You all know I’m a fan of using coconut oil on my skin and hair, but another all-star moisturizer around our home is pure African Shea butter. Something about the name just sounds luxurious, doesn’t it?
Whether or not you have dry skin like me, you’ll love shea butter’s benefits. It can bring oily and combination skin types back into balance too. This luxurious Shea butter is very thick and solid at room temperature but has a buttery, rich consistency that makes it ideal to use as a natural lip balm, eye cream, or body butter.
Thanks to other unique properties, shea butter does more than moisturize and hydrate. It delivers vital health benefits like being anti-inflammatory and transporting anti-aging fatty acids right into the skin.
Many recommend it for sunburns or dark spots. It’s especially great for sensitive skin. There are so many shea butter benefits and uses!
So, what exactly is it?
What is Shea butter:
Shea butter is a fat produced from the seeds and kernels of the shea (Karite) tree. The Shea tree is native to West Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. Its butter has been used internally and externally for centuries across the continent to soothe the skin.
This ancient African remedy is off-white and solid at room temperature, but it doesn’t leave your skin too greasy. This skin superfood has been used in African remedy is off-white and solid at room temperature, but it doesn’t leave your skin too greasy. This skin superfood has been used in Africa and many other places for years to improve skin and hair. It also has a long history of medicinal use, such as in wound care and even treating leprosy.
While cocoa butter is hard at body temperature and coconut oil is liquid, Shea butter is in between them as it starts to melt at body temperature when you touch it. This unique quality makes it easier to handle, cut, and measure than other moisturizers.
Shea butter has been a huge benefit in cosmetic ingredients since the 14th century. It’s high concentration of vitamins and fatty acids combined with its easy-to-spread consistency — make it a great product for smoothing, soothing, and conditioning your skin. Shea tree butter has a strong, nutty, earthy, honey smell, likely from the cinnamic acid when you open the lid. Don’t worry, you won’t smell like Shea nuts for the rest of the day after using it.
I started using Shea butter in my daily routine just over a year ago and the difference I found in my skin has been incredible. A must try for those with or without dry skin!
What are the benefits of raw Shea butter?
The concentration of natural vitamins and fatty acids in shea butter makes it incredibly nourishing and moisturizing for the skin. It remedies dry skin and helps protect the skin’s natural oils.
2) Smooths Skin
Shea butter aids in natural collagen production and nourishes the skin to prevent drying. With long-term use, many people report skin softening and strengthening as well as wrinkle reduction.
3) Reduces inflammation
Due to its cinnamic acid and other natural properties, shea butter is anti-inflammatory. One compound lupeol cinnamate, reduces skin inflammation and even potentially helps prevent skin mutations. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it beneficial for acne.
4) Supplies Vitamins A and E
High in these nutrients, the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties on the skin may also help with dermatitis and psoriasis.
5) Provides Essential Fatty Acids
What makes shea butter unique is the fatty acid profile. In addition to cinnamic acid, shea contains oleic, stearic, linoleic, palmitic, arachidic, and linolenic acid. Together, these make it the perfect boost for cellular energy and regeneration.
6) Reduces Joint Pain
A 2016 study found that it relieves the symptoms of osteoarthritis in rats and protects cartilage from destruction and degeneration.
7) Penetrates Skin
Many studies show that it is especially good at penetrating the skin and contains 60% fat, making it highly emollient (like how almond and jojoba oil polish the skin.) It’s high in essential fatty acids, which help build the skin barrier.
8) Reduces Stretch Marks
Another benefit of Shea butter is that it is tremendously effective in getting rid of stretch marks and wrinkles. This is because it acts as a moisturizer and has skin tightening properties. The vitamins and high iron content are effective in promoting skin elasticity, which is very helpful if you’re pregnant. It’s important to remember that shea butter is best used on exfoliated skin, so be sure to take a bath or warm shower before applying the butter for the best results. Be sure to apply a thin layer of the butter, as this will allow for quicker absorption. Note that you can apply the butter up to 4 times a day, although we generally recommend that you apply it once or twice a day.
9) How to use Shea butter
On our skin:
Shea butter can be applied directly to the skin. Raw, unrefined Shea butter is easy to spread.
On our hair:
Raw Shea butter can be applied directly to your hair. If you have curly hair like I do, I like to use it as a conditioner. Just make sure your hair has absorbed most of the shea butter before rinsing. You can also use a small amount of shea butter as a leave-in conditioner.
*If you have thin hair, I recommend applying shea butter only to the ends, this way your roots won’t look oily.
10) How to use Shea butter on your face
Shea butter can be applied directly to your face before you go to sleep. Applying shea butter as part of your skincare routine in the morning might take some getting used to, but the results will amaze you.
11) Improves Beards
Shea butter is incredibly good for your beard, and many consider products made with it to be the best beard products. It contains Vitamin A and Vitamin F which are essential to keeping your hair (facial and otherwise) conditioned and moisturized, without the addition of harmful chemicals that could dry out your beard. It also stimulates hair growth, which means you’ll be able to always keep a lengthy and healthy-looking beard. Lastly, the natural antioxidant content will keep your beard clean and smelling great all the time. Win, win, win.
12) Helps soothe Diaper Rash
Keep your baby’s skin feeling soft and moisturized, without slathering on a chemical-filled lotion. Shea butter is an effective, natural moisturizer that is gentle on the skin and suited for sensitive skin types. Not only can it be useful for a diaper rash, but it can also be applied post-bath to treat dry skin conditions as well.
13) Smooth Lips
Lip gloss or lipstick may already be part of your makeup routine, but what about shea butter? With its absorbable and moisturizing effects, shea butter serves as the ideal lip balm that’s needed in the cold, dry winter months. Shea butter creates a protective layer on the lips and helps lock the moisture in the skin.
14) Restores the Elasticity of The Skin
Shea butter also improves the production of collagen in the skin. Thus, its application restores the natural elasticity of the skin besides hydrating, softening, and beautifying it. Restored elasticity also ensures reduced wrinkles and blemishes.
15) Reduce Razor Irritation and Bumps
Shaving hair using razors can often leave your skin irritated and itchy. At times, it might even develop bumps post shaving as a result of the irritation. Shea butter can help reduce this as it moisturizes and soothes the irritated skin. You can also apply the butter a day prior to shaving to smoothen the skin and hair. This will make the shaving process easier and faster and doesn’t leave any irritated spots behind.
16) Repairs Damaged Hair
A number of chemical treatments like straighteners, perms, and curlers are responsible for stripping off the natural moisture from the hair. Shea butter can help restore this lost moisture. It also protects the hair from harsh weather conditions and the harmful free radicals in the air and water. Moreover, shea butter has a low SPF that is sufficient to protect the hair from sun damage caused due to exposure to ultraviolet radiation. It repairs the damage that has already been caused by the harsh weather and the sun. This is largely since once absorbed, shea butter coats the hair shaft so that it is protected from a heat tool, or any other damaging material being passed along the hair. This is particularly beneficial for processed or coloured hair. It also protects the hair against salt and chlorine when applied before swimming.