Shea Butter - What it is and what are its benefits?

Shea Butter - What it is and what are its benefits?

A popular addition to an enormous range of beauty products, Shea butter is a versatile substance that offers a number of different benefits. When considering which options are going to be best for you and your family for hair and skin care, good knowledge of the main active ingredients can help you make the right choices. Here we shine the spotlight on Shea butter, describing what it is, where it comes from and how using beauty products that contain it can provide considerable benefits. Read on to discover the truth about Shea butter and why you need to have products that contain it in your basket!

What is Shea butter?

Shea butter is actually an extract from the nut of the Shea tree. The Shea tree (vitellaria paradoxa) is native to Africa. An incredibly useful tree, it has historically been used not only as a source of Shea butter, but also as a source of food. Not only is the nutritious fruit which surrounds the nut eaten, particularly during the drought season when other forms of vegetation may not be so readily available, the creatures which live in the tree (for example caterpillars) are also harvested and eaten. Common across the dry west and eastern parts of the African continent (the Savannah), Shea trees are of particular economic importance in Burkina Faso, southern Sudan, northern Uganda, Senegal and parts of Ethiopia.

How is Shea butter extracted?

The Shea shell is cracked by hand to release the nut inside. After extraction, the nut is washed and left to dry. Once the Shea nuts are dry, they are cracked and broken into small pieces and roasted. This results in a dark brown paste. The paste is rehydrated: this process creates a softer consistency and ensures the paste and water are well mixed. After further washing, the paste is heated. This causes the fat from the Shea paste to rise to the top of the mixture, with the oil settling below it. Skimming removes the fat, leaving the Shea oil, which is the ingredient used in cosmetics.

Shea butter - a natural, kind cosmetic ingredient

As can be seen from the source and processing of Shea butter, it's an all-natural, plant compound that's vegan, vegetarian and cruelty-free. It's also a sustainable product: the trees aren't harmed by having their nuts harvested. Trees start producing Shea nuts once they are about twenty years old and can produce fruit year on year for centuries! All these benefits mean that it's a popular choice with people who care about the planet and want to use its resources compassionately and sustainably.

What does Shea butter contain?

Shea butter is a type of plant fat. It is a complex compound that contains a large number of different vitamins and beneficial complexes. These include healing compounds, Cinnamic acid and vitamins A, E, D and F. This enables it to offer holistic skin and hair care solutions, at the same time as being natural and gentle. If you're looking for natural skincare that really works, a product that contains Shea butter is a good place to start.

How does Shea butter act?

Shea butter acts in various ways to improve skin condition. Vitamin A helps to support the organs and the immune system and vitamin E is a well-known anti-oxidant that helps to protect cells from potentially damaging free radicals. Anti-oxidants are a particularly important ingredient of skin care preparations because the skin is frequently exposed to free radicals in the form of air pollution, industrial chemicals, cigarette smoke and similar contaminants. Vitamin D helps to support a wide range of bodily functions, whilst Vitamin F (also known as linoleic acid) is critical to skin and hair regeneration. With so many good points, it's little wonder that Shea butter is a great addition to any organic skin care product.

What benefits can Shea butter bring to skin and hair?

Shea butter can have a powerful moisturising effect, as well as providing essential compounds to facilitate cell renewal and rejuvenation. Used over time, Shea butter may contribute to smoother, healthier skin, as well as help to heal scars and other blemishes. A useful emollient offering excellent hydrating and moisturising properties, Shea butter is gentle enough to be used on the most delicate skins: a common ingredient in high-quality products for children, Shea butter is also a superb addition to moisturisers, skin repair complexes and hair products.

The lasting benefits of Shea butter

Not only does Shea butter provide almost immediate hydration, but its effects can also continue for several hours. It is easily absorbed, making it perfect for fast, low-maintenance beauty regimes. Used over time, Shea butter, along with the other active ingredients found in premium, natural products, could make a noticeable difference to the skin's appearance and health. Rather than simply producing cosmetic improvements, the compounds found in Shea butter may help to promote deep-down skin health, providing some of the building blocks needed for cell proliferation and renewal.

Where can I find Shea butter?

Many of our best-selling products contain Shea butter, offering our customers access to plant-based, authentic products that are cruelty-free, suitable for vegans and created with a responsible attitude towards the planet. From forming a key ingredient in our nappy barrier cream (a valuable aid to prevent and treat nappy rash) through to nourishing skin care lotion and a soothing repair balm which may help to soothe and heal small abrasions, bites or stings, we use Shea butter in the carefully formulated range for the smallest members of the family. For adults who want to enjoy the benefits which Shea butter may bring, why not take a look at our Super Vitals hand cream? Specifically designed to provide the intensive moisture and support which hands need to stay soft, Shea butter has been added to the formula for added hydration and to give skin cells a welcome boost. With so many benefits, Shea butter is an appealing addition to any skin or hair care product.