Ingredient Spotlight: Shea Butter

Shea butter is one of our favorite ingredients and that’s because it has so much to offer. See why we love this vitamin-rich skin superfood and why it should be a must-have in your skincare regimen.

What is Shea Butter?

Shea butter is a natural emollient derived from the fruit seeds of the African karité, or shea, tree. With its extensive history of diverse uses in medicine, hair care and skin care, shea butter has grown increasingly popular since the 1300s, though it was used long before then by the people of Africa.

Benefits of Shea Butter

Shea butter has several beneficial properties for skin. It is naturally rich in vitamins A, E and F, and provides mild UV protection (around SPF 6). Its main components are oleic, stearic, palmitic and linoleic acids that protect and nourish skin and keep skin moisturized and smooth. People who use shea butter long-term tend to notice softer, stronger skin with fewer wrinkles. The cinnamic acids in shea butter give it its anti-inflammatory properties which provide relief for acne-prone skin and other irritations such as sunburn, rashes and cuts.

Types of Shea Butter

Shea butter can be raw, unrefined, or refined. Raw shea butter is usually a deep yellow color and has a distinctive smoky smell. It is not filtered and contains natural impurities, but provides high amounts of vitamins and nutrients that could otherwise be lost through certain refining methods.

Unrefined shea butter is beige in color and has a nutty scent. It is filtered to remove the natural impurities of raw shea butter, but its quality is not affected.

Refined shea butter is filtered and refined to remove its color and odor. It is the most common type used in skin care because of its smooth texture and subtle scent. Some manufacturers use extreme heat and chemicals to refine their shea butter, and its beneficial properties are stripped away in the process. Our shea butter, however, is safely refined using natural clays, so the finished product feels and smells luxurious without compromising all of its skin-nourishing benefits.
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