Shea Butter for Natural Skin Care
Shea butter is one of my new favorite body care products! If you’ve never heard of shea butter before, it’s acreamy, solid butter that can be used for hair and skin. It’s traditionally used in Africa, but it’s becoming really popular in natural skin care products in this hemisphere too. I got a big tub of organic, unrefined shea butter from a health food store, and I love the naturally rich smell (similar to cacao butter and honey) and the deep moisturizing effects it has on my skin. I live in Hawaii and often use shea butter as a light sunscreen too; it keeps skin lightly protected from the sun and helps you avoid the super drying effects of the salt water.
According to Organic Authority, shea butter’s magic is, “due to its high levels of cinnamates and acetates with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It also contains UV [protective] caffeic acid, along with vitamins A, E, F, and rich unsaponifiable fats that moisturize without clogging your skin.” It’s a bit tricky to work with, as you have to rub a dollop in your hands until it liquifies, then use on your face and body. It’s my favorite way to heal from my occasional summer surf-session sunburns. You can use shea butter in your hair too, especially if you have curly or kinky hair. Always be sure to buy unrefined shea butter, as it will last longer and is a more natural product.
Shea butter is also good for the economy too. In many areas of rural Africa, women are gaining access to the global economy through their production of shea butter. According to Eat. Drink… Better, “In Africa’s Western Sahel, the production of shea butter is boosting women’s entry into global markets. Women-run cooperatives across the region are tapping into the global demand for fair trade and organic beauty products by selling the skin-care cream they produce from the shea nut crop to cosmetics firms such as Origins and L’Oréal. These “responsible” companies in turn pay fair price for the products and invest in the women’s communities. Check out the non-profit Shea Yaleen to learn more about how shea butter is helping to empower women and improve economic development.
And here are a bunch of other ways to incorporate shea butter into your beauty routine.
- For skin care, try this Aloe Vera Hydrating and Repair Cream from Feel Good Style.
- This recipe for homemade whipped body butter from Rawmazing looks truly, truly divine. The author used shea butter and coconut oil for her batch, but one of the comments suggested using cacao butter too. Amazing!
- Use shea butter in your hair! Check out this awesome list of recipes from Black Girl Long Hair to learn some great ways to use shea butter.
- You can also make solid lotion bars for extra dry skin with all sorts of good ingredients. Since shea butter is solid a room temperature, it’s the ideal ingredient in these handmade lotions.