Twelve things you need to know about Shea Butter

Twelve things you need to know about Shea Butter

  • The Shea tree is indigenous to Africa. It grows naturally in the wild in the dry savannah belt of West and South Africa from Senegal in the west to Sudan and South Sudan in the east, and onto the foothills of the Ethiopian highlands.


  • Shea Butter is a fat extracted from the nut of the African shea tree. Its 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 butter has many uses and may or may not be refined. In the West it is most commonly used as an emollient in cosmetics and is less commonly used in food. Throughout Africa it is used extensively for food, is a major source of dietary fat, and for medicinal purposes.


  • Shea butter is high in fatty acids which protect the skin’s natural barrier against water loss and help support the skin’s protective barrier. 


  • Shea butter phenolic compounds are known to have antioxidant properties. The phenolic profile is similar to that of green tea, and the total phenolic content of shea butter is comparable to virgin olive oil.


  • In Ghana and Nigeria, shea butter is a major ingredient for making African black soap.


  • Africans eat the protein-rich caterpillars of the moth Cirina butyrospermi which feed solely on shea tree leaves.  The caterpillars are widely collected and eaten raw, dried or fried -Yum!


  • Shea butter’s gentle moisturising benefits are tied to shea’s fatty acid content, including linoleic, oleic, stearic, and palmitic acids. These oils are rapidly absorbed into the skin and act as a “refatting” agent, restoring lipids and creating moisture.  This restores the barrier between your skin and the outside environment, holding moisture in and reducing the risk of dryness.


  • Shea butter contains high levels of linoleic acid and oleic acid. These two acids balance each other out. That means shea butter is easy for your skin to fully absorb and will not make your skin look oily after application.


  • It is safe and suitable for all skin types.


  • It is very low in the proteins that can trigger allergies. There is no medical literature documenting an allergy to topical shea butter.


  • Shea butter does not contain chemical irritants known to dry out skin and can therefore provide gentle moisturising and nourishment that will not clog pores or irritate the skin.
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