Do you know that there is a particular type of butter that can provide a ton of health benefits, and not on the inside but on the outside? Moreover, do you know that aside from being used as a regular butter, this type of butter can also improve your skin? If you don’t know the answer to these two questions, then you have come to the right place. This one of a kind butter is called shea butter.
What is Shea butter?
Shea butter is an ivory-colored type of fat that is derived from the nut of the shea tree. This particular
species of tree is commonly found in Africa, where this type of butter was first used. While shea butter may sound new to most people, it has actually been used in ancient civilisations a few thousand years ago.
In fact, historians point out that Ancient Egypt used shea butter not for cooking, but in keeping their skin looking fresh and healthy. They believe that ancient nobility used this particular butter to protect their skin and hair from the fierce rays of the sun.
To make the story more interesting, it was discovered that the funeral heads of Egypt’s pharaohs are made out of the wood of the shea tree. This is no simple detail. It just shows how significant the shea tree and the shea butter were to these ancient cities for thousands of years. It was so important that Egyptians were willing to include them in the sacred burial tombs of their royalty.
So how does it become Shea butter?
Similar to how cocoa mass is obtained from cacao beans, shea butter is derived from the nut of the shea tree. The actual process usually takes a number of steps. First, the nut would be cracked open and the outer pulp will be removed. Then, the nut, which is where the shea butter will come from, should be separated from the outer shell.
Following that procedure, the shea nuts will be crushed which is traditionally done using mortar and pestles. Then, the crushed nuts would be roasted inside huge pots. This is where continuous stirring will be needed to prevent the butter from getting burned.
Afterward, the roasted shea nuts will be ground further into a smoother paste with finer components. The person doing the process will add water and knead the paste. Then, he or she will continuously add water while kneading in order to separate the butter oils, which would float upward.
All the extracted butter oils would once again be melted in open pots where all the remaining water would evaporate. Finally, the pure shea butter would be formed into balls, ready for use.
What are the Shea Butter Benefits?
Now that the shea butter is ready to use, the next question is ‘how do you use shea butter?’ Despite its name, shea butter is more popular today in the cosmetics industry. Cosmetics, lotions, soaps, and moisturisers manufacturers often include shea butter due to its natural benefits.
In addition to becoming an ingredient in lotions, raw shea butter is also used in preparing medicinal ointments. For many centuries, it was believed that shea butter can heal various illnesses.
What’s great about shea butter is that it does not liquefy or melt at room temperatures. This makes it an ideal ingredient in lotions and other forms of hygiene products. In spite this quality, the butter immediately ‘melts’ when it gets in contact with the human skin.
In case you are wondering, here are the top 7 benefits you can get when you use shea butter for your skin and hair:
- Moisturizes the skin – Shea butter is a triglyceride fat that is derived from oleic and stearic
acids. Due to its natural properties, it serves as a natural moisturizer to the skin. When placed on the scalp, it also alleviates the formation of dandruff and protects the scalp from the harmful rays of the sun.
- It has anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory components – If you have a baby and you don’t want him or her to get diaper rashes, then use shea butter and apply a small amount. You will notice its positive results right away. Above all, you will be assured that what you are applying is 100% natural and does not contain artificial chemicals that may irritate the skin.
- Helps in keeping the skin young – Shea butter has natural contents that aid in cell regeneration. In addition, it boosts the skin’s collagen, which is the major protein present in the skin and other tissues of the body. The more you use shea butter on your skin, the more it can affect your overall skin health.
- Protects from sunburn and skin dryness – As used in early civilisations thousands of years ago, this particular butter can help protect the skin from the sun’s UV rays. Although it is still nice to apply some sunblock due to its higher SPF level, shea butter can definitely help protect from sunburn. In addition, shea butter can also solve dryness in the skin. In fact, it is a natural and common ingredient in organic lip balms.
- Aids in healing scars and stretch marks – Do you have stretch marks due to weight loss or a recent pregnancy? Are you ashamed of the scars on some parts of your body? If you have these problems, then shea butter may help solve them. The natural properties of shea butter can help in concealing or reducing the appearance of such scars and marks.
- Helpful in making homemade hygiene products – If you do not trust most of the skincare brands and products anymore, you can create your own. Fortunately, there are a number of DIY projects that can help you make your own hygiene products. In making these natural products, one of the best organic ingredients is shea butter due to its skin-loving properties.
- Helps take care of skin problems – Do you suffer from skin allergies such as dermatitis, eczema or even insect bites? Most of the time, the areas affected by these conditions get painful, itchy or inflamed. Good thing shea butter has excellent anti-inflammatory properties to help alleviate any swelling, itchiness or pain.
These are just seven of the many benefits of shea butter for the skin. It is worth noting that shea butter can also be used in preparing meals or cooking, primarily because it is first and foremost, a form of fat. However, not all shea butters are created equal and there are some considerations you should remember.
Classifying Different Types of Shea Butter
Like most natural products in the market, shea butter has also become a victim of too much refinement that its natural properties and characteristics are removed. Some consumers are not happy that it naturally has an off-white color. As a result, manufacturers try to refine the butter to make it more pleasing to look at.
If you are now beginning to look where to buy shea butter, make sure you take note of these four classifications:
- Raw and unrefined (A) – This grade of shea butter is in its purest form, and is derived through the traditional water method. In this form all of its beneficial properties are intact. Usually, Grade A shea butter is colored cream or very light yellow.
- Refined (B) – This type of shea butter is a ‘better’ version by market standards, although there is a possibility that it does not contain 100% of all the substances and properties of the pure version.
- Highly refined using the extraction solvent hexane (C) – Hexane is an extraction solvent that is used in most chemicals and oils. While using hexane to extract shea butter is generally safe, it is still worth mentioning that the chemical is among the significant constituents of gasoline. This grade of shea butter is pure white, but in some cases, more than 90% of its entire vitamin content is gone.
- Lowest grade without contaminants (D) – This is the lowest grade where no contaminants or harmful chemicals are included.
- Contains contaminants (E) – This particular grade of shea butter may not be safe for direct application.
Now that you are aware of the benefits of shea butter, you should not settle for anything less than organic shea butter. Indeed, other types may look and be presented better, but in return you sacrifice the natural contents and substances that make it beneficial in the first place.
If you are looking for a trusted source of all-natural shea butter, check out Every Bit Organic’s Raw Shea Butter. Organically extracted directly from the African shea tree, this shea butter is completely vegan and chemical-free. The brand promises that the butter is organic from its extraction to the preparation, and to the distribution stages.
To get more details about Every Bit Organic’s Raw Shea Butter, visit Love Thyself today or call (1300) 475 877. Love Thyself is an online health and wellness store in Australia that promises 100% organic products.