Hello Beauties! I was asked by a friend, and fellow blogger, Rhonda Wylie of Cleaning out the Clutter, to research and write this article about Shea Butter. I have done some research on the internet and I have found out some interesting things about this – it seems to be a multipurpose product. At the end of this article, I will be supplying you with the internet sites I used for my research.
We will start from where this butter/cream originates. Shea butter is an off-white or ivory colored fat extracted from the nut of the African Shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa). I found that it is widely used in cosmetics as a moisturizer, salve or lotion. Shea butter is also edible and is used in food preparation in Africa; and also as a Prophylactic. Occasionally, the chocolate industry uses shea butter mixed with other oils as a substitute for cocoa butter; although the taste is noticeably different. I know, right! I never knew there were so many different uses for Shea butter.
Shea butter melts at body temperature. Proponents of its use for skin care maintain that it absorbs rapidly into the skin. I can personally say I agree with this. I have been using an organic Shea body butter and it really does absorb fast and doesn’t leave me feeling greasy. I got the Tree Hut brand at my local Wal Mart for around $5.00. It comes in different scents, I have the coconut/lime scent and I love using it. They also make hair conditioners using Shea butter for dry and brittle hair. It is also reported to have anti-inflammatory properties. Shea butter has been used as a sun blocking lotion, and has a limited capacity to absorb ultraviolet radiation. Check your sunblock ladies; there is a good possibility it contains Shea butter.
I did find out there are different grades of Shea butter, and it does make a difference in which grade you choose. The different grades come from how the butter is derived from its original form(nut). The United States Agency for International Development, Gassel Consulting, and many other companies have suggested a classification system for Shea butter, separating it into five grades: A (raw or unrefined, extracted using water), B (refined), C (highly refined and extracted with solvents such as hexane, D (lowest uncontaminated grade), and E (with contaminants). Commercial grades are A, B, C. The color of raw (grade A) butter ranges from cream (like whipped butter) to grayish yellow, and it has a nutty aroma which is removed in the other grades. Grade C is pure white. While the level of vitamin content can be affected by refining, up to 95% of vitamin content can remain in refined grades (i.e. grade C) of Shea butter, while reducing contamination levels to non-detectable levels.
To sum up, what I learned while doing my research is this:
- The traditional use of the butter is to reduce the appearance of fine lines, scars and stretch marks, and to ease a variety of skin irritations, such as psoriasis, eczema and sunburn.
- Shea butter is used all over the world.
- Purchase Shea butter only if it has the Seal of the American Shea Butter Institute (ASBI) on the container.
- Studies have shown that Shea butter is most effective in its natural state, without added preservatives, fragrances or ingredients.
- When Shea butter ages, it begins to lose its healing qualities and overall effectiveness.
- High-quality Shea butter is approved by the ASBI and certified by a marking on the container.
- If you have a known allergy to other tree nuts, you may experience a reaction to Shea butter. Consult your physician or allergist before using this product, if this is the case.
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