The origins of shea butter

Shea Butter has been extracted from the nut of the Shea tree in West Africa and used as cosmetic and therapeutic skin care lotion for thousands of years. It’s origins go as far back as Cleopatra’s Egypt, where it was carried in large clay jars for cosmetic use. Shea butter was also a hugely popular trade item in the Middle Ages throughout West Africa and into the coastal regions. It was also traded heavily as an oil in European markets.

As trade of Shea Butter spread, it’s various uses began to diversify into things like soap and nasal decongestant. Shea Butter is edible and remains a popular substitute for cocoa butter in chocolate, though its primary function is in skicare products.

Our shea butter is organic and unrefined so it retains its natural nutty scent. It is sustainably sourced from wild karite trees from cooperatives that support artisan producers in the savannah regions of West and Central Africa.


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What makes shea butter great for your skin

Shea butter is the base ingredient for many body butters and lotions. It's a wonderful moisturiser because it contains so many fatty acids that are needed to retain skin moisture and elasticity. 

The fatty acid content of shea butter also makes it an excellent additive to soap, shampoos, anti-aging creams, cosmetics, lotions, and massage oils. Its soft, butter-like texture melts beautifully into the skin leaving it soft and nourished.

We have chosen to stock unrefined shea butter as the refined version is extracted with high heat and has had synthetic chemical solvents added. These solvents remove the antioxidants and beneficial properties from the butter. Refined shea butter is traditionally used in commercial products as it is odourless and has a long shelf life.

We recommend sticking to unrefined, pure shea butter that still holds the vital energy of Mother Earth. In this way, you will be nourishing your skin and your spirit!

 

5 ways to use shea butter for happy, healthy skin

 

As a daily moisturiser

Shea butter is protective and even has mild SPF properties (about SPF 6) to shield against sun exposure. It is perfect for keeping dry skin at bay during winter months.

If you’ve got 15 minutes to spare and a whisk to hand then check out our three ingredient, worlds easiest whipped shea butter recipe:

INGREDIENTS

  • 60ml shea butter
  • 30ml apricot kernel oil
  • 15 drops of essential oil(s) of your choice (we love lavender and bergamot for a wonderfully soothing yet rejuvenating butter)

 

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HOW TO

  • Chop the shea butter into chunks, place in a bowl and whisk until creamy.
  • Add the apricot oil and mix until absorbed into the butter.
  • Add the essential oils and whisk at full speed for around 3-5 minutes until the butter is light and fluffy.
  • Spoon the formula into an airtight container

 

As a basis for a healing ointment

Shea butter adds its own medicinal qualities but when it’s infused with healing calendula oil it’s awesome for pretty much everything. 

INGREDIENTS 

  • Calendula oil
  • Shea butter
  • Lavender essential oil

 

HOW TO

  • Use one part calendula oil to two parts shea butter by volume (i.e. use 1/3 cup of calendula oil to 2/3 cup of shea butter).
  • Gently melt the combination in a metal bowl over boiling water.
  • Let it cool for 10-15 minutes and then add 5 drops of lavender essential oil
  • Pour it in a jar and let it sit for a day or two. It will take a little bit of time for it to reach its final texture.

This ointment is brilliant for soothing cuts and scrapes as well as nappy rash. It can be confidently used with reusable nappies.

 

For healing cracked heals

Shea butter is great for healing cracked heels, torn nails and otherwise dry and irritated skin. We love to use it in a foot soak, with about 1 tablespoon added to warm water. Soak your feet until the water becomes cool and finish by massaging in more shea butter.

 

As a lip balm

Shea butter is even better than other natural products such as vegetable oils when it comes to healing chapped lips because it is thick. Some vegetable oils are thin and don’t stick to the skin on the lip meaning they easily rub off. With shea butter you don’t need to keep on reapplying as it acts as a wonderful emollient and lubricant to seal moisture into dehydrated lips.

 

As a shaving cream

Shea butter is an excellent shaving cream. It prevents razor burns, in grown hairs, stinging and other sensitivities normally experienced after shaving using commercial shaving cream.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup shea butter
  • 2 tablespoons jojoba or sweet almond oil
  • 2 tablespoons liquid Castile soap (melt from a soap bar)

 

HOW TO:

  • Melt shea butter and coconut in a saucepan over a low heat.
  • Transfer mixture to a medium-sized bowl or any size jar and place in the fridge until it’s solid.
  • Whip mixture using a hand mixer or stand mixer until fluffy (this usually takes about 3-4 minutes)
  • Add Castile soap and whip until fully combined.
  • Spoon shaving cream into an airtight container and store in a cool, dry place.

 

And there you have it! 5 easy, zero waste, ways to use shea butter for happy and healthy skin. 

Ready to experiment with more DIY recipes? Download our free, easy DIY Zero Waste Beauty Recipe ebook.

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