Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Golden Butter - Shea Butter

I have been using mostly all natural products from head to toe, since the end of 2007. I say mostly because I use some cosmetics that are not not natural, but I do not wear those products everyday. One of the first natural products that I began using was Shea Butter and African Black Soap, but I will discuss Shea Butter in this post. I have been using Shea Butter since 2004 and I am pleased with the product.

What is Shea Butter?

Shea Butter is a slightly yellowish or ivory-colored natural fat. It has a natural earthy smell, that doesn't smell that good to some, but once applied to skin the smell fades. Shea butter is used in cosmetics, moisturizers, and emollients and is edible. Shea butter is used in cooking in West Africa and is sometimes used in the chocolate industry as a substitute for coco butter.

What is the Shea/Karite Tree?

The shea/karite tree grows naturally in the wild in the Savannah regions of West and Central Africa and can take up to 50 years to mature (lives up to 3oo years). The destruction of the shea/karite trees are prohibited in most parts of West Africa, because the shea nut provides a source of food, medicine and income for the population. Shea butter is sometimes referred to as "women's gold" in Africa because many women are employed in the production of shea butter. The shea butter is obtained from the nut of the shea/karite tree by crushing and boiling the nut. See how the shea butter is produced in Central Togo. You can also view a slide show of the women producing the shea butter.

Uses of Shea Butter
  • Helps heal burns, sores, scars, dermatitis, psoriasis, dandruff and stretch marks.
  • Helps diminish wrinkles by moisturizing skin and promoting cell renewal and increasing circulation.
  • Helps with dry skin, chapped skin or lips, blemishes, diaper rashes, insect bites and stings, and dry hair.
  • Has cinnamic acid, which helps to protect the skin from UV rays. The SPF can get as high as 6.
  • Effective moisturizer and has a high fatty acid content. Melts readily into the skin and doesn't just sit there.
  • High fatty acid content makes it an awesome additive to soaps, shampoos, anti-aging creams, cosmetics, lotions and massage oils.
  • Unrefined shea butter retains its natural vitamins (vitamin A and vitamin E). Has a smell that may turn you off, but once applied the smell fades away. You won't even know you have it on.
My family has been using shea butter for quite sometime. Shea butter makes our skin smooth and soft and keeps it moisturized. I lean more toward products that have shea butter in them. I love the shea butter and other products from SheaTerra Organics, and the soaps from Nubian Heritage. The great thing about these product lines is that they offer products that are natural and organic.

Give your body a wonderful massage using shea butter...you can even add some of your favorite essential oils to the mix if you like. Enjoy!!

Until next time...