Shea butter: It seems like a ubiquitous ingredient, used in everything from haircare to skincare and lotion. But how much do you actually know about this potent moisturizer? Let’s dive into more about why shea is a staple ingredient in Organic Bath Co.‘s products.
Where It Comes From
Shea butter is a solid fatty oil that is derived from the nuts of the Karite trees (also known as Mangifolia), predominantly found in Africa. The Karite tree bears the fruits; the nuts inside those fruits contain shea butter. To get that delicious butter, nuts are harvested and crushed, boiled and manipulated to extract a light-colored fat, which is commonly referred to as shea butter. Pure shea butter resembles lumps of hard caramel ice cream (yum!).
The butter can be refined or unrefined, like many oils and butter. Raw or unrefined shea butter is the purest form of shea, the most natural and the least processed. Since it is extracted manually, it is able to retain its vitamins, minerals and other natural properties.
What It Does
Shea butter is widely appreciated for its quick absorption into the skin, as it melts at body temperature. It also plays well with lots of ingredients, becoming a carrier for other potent ingredients, essential oils or plant oils, and creating a powerhouse product with restorative, healing properties. Shea butter:
- Is moisturizing: The concentration of natural vitamins and fatty acids in shea butter makes it incredibly nourishing and moisturizing for skin. It is often used to remedy dry skin and to help protect the skin’s natural oils. Because its composition is similar to that of the oil that our skin naturally produces, shea butter can hydrate more effectively than other types of butters.
- Reduces inflammation: Because of its cinnamic acid and other natural properties, shea butter is anti-inflammatory. One compound in particular, lupeol cinnamate, has been found to reduce skin inflammation and even potentially help avoid skin mutations. This also makes it beneficial for some people with acne.
- Smoothes skin: Shea butter aids in the skin’s natural collagen production and contains oleic, stearic, palmitic and linolenic acids that protect and nourish the skin to prevent drying. With longterm use, many people report skin softening and strengthening as well as wrinkle reduction.
- Contains antioxidant properties: Shea butter contains plant antioxidants, such as vitamins A and E, as well as catechins, which protect cells from free radicals and environmental damage. The cinnamic acid esters in the shea fat help in preventing skin damage from ultraviolet radiation (this also makes it a great natural sunscreen, though the SPF of shea can vary).
All of these reasons make shea butter a powerhouse ingredient for skin, especially as the weather gets chillier. What’s more, shea works on all parts of the body to soothe, heal and restore—check it out in Organic Bath Co.’s Body Butters and the Nourish Night Balm (a PERFECT skincare routine addition for the colder months).