It’s possible that you may have only recently heard of Shea Butter. But, its use is far from a new-fanged fad. By the time you are done reading this, you should be on your way to one of the locals in your area to buy pure Shea butter! This high-fat butter is chock full of naturally occurring Vitamin A, E, an d F. Many women can apply mega doses of Vitamin E to reduce stretch marks, wrinkles, and skin cracks.
Africans have known the benefits of Shea Butter for centuries. Down through the generations, native Africans have used Shea Butter to soothe and rejuvenate their hair and skin. Shea Butter is not only for those of us with dark skin though. Every skin types can benefit from the use of Shea Butter. Today, Shea Butter is available in pure form and as an ingredient in many products to help with maintenance of the hair and skin and relief from many common ailments.
What is Shea Butter?
How can I tell if something is good Shea Butter?
- Raw or unrefined- This Shea Butter will be extracted using only water. The color will vary based on the nuts used. The color will range from a cream color or slightly off-white to an actual yellow or yellowish gray. This is the original form of Shea Butter. It will also usually have a distinct nutty aroma.
- Refined- is more highly processed. It may be filtered and deodorized. Many of its natural components are still in there. But, some of the natural coloring and aroma will have been removed.
- Highly refined or processed- In this case something other than water is used to increase the amount of butter that can be taken from a bath. A solvent like hexane will be used. The color of this product will be pure white.
Shea Butter in it natural state has an aroma which most people find quite pleasant or at least not offensive. I think it’s a smell that actually grows on you over time. The smell of raw West African Shea varies is typically a nutty smell. As Shea Butter ages, the aroma will begin to decrease. If you purchase unrefined Shea Butter with almost no smell, the chances are it’s old. Shea Butter is pretty stable when kept properly. But, it can go rancid. Shea Butter should not have a mildewed or rotten smell, not matter the age. If you happen to dislike the aroma of natural raw Shea Butter, you can purchase more highly refined Shea that has been filtered through clay to remove the natural aroma. But, before doing that, we’d recommend buying the smoother variety from East Africa.
You don’t have to keep Shea Butter refrigerated. In fact doing so would make it very difficult to use. It will keep under normal conditions for about two to three years. Over time it will be less effective in terms of its healing properties. But, it will remain a good moisturizer. Keep it in a cool place and keep the container closed to keep out contamination.My Shea Butter melted
This is not at all unusual. In the summer months, a lot of Shea Butter that is shipped will melt somewhere along the route to you. If you happen to leave it in the car (we’ve done this many times) and you come back and it’s liquid, don’t panic. Actually, one of the wonderful properties of Shea Butter is the fact that it melts right around body temperatures. When you apply it to your skin, it quickly becomes liquid making it easy to apply and to be asborbed. If your Shea Butter melts, just take the lid off the container and set it in the refrigerator. Or just keep it in an air conditioned room. As it begins to cool, give it a stir every once in a while to bring the liquid parts (which are called olein) back into uniform distribution with the solid parts (called stearin).
The color of Shea Butter will vary more than you might expect. The ultimate color of the butter will depend on the karite nuts used. Shea nuts will differ in color from almost white to yellow. There is no way to determine the quality of the Shea Butter based solely on its color. There is even a naturally almost saffron (golden yellow) colored Shea Butter. But, Shea Butter shouldn’t be green or very hard. We prefer ivory or beige Shea Butter which indicates it hasn’t been too highly refined. Shea Butter that is too white was probably pretty highly refined and may not be as good at healing.How can Shea Butter benefit me?
We sure do not have a complete 360 list for you but the fact is, Shea Butter can provide relief from everything from just dry skin to many minor dermatological diseases (if you have a serious skin condition, you should see a doctor). It has been clinically shown to provide a wide range of benefits. Here are some of the benefits of Shea Butter for the skin: