About Shea Butter

 

 Freshly picked  Vitellaria paradoxa  nuts, or "Shea nuts".

Freshly picked Vitellaria paradoxa nuts, or "Shea nuts".

What is Shea Butter?

Shea butter is a nutritious, buttery fat that comes from the nut of a tree called the Vitellaria paradoxa (formerly Butyrospermum parkii*), which grows almost exclusively in the dry savannah belt of West Africa.

The traditional method of preparing unrefined shea butter in Africa is done by first removing the outer layer of pulp from the vitellaria fruit, then separating the nut within from the outer shell. 

To make the shea nuts into the coveted butter, they are then crushed, traditionally with a pestle and mortar.

Next, the crushed shea nuts are roasted in a pot or vat over an open flame, where they must be constantly stirred to avoid burning, then they are ground while water is gradually added to create a paste. 

The paste is then kneaded in large containers while more water is gradually added to separate the oils. The oils are then removed and excess water is squeezed out. The oils are melted, again in a pot or vat over an open flame, evaporating any remaining water. 

The shea butter is then scooped out and cooled, which finally forms what we know as shea butter!

* INCI (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients) still refers to shea butter as Butyrospermum parkii, which is why it appears as such on our ingredient lists.


The Benefits of Shea Butter

Below is a list of benefits of using shea butter, which should make why we use it very clear!

Vitamin E: Makes skin soft, radiant, and healthy, reduces appearance of scars, reduces appearance of wrinkles, and rejuvenates dehydrated skin.

Vitamin A: Encourages healthy skin cell production, smooths out wrinkles, evens skin tone, clears up acne, and much more.

Vitamin F: Partly composed of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are essential to the growth and maintenance of skin cells.

Antioxidants: Fight inflammation, free radicals, which in turn allows collagen proteins to continue being being produced.

Phytosterols: Phytosterols are compounds that are similar to cholesterol, found exclusively in plants. They can shield the skin from the sun's harmful UV rays, which in turn can slow signs of aging by increasing the production of collagen in the skin.

 Shea butter and dried shea nuts.

Shea butter and dried shea nuts.