Shea butter has become a ubiquitous word in skin care. Many products, especially creams, lotions and body butters contain it. The benefits of shea butter for your skin are incredible due to the intensive hydration it provides, but let’s explore what exactly the healing properties are, where it comes from, and why should you use it on your skin!
Lowen’s uses shea butter in many of our products and therefore, would like to highlight the incredible benefits of this fantastic ingredient for you.
Where does shea butter come from?
The shea tree, or Vitellaria paradoxa, only grows in Africa. It is a very important product of Africa, not only feeding the locals (in Ghana), but helpful for their economy as well. Shea fruit grows on the tree within ten to fifteen years of growth. They resemble large green plums, with a tart pulp surrounding the large seed or pit, similar to that of an avocado.
Shea nut tree img source
The shea fruit signals the end of the dry season in the region. When the fruit is ready to eat, the landscape around them has changed, farming season has begun and it is a sign of abundance. Many people pick the fruits and sell them on the side of the road.
The making and selling of shea butter is a way of life in Ghana. Picking the shea fruit and making butter is typically women’s work. In this way, women can earn their own money to help provide for their families or help themselves out of poverty.
Shea butter is extracted from the seed. First, the outer shell is cracked and removed, then the nut is crushed, roasted, grinded and separated. Making shea butter is done by hand, usually by large groups of women. They don’t farm, so they are responsible for picking wild fruit, which they can then sell, or turn into shea butter.
Since they grow naturally without pesticides or fertilizer, it is a sustainable and fair way to buy shea butter as an ingredient for skin products. By sourcing our shea butter from Baraka*, we are directly supporting these women in Ghana.
The many uses of shea butter for face and body
Shea butter has been produced for hundreds of years. There is evidence it was collected and used way back in ancient Egypt. Historical figures known for their beauty rituals (including Cleopatra, Nefertiti and the queen of Sheba) are reported to have used shea butter.
Shea butter for your skin and hair
Shea butter has been used for centuries to protect the skin from harsh Savannah heat and weather. This is because shea butter is very good for moisturizing, and it protects from UV rays with an SPF of around 6.
Shea butter protects from free radicals, reduces inflammation, reduces stretch marks
Shea butter contains vitamin A, which is a great nutrient for improving the skin. Along with A, it also contains vitamin E. These are antioxidants, so shea butter can protect the skin from free radicals that advance signs of aging. It also has been found to reduce inflammation and smooth wrinkles. Shea butter can penetrate deep into skin and help in the production of collagen, stimulating it to keep skin supple and firm.
Shea Butter is fantastic for pregnant women and young mothers. Applying it regularly will help reduce the appearance of stretch marks, plus it is gentle enough to use on baby’s skin. It can soothe diaper rash and moisturize the skin after a bath.
Shea butter for hair
Shea butter is also very good for hair. When your hair is damaged, apply shea butter as a hair mask. This will assist with split ends and dryness. Applied to the scalp, it can also help with a dry scalp or dandruff
Shea butter is a natural, multi-purpose cream that is perfect for those who want to avoid harsh chemicals in their day to day lives. Not only will using it benefit you, but buying it helps the women in Africa as well.
Topical and other uses for shea butter
If you use shea butter for dry, cracked skin, you’ll start to see improvement quite quickly. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, you can use it for psoriasis, eczema, hives, bug bites, rashes, burns and cuts as well.
Shea butter can be used in cooking, particularly African cooking, as oil. It can also be used for candles, waterproofing and for medicinal ointments. Shea butter can be used in chocolate as a replacement for cocoa butter, with a very different taste.
*We source our Shea Butter from Baraka. Their Mission: “Our mission is to bring unique and high quality products to the global market in a fair, equitable and environmentally sustainable manner. By achieving this, we will create value for the entire supply chain, from the original producers through to the end users.”