Have you ever had that moment at the end of the day when you get undressed and you see your dry skin. It seems like no matter how much lotion you apply in the morning your skin is still thirsty for moisture.
Shea butter will satisfy that thirst for your skin. In today’s blog we are taking a trip to West Africa, the home of the all mighty shea butter.
It has been used for centuries by locals to protect their skin.
What is shea butter and how is it made ?
Also known as butyrospernum parkii or Vitellaria paradoxa, raw African shea butter is one of the most popular African botanicals. It comes from the shea tree that can be found in 21 countries on the continent.
The fat is extracted by boiling the nuts in water, then grind into a paste until the oils start to separate.
Ps: if you have a peanut allergies the use of shea butter is not recommended.
What are the different ways you can use shea butter?
It is generally used for skin care, hair care, lip care, soap, ointment, salve, scars and stretch marks prevention.
You can apply shea butter directly on your skin as a sole moisturizer. Native users use it for dryness, muscle aches, arthritis, protection from ultraviolet radiation, baby massages and as cooking oil.
Growing up in a west african household myself anytime you mention to your parents any kind of physical discomfort shea butter is the first thing they tell you to grab!
It is so versatile and works on every skin type!
Will shea butter clog your pores?
Surprisingly enough shea butter has a comedogenic rating of 0-2 which means it will not clog your pores. It does feel heavy on your skin when you first apply it and might not absorb as quickly as other oils. Everybody’s skin absorbs at a different rate but overall it is a good butter for every skin type even people with acne-prone skin.
The butter is filled with great nutrients such as oleic & stearic acid which are highly compatible with your sebum (natural oil your skin produces). These fatty acids will help your collagen production, keep your skin moisturized and soft.
Which shea butter is best ?
There are many different kinds of shea butter, shea butter also varies in texture, smell and chemical composition depending on which countries it comes from.
Unrefined vs refined shea butter
You might have noticed that the word unrefined and refined might be in front of shea butter on labels. Let’s break down the difference between the two.
Unrefined shea butter simply means that the butter has not gone through any additional process after it was made.
At Ujamaa by Anta we do not use nor recommend using refined shea butter or any refined oil or butter for that matter. Unrefined shea butter is prefered for therapeutic reasons and it will last you longer. The Refining process can destroy some beneficial properties like the nutrients and the vitamins that the butter has.
Refined shea butter also creates more waste. To make one pound of refined shea butter you need to use two pound of unrefined butter.
The machinery to make unrefined shea butter is found in Europe which means it has to be shipped there and then go through the process.
Certain people do prefer the unrefined version because it does not have the strong nutty smell. In my personal experience I often apply shea butter directly on my entire body, the smell does not stay on you and if you mix it with other butters and oil it will camouflage the nutty smell a little bit.
Ps: I will provide you with an easy DIY shea butter whipped body butter recipe at the end.
White shea butter vs yellow shea butter
You might have seen yellow shea butter and white shea butter and asked yourself why are they different colours and does it actually make a difference in your haircare or skincare?
When shea butter is made it is white originally and then it is coloured to a golden yellow.
Yellow shea butter is coloured with palm oil or borututu. Borututu is traditional medicine made from the African tree Cochlospermum angolense. If you are not feeling too well you can apply this shea butter.
For example, maybe you have a cold or you are more tired than usual.
You can also apply it if you feel perfectly fine. It is more of a personal preference. Both colours have the same properties and quality.
East African shea butter
Less known and rarer to find East shea butter is found in Uganda and Kenya and is pressed from the nuts of East African shea trees (Vitellaria Nilotica).
Both West African and East African shea butter have great benefits. East African shea butter however has a 25% more olein content compared to West African shea butter. It also has less of a nutty smell and is creamier.
Shea butter is one of the most beloved African botanicals on the continent. You really can’t go wrong by adding it to your skincare and haircare. With the information provided today you can decide on which type of shea butter suits you best. Shea butter can last you up to two years, it will provide you with the moisture and essential fatty acids that your skin needs without clogging your pores and leave you with softer skin.
DIY Whipped Body Butter
This whipped body butter recipe is easy to make. You only really need 4 ingredients.
You can easily change the ingredients to what you already have on hand, do not hesitate to modify it to your liking.
- Coconut oil: 60g
- Shea Butter: 90g
- Mango butter: 30g
- Almond oil: 117g
- Essential oil: 3g (optional)
- Microwavable container
- Thermometer (optional)
- Jar for whipped body butter
- Measure all the butters in a microwavable container.
- Melt the butters at 30 seconds burst, remove the butters between each interval and stir with a spoon until the butters have completely melted.
- When the butters are cooler you can add the almond oil to the mix. ( if you touch the container and it is not hot it’s cool enough)
- If you have a thermometer add your essential oil under 40C. If not when the mixture is at room temperature add your essential oil.
- Put it in the fridge until it starts to harden, use a handheld whisk to fluff it out.
- When it has reached a good consistency you can store it in a jar and you have now made a whipped body butter congrats!
let us know in the comment what you think of this post and if your tried our wipped body butter!