What is shea butter made from and what is it good for?
Shea butter is a natural fat extracted from the nut of the African shea tree. When it is extracted, it is ivory in colour, and if mixed with palm oil or borututu root, it turns yellow. It’s a common ingredient for hair, moisturisers or lotions. It is also edible and can be used in food preparation or recipes.
How to pronounce shea butter?
What does shea butter smell like?
As the fat stems from the nut of a tree, it has an earthy and nutty smell, with a hint of vanilla. Some people say it smells smokey to them, others don’t like the scent at all! It’s a personal preference, but it is a buttery nutty smell. It’s not the same as coca butter, which has a pure chocolate scent.MORE: What is a lip scrub? How to make a DIY homemade sugar scrub
How to use shea butter?
Shea butter is solid at room temperature but melts on contact with the skin, and has a low melting point. If you rub it between your fingers, it will melt to a slightly greasy texture you can press into the skin or run through your hair.
How to use shea butter on hair and how long to leave it on for?
Shea butter is great for an irritated or flaky scalp, and the anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce dryness on your skin. If you have problems with your scalp, you can grab a small amount of shea butter and rub it between your fingers to warm up the mixture and gently massage it into your scalp after a bath or shower. Use a small amount at first so you don’t overload your skin, you still want it to be able to breathe.
If you want to use shea butter for your hair, you can treat it like a hair mask by running it through your hair from root to tip. If you want a deep conditioning mask, leave it on for 20 minutes and then rinse out and wash away any leftover shea butter with shampoo if you feel it’s too heavy. But, if you want a general conditioning, you could leave it in your hair for up to 5 minutes once a week.
You can also use shea butter as a leave-in conditioner or hair moisturiser. Avoid putting shea butter on dry hair, because it will harden once it cools back to room temperature and it may turn dry or crusty. Instead, apply it after washing your hair while it is still damp so it absorbs nicely. Then comb through your hair so it distributes evenly throughout.
For thin, or fine hair, or strands that are not as porous, you may find shea butter doesn’t absorb as well and could leave your hair feeling or looking greasy. Test a small amount on wet or damp hair after a bath or shower to determine if it is capable of absorbing the shea butter before using it as a leave-in conditioning method.
How to use shea butter on the face
All of our vegan soap bars are infused with shea butter to add extra nourishing benefits even after use.
Although shea butter is moisturising and packed with antioxidants which have anti-aging properties, you don’t want to simply to smother it all over your face. It can clog your pores, and as everyone’s skin type reacts differently, it could even cause breakouts. But if you do want to use it on your face, it is safe to do so, as it’s a natural ingredient and safe to use in cosmetic products and even for cooking!
Try using a small amount, at night, before you go to bed and only disperse the shea butter in areas where you need it most - dry, flaky or inflamed skin. In the morning be sure to cleanse as normal to remove any of the excess shea butter, open up your pores and to remove and dirt or debris which may have attached itself to the butter overnight.MORE: What is lavender essential oil good for and how to make it at home?
How to make shea butter soap
It’s quite easy to make shea butter soap, many recipes have it included in the ingredients as it’s very moisturising, full of anti-inflammatory, anti-aging properties and is soothing on the surface of the skin. You can also add it to melt and pour soap which is already a soap base ready to use, or add it to traditional cold process lye soap. Shea butter helps to harden the soap and some people use it in replacement of palm oil in recipes.
What does shea butter do for your skin?
Shea butter is an emollient. Emollients soothe, soften and increase moisture levels. They are commonly found in creams, lotions, or gels to treat rough, itchy, scaly or scaly skin. Emollients may also be used to treat rashes or burns.
Benefits include moisturising the skin, and acting as an anti-inflammatory to soothe skin problems. It is claimed it could help the skin heal after small cuts and scrapes and fight blemish breakouts. It is full of antioxidants which some claim hold anti-aging properties.
How to melt shea butter?
If you need to melt a large amount of shea butter, a microwave or double-boiler method on the stove top should be sufficient enough. Shea butter is solid at room temperature but will melt if you have a small amount in your hand and you rub it between your fingers.
How long does shea butter last?
The typical shelf life of unrefined shea butter is said to be up to 2 years or 24 months, from the date of the packaging. If shea butter is included in a recipe of a cosmetic or skincare product, follow the guideline of best before date from the manufacturer.
How to store shea butter?
Don’t expose your shea butter to hot temperatures, direct sunlight, for long periods of time or often. Otherwise it’ll melt. Keep it in a cool and dry place - you can keep shea butter in the fridge, but it will harden.
Shop our range of vegan soap and lip scrubs which are mixed with shea butter to keep your skin and pout super smooth.