Shea butter is so beneficial that some African nations even call it godsend. What is special about it? Shea butter contains magical combination of fatty acid, minerals, vitamins and proteins, and all these components make shea butter a perfect moisturizer. Furthermore, it is natural product and it can be used unrefined for various purposes. If you've ever been looking for skin-care or hair-care products in a store, you had definitely seen cosmetics containing shea butter. What is this newly discovered product?
Shea butter is not a milk-based butter as we know it. It is made out of nuts of Shea tree (also known as Karite tree), that only grows in Central and West Africa. The process of manufacturing the butter is quite simple and often mechanized nowadays. Raw (unrefined) and pure shea butter is the best for all the purposes it is used for, however the most majority of shea butter exported outside of Africa is refined. Why should you care if shea butter you use is refined or not? The natural shea butter nourishes the skin and helps healing minor skin diseases; the refined butter usually has the same outcome however its effects are weaker. This happens because refining process doesn't add anything to the paste, it reduces the smell, makes the butter creamier and makes it last longer. This may sound good, but the components that provide smell and keep the natural condition have useful qualities; that's why some of the benefits are lost in process of refinement. Although it's clear that natural shea butter has more benefits, refined one is not something spoiled. The latter can be used for longer periods of time which is important especially if you don't live in Central/West Africa and you can't afford transporting fresh shea butter personally for you. Unrefined shea butter is exported out of Africa as well. Pure shea butter has all the useful properties mentioned above, but it is also used as a component of many body-care and hair-care products.
What shea butter is good for? It has been used for skin and hair protection for centuries. It is also used as lamp fuel or cooking oil, but it's mostly valued for its cosmetic and medical properties. Unlike synthetic moisturizers, shea butter doesn't make skin oily, but makes it absorb more moisture from the environment. It can be used as daily moisturizer and as lotion for dry skin. Shea butter is extremely popular among pregnant women, as it prevents stretch marks and naturally pampers the skin. It has sunscreen properties and it even can be used to heal sunburn or itching and peeling skin after sunbaths. Proper humidity makes skin regenerate faster, although each of us is unique in some way and our skin reacts different to environment and cosmetics. As a moisturizer shea butter heals minor burns, skin cracks and wrinkles. It has antiseptic properties which can help treating skin rash and reducing acne. Shea butter is also used for hair-care: it helps if scalp is dry or hair is tends to break. It strengthens the hair and makes it shinier.