking at some of the key skin benefits of shea butter, giving an example of shea butter products in a typical skincare routine (and of course answering a few frequently asked questions.) Whew! Buckle up-- it’s gunna be good.
Shea butter is an oil which is extracted from African Shea Tree nuts. The resulting product is similar to other tree nut oils including argan oil, with the primary difference being shea butters thicker, richer consistency.
Shea butter production involves removing two kernels from the African Shea Tree nut, crushing them down into a fine substance, then boiling them. Shea butter will rise to the top, where it solidifies and can be extracted for use.
Shea butter resembles dairy butter in appearance and consistency. It is a naturally solid oil with tones ranging between pale white and rich yellow. While shea butter can be used as a stand alone topical product, it is most effective when used as an ingredient in natural skincare and hair care products!
So why exactly is shea butter so widely used? There is a simple answer: it is a natural, safe, and potent ingredient for most skin types with virtually zero health risks. Here are just a few skin benefits to using products with shea butter:
Shea butter is high in vitamins, fatty acids, and other essential nutrients. Facial oils are all about delivering nutrients that your skin needs. Shea butter is naturally rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, and healthy fatty acids such as oleic acid (the stuff found in olive oil).
It can have an anti-aging effect on skin. Anti-aging skincare products have long been the Holy Grail of the health and beauty industry. Shea butter offers a natural way to fight back against aging caused by natural oxidative stress. In other words, shea butter helps your skin cells regenerate themselves for fresher, more youthful skin!
Shea butter is an effective moisturizer. Perhaps the broadest use for shea butter is as a moisturizer. The rich texture and nutrients allow shea butter to act both as a mild occlusive and an emollient (meaning it locks in moisture and fills in the gap between damaged cells).
Shea butter is certainly a great way to naturally care for your skin. But how exactly can you incorporate shea butter products into your normal skincare routine? Here is a hypothetical routine which might work:
Shea butter is ideal for acne prone skin for two reasons:
Absolutely! There are a number of benefits to using shea butter in your hair care routine including preventing split ends, moisturizing your hair naturally, and promoting a healthy scalp.
There are several alternatives to shea butter including avocado butter, mango butter, and even coconut oil. Still, there is a reason shea butter has reigned supreme for all these years!
Almost all natural ingredients will go bad eventually. Shea butter is no exception. If your pure shea butter or shea butter product is starting to give off a strong odor, it is best to pitch it and start again!
Products like artisan soaps which use shea butter as an ingredient are much more shelf stable. Where pure oils may go bad quickly in certain conditions, properly stored skincare and hair care products with shea butter should last a long time.
The Yellow Bird was started in 2015 with a simple goal: provide all-natural, chemical-free products to nourish skin and promote overall health. We use organic shea butter in many of our products because we believe in its safety and efficacy.
To learn more about how our products can help you, especially our sensitive skin crowd's FAVORITE soap bar-- please read all about our unscented shea bar or take a short and easy skincare quiz today!
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