Shea butter (shea butter) is extracted from the seeds of the African tree. It hardens quickly at room temperature, has a creamy, rich texture and is ideal for moisturizing hair and skin. Our experts have found out from cosmetologists why shea butter is useful and how it is used in the beauty sphere.
General information on shea butter
Oil from the pulp of the karite kernel of the shea tree fruit. The latter grow naturally on the African continent. The tree begins to bear fruit only in the 20-30 year of life. And from the first fruits it is not possible to obtain the optimal composition of oil. As the tree matures, more fatty acids accumulate in the pips of the fruit. The result is a more valuable cosmetic product.
The unrefined product uses manual labor to make it. With this in mind, lots of products differ in consistency, fragrance or color. You can find refined shea butter more and more often on the market. It undergoes several filtration stages in the production process. The output is a pure product free from impurities, which has a certain share of beneficial properties.
The cosmetic product resembles a solid fat (butters). Its color can vary from white to creamy and often has a grayish or yellowish cast. Shea butter softens at room temperature and resembles clarified butter. The smell of the product can also be different: the more expensive ones, handmade, have notes of smoke, and manufactured in industrial conditions smells of nuts.
Shea butter is a base oil, consisting of 80% triglycerides that enhance tissue barrier function. Unsaponifiable fats make up the rest of the substance. Shea butter is a good source of vitamins A, E and F.
Fatty acids are present in the product:
Palmitic acid (3-7%);
The buttermilk also contains phytosterols that slow down the aging process, as well as terpene alcohols, which are powerful UV filters that protect collagen fibers.
The benefits of shea butter
Shea butter is widely used for medical and cosmetic purposes because it has the following beneficial properties:
It nourishes and actively moisturizes the skin;
It fights skin peeling, promotes reparation and regeneration;
Eliminates the first signs of aging and smoothes out expression lines;
Effectively eliminates irritation, inflammation, erythema;
Protects the skin against photoageing, as it reflects UV rays;
Solves various dermatological problems (psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis).
Shea butter improves skin structure by 85%. Its application quickly heals any minor skin damage, and existing scars become less noticeable. Due to the vitamin E such cosmetic product has an antioxidant effect, improves local blood circulation in the tissues.
Due to its high oleic acid content, shea butter is very quickly absorbed by the skin. And due to linoleic acid, this valuable product restores the skin’s protective functions, activates lipid metabolism. This butter is suitable for all types of massage on the face and body, as it provides a perfect glide, while perfectly moisturizing the skin.
Because of its rich composition, shea butter is a very valuable ingredient in cosmetics and has been used in the beauty industry for more than 20 years. Used both in pure form and as part of the mixture:
balms, masks to soften dry, chapped or chapped lips;
Karité oil is used for scalp care, for strengthening and treating damaged hair (shampoos, conditioners, masks);
face creams with nourishing, protective, anti-aging properties;
Hand and body creams to get rid of dryness and flaking;
Sunscreen series and serious regenerating products;
Shea butter is considered the best moisturizing oil in the world: it has maximum effect within one hour of application and lasts for eight hours.
This cosmetic product is especially appreciated for the fact that it brings active ingredients into the deeper layers of the skin. Such a balm is excellent for fighting the “thinning” of the skin, deep moisturizing. It is advisable to use it in severe frost and wind, it is also excellent for soothing the skin after sunburn. Shea butter is also great for growing beautiful, thick hair.
Systematic use of cosmetics with this valuable ingredient improves complexion, tones, fights wrinkles, and firms the skin texture. After it is completely absorbed by the skin, the epidermis becomes silky and smooth. Shea butter is excellent for anti-cellulite massages.
How to use in practice
Main uses for shea butter: face, body and hair. There are many ready-made products with this valuable component, or such butters are sold in pure form and are also suitable for use.
For the body
Before applying shea butter to the body, wait a little so that it begins to melt in your hands. Spread it on the skin with massaging strokes. This treatment is ideal after a shower or a bath. And if you want to have baby-like skin on your heels, then apply such a balm on your feet under cotton socks before going to bed. In the morning you will be pleasantly surprised with the result.
If your skin has many imperfections, apply pure or use a compress mask. After such a procedure, peeling and redness disappear perfectly. To soothe puffiness under the eyes, melt the butter in a water bath, combine it with aloe, and apply to the periorbital area.
Pure and unrefined shea butter is an excellent anti-wrinkle treatment. It softens noticeable wrinkles and smoothes fine lines. If you want to improve the condition of your eyelashes and eyebrows, pair this valuable product with castor or burdock oil.
The easiest and most effective way to restore the hair is to apply shea butter to the hair 20 minutes before shampooing. You can also apply a little oil on the ends of towel-dried or dry hair. It is a great way to improve the condition of split and brittle hair. The butter can also act as thermal protection. Apply a moderate amount to hair before blow-drying or flat ironing.
The harm of shea butter
Carite butter lovers should note that along with many valuable components it contains a small amount of latex (up to 10%). If you have a rubber allergy, it is best to refrain from active use of shea butter. Also you should be careful if you are allergic to any kind of nuts.
Before using such a cosmetic product in its pure form, you must initially conduct a test for individual sensitivity. To do this, apply a little oil to the inner side of your elbow bend and wait 20 minutes. If you have erythema or swelling, you should not use this product. You should also take into consideration that if you keep the shea butter in the open sun it turns into a harmful carcinogen.
How to choose shea butter
High-quality shea butter cannot be cheap. This is the essential criterion. If it is sold for a very attractive price on the Internet in unverified stores, it is better to refrain from such a purchase. It is better to buy such cosmetic products in a drugstore or in a reputable brand-natural cosmetics store.
It is helpful to ask for a sample first so you can evaluate all the properties of the product. The oil must have a solid, thick consistency. Carite butters should not be liquid at room temperature. If you end up with one of these, it’s probably a low-quality product. Its scent must be rich – a combination of walnut and coconut. The color may vary. Even if the product has a brownish tint, it may be within the normal range.
Shea butter is divided into different categories depending on the method of production :
The first category (A) – the product has undergone minimal processing (it is extracted from the kernels with water) and retains a maximum amount of useful substances;
The second category (B) – refined oils;
The third category (C) – a product of a high degree of purification, extracted by solvent, usually have a white color.
Category A products are usually marked “organic” and have a high price tag. The most budgetary oils are from category C, but their benefits are also quite questionable.