Shea butter is wonderfully versatile oil. It moisturizes, heals and beautifies all at once. To get the full benefits make sure you are getting real Shea Butter.
I remember burning my hand once – it was a really bad burn – I had grabbed a skillet that had been in the oven for an hour with my bare hands while talking on the telephone. I generously applied pure Shea on the burned sections of my hand. I repeated this every hour for several hours, and then I applied it once daily for the next few days. Unbelievably, I had no blistering or scarring! No evidence at all of any damage whatsoever was present, and from that day forward I was a faithful believer in the ability of Shea butter to heal and restore the skin.
The fact that my Shea butter was pure, though, was extremely important, in retrospect.
I found out that pure Shea butter, made from the nuts of the African Karite tree, contains vitamins A, E, and F. It also contains large amounts of a natural sunscreen called cinnamic acid, and it also has a good amount of unsaponifiables, a fat that works exceptionally well with regard to skin conditions and hair care.
But be careful! All Shea butters are not the same. For instance, Shea butters that are bright white in color tend to be highly refined and therefore do not have the same amount of nutrients that unrefined pure Shea butter has. There may be no additives have been combined with the Shea butter, but the beneficial nutrients will have been removed with the highly refined white Shea butter.
What should you look for when shopping for Shea Butter?
- It should be an off white ivory (if it is bright white it is likely to be processed) or yellowish color. The colors range due to the country of origin.
- The texture should not be hard or greasy, as the vitamin E content of pure, unrefined Shea butter provides a firm yet supple quality for this amazing moisturizer.
- Pure Shea butter emulsifies quickly and easily in the hands when they are rubbed together and readily absorbs into the surface of the skin, whereas highly refined Shea butter tends to be harder to emulsify and ends up feeling more greasy.
In 2009, YouTuber Duchess Gabrielle did a very informative series on picking out quality Shea. Turns out at this time period there were vendors dying Shea yellow because the color was more popular or some people who were selling African butter and presenting it as Shea Butter. You still may encounter this. While there are some dead ringer tell tell signs that what you are getting is the real deal in some cases you simply cannot tell by just looking, so it is best that you get your Shea from a trusted source.