The shea butter constitutes a very versatile ingredient of many cosmetics. It shows diverse properties, such as regenerating and moisturizing dry hair, rough skin or cracked lips. What else can it be used for and what properties does it show? Let’s take a closer look on the functioning and uses of the shea butter.
The shea butter – what is it made of?
The shea butter is also often referred to as karite butter. It is pretty much an oil obtained from the seeds of the Vitellaria tree from Africa. It grows in the central-western areas of Africa. The Vitellaria tree can live for about 300 years, and its first fruits can only be picked after 30-40 years. Throughout that time, it reaches 15 to 25 meters in height.
The Vitellaria tree fruits slightly resemble berries in their look. They have black seeds on the inside that contain large amounts of fats. An interesting fact is that out of about 15 kg of those seeds, about 1 kg of shea butter is obtained. What are shea butter benefits?
Shea butter – the Body care properties
In the cosmetic industry, the shea butter constitutes a very versatile ingredient of many cosmetics, both for Body care and for hair care alike. It is very good at moisturizing dry skin, as well as nourishing it, which makes regenerative processes faster. It is a source of vitamin A and E that promote proper skin condition and stop its aging processes – which gives them a rejuvenating action. The shea butter leaves a protective layer on the skin that acts as a shield against harmful external factors, such as low temperatures or strong winds.
Main properties of the shea butter
- Deeply nourishes skin.
- Quickly regenerates skin.
- Makes a source of vitamin A and E – which are vitamins with rejuvenating properties.
- Constitutes a natural sunblock with a factor of 5 SPF.
Refined or unrefined shea butter – which to choose?
When deciding to buy shea butter, it’s a good idea to go for the unrefined (organic) kind. A butter of this type is manufactured manually by crushing Vitellaria nuts in a temperature below 70 degrees Celsius. This operation isn’t much invasive and doesn’t lead to losses of any nutrients, including the valuable vitamin E. In other case, which is during a refining process, shea butter is stripped off its ingredients, such as antioxidants or vitamins. The only advantage of refined shea butter is longer shelf life and lack of the characteristic nut aroma.
Shea butter – the area of use
The shea butter can be mainly found in lip care cosmetics (pomades), face creams (for different types of skin), body balms or emulsions. The properties of the shea butter are also utilized in hair care cosmetics, such as shampoos, conditioners or masks. What are its most common uses?
- As a hair cosmetic – in form of a nourishing mask for the scalp as well as the entire hair, or as a straightening serum for hair ends. Such cosmetic protects the hair from the impact of harmful external factors such as low or high temperatures. It also moisturizes dry scalp, as well as nourishes and regenerates damaged hair ends. The shea butter is mostly recommended for those who often dye their hair and use hairstyling services, as well as those who often use hairdryers and flat irons.
- As an under the eyes cosmetic – the shea butter can be used as a nourishing cream for around the eyes. Its action can reduce the circles under the eyes and eliminate the swelling there.
- As a soothing cosmetic – its regenerative properties allow the skin to go through the regenerative processes faster, like after sunbathing, injuries or bruises.