Lately I have been reading about many types of butters (not regular consumption butter but for cosmetic use), like mango butter, apricot butter, Aloe butter and many more exotic ones. One of the main butters that I have always heard about besides cocoa butter, is Shea Butter. The Shea Karite tree, from which Shea butter is derived is original to certain parts of Africa and is very popular for it’s moisturizing and protective qualities for both the skin and hair.
There are two types of Shea butter, refined shea butter and unrefined Organic shea butter. I have never tried refined Shea so I would not know how it compares to organic Shea. However, organic shea is my new best friend. Organic Shea is expeller pressed and free of harsh solvents and chemicals. Shea butter has this very light scent, however some people can’t tolerate Shea’s natural earthy scent. To me it’s a soft scent and reminds me of palm oil in terms of scent (although some yellow shea contains palm oil too). In the jar, my Shea butter seems hard but once my hands get on them it starts to get really soft and melts right into my skin. Typically unrefined organic Shea will have this smooth feel along with its vibrant yellow color.
Refined Shea butter however is odorless and has this white Ivory color. Refined Shea butter is extracted using using toxic and harsh chemicals, bleached and also contains many fillers. Most of the cosmetic products that claim to be infused or made of Shea butter are using refined Shea butter which most likely lacks all the proteins, vitamins and minerals pure Shea can provide. However there seems to be a huge debate and confusion as to which kind of shea butter is really which or better. Some shea however , depending on the region the shea nut is derived from, can vary widely from color to potency.
Shea Butter is a rich moisturizer great for wrinkles, blemishes, scars, wounds, eczema and a host of skin problems. Shea butter also protects against harmful sun rays, as well as containing the same moisturizing properties produced by the sebaceous glands of the skin. Shea also restores the skin’s elasticity making it a great anti aging moisturizer.
So with all that being said I decided to put my Shea Butter to good use. Despite Shea butter being a great moisturizer and treating blemishes and scars, my face considers Shea to be too heavy and at times Shea breaks my face out pretty bad. So if you tend to have oily or acne prone skin take precaution when using shea on your face. I tend to use it mostly for my body scrubs and recently as a daily moisturizer and soon with deep conditioners. I ‘m not a fan of lotions but these past few weeks I have been using shea on my legs and thighs and my skin feels so much smoother. A few years back I got the bright idea of shaving my thighs, and as a result have had a lot of problems with blemishes and just stubborn stubble which will not go away. But so far I have noticed shea has helped improve my stubbly thighs drastically these past days. The dark prickly spots I had on my thighs are basically smoothed out. So I’m loving shea for the summer and as a daily moisturizer.
My favorite exfoliant for the body is brown sugar (regular sugar is fine also) you can use it with basically anything such as honey, olive oil and essential oils. I usually use it with coconut oil but this time I added Lavender oil and of course Shea butter. This smelled heavenly and my skin felt extremely soft and silky. I tend to focus on my knees and elbows and I have to say the rough dark patch I had on my elbows are smooth as ever.
I try to do small batches with honey and or 1 drop of tea tree oil to minimize bacteria. Not only does honey works as a great humectant but it also works as a great preservative against bacteria as well. Honey is a great anti bacterial agent doubling up as an on the spot pimple treatment. Just dab a little honey on your pimple and honey will work it’s natural magic.
1 drop of Lavender oil
Honey/ and or 1 drop of tea tree essential oil
I keep this for about a week or less and keep it in my fridge, depending on how frequently I may use it.
For More info on shea check these out:
The Complete Beauty Bible: The Ultimate Guide to Smart Beauty