360 incredible Reasons to Butter up! Shea butter benefits for You!

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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?

Shea Butter is extracted from the nuts of  a tree only found on the continent of Africa.  Shea Butter is extracted from the nuts of the Shea-Karite tree.  This tree only begins to produce nuts after about fifteen years and it can take up to 30 years to get the first quality crop from a particular tree.  The producers are waiting for the nut to contain a high concentration of irremovable fatty acid.  It is this unique fatty acid that gives Shea Butter its unparalleled healing properties and makes it much more sought after than other butters like cocoa butter.  For centuries, Shea Butter was produced by people who harvested the nuts, shelled them, grilled them and and then pounded them. The karite nuts were boiled in a vat of water for hours until the Shea Butter.  The butter would then be scooped up in gourds and allowed to return to a soft solid state.  Shea Butter is solid at room temperature.  But one of the things that makes it so great is that it liquefies right around body temperature.  A quick rub in the palm of your hands and it’s a liquid.  Shea Butter extracted this way is called unrefined Shea Butter or raw Shea Butter.  Since Shea Butter is an all natural product each batch will be slightly different. Shea Butter will vary quite a bit in appearance and smell.  It’s important to be able to tell what is good Shea Butter and what is not, in spite of these natural variations.Most Shea Butter comes from West Africa or Ghana.

How can I tell if something is good Shea Butter?

Pure Shea Butter differs in the methods of extraction used to get it from the nut.  Also, Shea Butter is often graded.
  • 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.
How should Shea Butter smell?
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.
How do I store Shea Butter?
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).
What color should my Shea Butter be?
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? 
african-american-skincare
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:
  • Great for daily moisturizing of the face and body (face and body)
  • Relieving dry skin
  • Moisturizing a dry scalp
  • Soothing minor rashes, including diaper rash
  • Minimize skin peeling after sunburn
  • Healing blemishes and wrinkles
  • Relieving itching due to dryness
  • Soothing sunburn
  • Can be used prior to shaving to minimize razor burn
  • Treat small skin wounds
  • Soften and heal cracking skin
  • Soften callouses on feet, especially heels
  • Prevent stretch marks from pregnancy
  • Healing minor burns
  • Treating mild to moderate eczema
  • Protect the skin (especially lips) from sun and wind
  • Smooth out skin tone
  • Prevent or minimize blemishes and scarring
  • Stop scalp irritation due to dryness or chemical processing such as dying or relaxers
  • Preventing bumps after shaving
  • Treating acne (especially when used with African Black Soap)
  • Easily absorbed (non-comedogenic).  Absorbs without blocking pores
  • Maintains and restores skin’s natural elasticity
  • Brings shine luster to hair

 

How does Shea Butter benefit my hair?

Shea Butter provides moisture to dry or damaged hair from the roots to the very tips, repairing and protecting against weather damage, dryness and brittleness.  It also absorbs quickly and completely into the scalp to re-hydrate without clogging pores.  It is particularly beneficial for processed and heat-treated hair.  It is an excellent treatment for dry scalp. It restores luster to damaged hair. For this reason, Shea Butter is an excellent ingredient in hair moisturizers, shampoos and conditioners.

Is all Shea Butter the same?

All Shea Butter is not the same.  Shea Butter loses some of its healing properties as it sits on the shelf, so very old Shea Butter is not as beneficial. Refining techniques will vary.  Highly processed Shea Butter will not be as effective.  Sometimes Shea Butter is mixed with other ingredients that reduce its benefits.  Then, there are those products that add very little Shea Butter but prominently display “Shea Butter” on the label.  While Shea Butter is not very expensive, you should be aware of products that claim to provide the benefits of Shea Butter and sell for very low prices.  Many manufacturers are taking advantage of the Shea Butter buzz by adding a little Shea Butter to a very inexpensive product implying you can get the benefits of Shea Butter in their product.
What are you waiting for? Go on, Buy some Shea butter today, stick to it and begin to enjoy its amazing benefits for your entire Skin and Hair.
iamGeek

iamGeek

I know a lot of things that you don’t. The fun part is, i am willing to share all these Life changing resources with you, one Geeky word at a Time!

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