Shea butter makes softens dry skin , makes hair smooth and lustrous, reduces stretch marks and rashes on the body and protects your skin from the harmful UV rays. It is considered ideal for natural skin care. These benefits are known for centuries. Shea butter has been used in Ghana and Mali parts of Africa since ages to protect and rejuvenate hair and skin.
What is Raw Shea Butter?
Shea butter or Butyrospermum parkii is also known as Shea-toulou, which literally translated, means tree-butter. It is only found in the tropics of Africa and is extracted from the nuts of the Shea-Karite tree.
This tree begins to bear fruit after about 15 years and can, thereon, take up to 30 years to bear a quality crop of nuts with a high content of irremovable fatty acid. It is this fatty extract that gives this raw butter its unique healing properties, making it far superior to cocoa butter and other vegetable butters.
The traditional methods of extracting Shea butter included picking the nuts, cracking them, grilling, and pounding them. They were then boiled in water for hours until the butter rose to the surface. This was then scooped into gourds and left to cool and set.
Since unrefined pure Shea butter is an all-natural product, it can vary in quality, its appearance, and smell. This depends on various aspects, most prominent being where it is produced from and how it is extracted.
However, raw Shea butter is usually a sort of clay color, taupe, or brownish yellow and smells a bit nutty. Its texture is like a salve and on coming in contact with human skin, the solid Shea butter liquefies.
Raw Shea Butter Benefits
There are many benefits of this raw butter and it is especially beneficial for dry skin. It works as a moisturizer, an anti-inflammatory, and a natural mild sunscreen. It helps in nourishing the skin with Vitamin A, E, and F. Shea butter has also been known to reduce wrinkles, with results showing skin improvement in 4 to 6 weeks of daily use.
Apart from facial skin, use this butter for hair. It acts as a natural conditioner and sealant and helps in repairing dry, damaged hair. Here are a list of benefits of this butter.
- Skin rash
- Skin peeling, after tanning
- Itching skin
- Shaving cream
- Small skin wounds
- Acne Control
- Skin cracks
- Tough or rough skin on feet
- Frost bites
- Stretch mark prevention during pregnancy
- Insect bites
- Muscle fatigue, aches, and tension
- Skin allergies
- Skin damage from heat, for example radiation treatment for certain medical problems
Raw Shea Butter vs. Refined Shea Butter
Many Shea butter lotions and creams have the term splashed prominently on their covers, with majority of them claiming this to be natural. However, beware of these claims as only raw or unrefined Shea butter is the purest and the most beneficial.
In contrast to that, refined Shea butter, found in most retail outlets, go through an entirely different production cycle than its natural counterpart. To minimize the extraction process, increase profits and alter the smell and texture.
Most manufacturers have adopted a method, where seed oil is extracted from the kernels with a chemical known as Hexane, which usually remains in the product in trace amounts.
Exposure to hexane has side effects such as dizziness,headache, nausea, weakness, unconsciousness, and abdominal pain. Also, hexane compounds are carcinogens and are classed as hazardous substances.
The process of refining the Shea butter also removes its essential fatty acids, proteins, and minerals, leaving consumers with an uselessly ineffective and potentially dangerous product.
Raw Shea butter, on the other hand, is significantly richer in vitamins, phyto-nutrients, and UV-absorbing factors. Refined Shea butter is pure white and relatively odorless as compared to the naturally yellow raw butter which has a nutty aroma.
You can order raw Shea butter products online or get it at any store. You need to store it in a dry area at room temperature, or else it will melt away. If stored in an air tight container, it has a shelf life of 12 to 18 months.
So what are you waiting for? Use natural, raw Shea butter for great looking skin and lustrous hair, instead of spending all that money on expensive counter cosmetics.