Getting to know Shea Butter
No matter your background — from a professional formulator to an amateur DIY enthusiast — few natural ingredients are quite as infamous as Shea Butter.
Growing naturally across the African savanna, stretching from Senegal to Ethiopia, the shea tree amazingly provides the globe with one of the best beauty products on the planet – Shea Butter. This creamy, nourishing butter was even a beauty favorite for the likes of Queen Cleopatra, the Queen of Sheba, and Nefertiti. Thankfully, nowadays you don’t have to be royalty to enjoy all of Shea’s amazing benefits!
So what is Shea Butter?
Shea Butter is an ivory-colored fat extracted from the nut of the shea tree. These nuts are crushed to expose the kernel inside, which is then ground into a powder and boiled in water. During this process, the butter rises to the surface of the water and becomes the solid product we know and love.
The main components of Shea Butter are oleic acid, stearic acid, and linoleic acid, along with significant amounts of vitamins A, D, E. These fatty acids and antioxidant vitamins promote healthy skin by locking in moisture and helping to protect against environmental stressors that may prematurely age skin cells.
Crude Shea vs. Refined Shea
There are two types of Shea Butter found on the market – crude (raw/unrefined) and refined. Our new Organic Shea Butter is crude, which means is it in its natural state and packed full of all those good fatty acids and vitamins! On the other hand, refined Shea Butter goes through a process that uses high heat levels to help remove color and Shea’s natural nutty aroma. However, the high heat also removes many of the therapeutic qualities of crude Shea, meaning it is less beneficial to skin in this state.
By no means is one version of Shea Butter better than the other! It all comes down to personal preference. While crude Shea is loaded with skin-loving components, it is also less stable in formulations and more difficult to work with because of that. The smell can also be off-putting to some people. Refined Shea may be preferred because of its lack of odor and white color — both important considerations when creating both professional and DIY beauty products. However, refined Shea does lack many of the beautifying ingredients found in the raw, unrefined state.
How can you bring more Shea into your life?
Truly one of the best multi-purpose ingredients available, Shea Butter is a must-have for DIY enthusiasts. Creating beautiful lip balms, lotions, hair masks, face creams, and so much more are right at your fingertips with Shea. Don’t believe us? Give Shea a try with a few of these amazing DIYs and let us know what you think!