The Magical Benefits Of Shea Butter

shea butter benefits

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We, as health conscious consumers, hear about Shea Butter on a regular basis, but few actually know what it is, where it comes from, what grades to look for, or the numerous health and beauty benefits this tiny nut holds. Believe me when I tell you, it is not just another additive in the mainstream beauty world!

UPDATE MAY 2012: At time of writing there is an incredible deal on 100% Pure & Raw African Shea Butter 8oz on Amazon. The price has been reduced from $10.99 to just $0.75! I’m not sure if the deal will still be running but click here to see if it is. 

So, what exactly is Shea Butter?

Shea Butter in it’s pure form is a yellow-grey natural fat (pictured left) extracted from the nut of the African Shea Tree (Vitellaria Paradoxa). Traditionally the fat is extracted by separating the inner fruit of the nut from the shell, by cracking it open.

The nuts are then crushed to make a nut butter, before being roasted in large pots over an open wood flame. The butter must be stirred constantly to avoid burning. When one finds organic unrefined shea butter, the smokey nutty smell can still be detected in the butter itself! When you know the history of that smell, it makes the unrefined product so much more appealing!

raw unrefined shea butter

Once the roasting is complete, the butter is ground even smoother and water is added to the mixture. The oils are separated from the paste by kneading as more water is added. The oil will float to the top, and is scooped off in a solidified state. Any remaining water is squeezed out, and the oil is then slow boiled again over an open fire to remove any traces of water. The whole process is actually a social activity taken up by women in Africa to help sustain their

communities!

In fact, for an in depth look at how Ghanaians traditionally make Shea Butter, take a look at this slideshow from the BBC.

Organic unrefined Shea Butter should be a creamy golden yellow, and waxy. It will melt in the palm of your hand back into an oil. There are five grades of Shea Butter. A-Grade being raw and unrefined all the way to E grade which is heavily refined using harmful solvents such as Hexane, and containing contaminates. C grade is the lowest one would expect to find in a consumer product. However why risk it when you can apply A grade directly on your skin?

If you can’t find A grade Shea Butter in your local health food store, then you can get it right here on Amazon. (At time of writing there is a special offer running whereby you can buy 8oz for only $0.95!)

It is a natural waterproofing agent and can safely be applied to leather, it can be used as a cooking oil, a leave in hair conditioning treatment, natural anti-frizz treatment/pomade, it has natural sun protective qualities up to approximately SPF 6 (in fact that is what African women use to protect their skin from the harsh sun and wind), it contains anti-inflammatory, emollient, and humectant properties, and perhaps the most attractive benefit of Shea Butter is the benefits it has for the skin. When it is applied directly to your face in the evening, it reduces the appearance of fine lines, age spots, scars, blemishes, dry skin, and rashes.

It may be an oil but the reverse psychology of applying oil to your face holds, is that when you feed your skin with a healthy oil… it produces less oil on its own which in turn means fewer break outs. It’s true! Ask a dermatologist. Your skin will drink it right up in as short as ten minutes, and it won’t leave your face looking greasy!

For around $10 to $15 per jar, which can last up to six months and all of these health benefits, how can you not try it? Plus, benefit from the peace of mind knowing you are putting something with only one ingredient and no harsh chemicals onto your skin, by buying organic unrefined Shea Butter you’re supporting Fair Trade in Africa, and you’re doing your wallet a favor by ditching the high priced, highly toxic face creams that make outlandish claims and probably only contain a couple drops of C grade Shea Butter.

You can buy organic unrefined Shea Butter in your local health store, or you can do it the lazy way by buying online on Amazon.

Enjoyed this post? Then you may also like these from the archives…

How To Use Shea Butter For Beautiful Hair
How To Make A Homemade Shea Butter Cream
The Top 5 Uses Of Coconut Oil
Top 3 Best DIY Body Butter Recipes
Top 5 Home Remedies For Glowing Skin 

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