Shea Butter FAQ
What is Shea Butter?
Shea Butter is only found in the tropics of West and Eastern Africa, where it often grows to a height to over 50 feet It is taken from the nuts of the Shea-Karite tree which begins to bear fruit after about 15 years; and can take up over 25 years to bear a quality crop of nuts with a high content of irremovable fatty acid. The nuts of the Shea tree are normally harvested during the rainy season and sun dried over an lengthy period of time afterwards. Once sufficiently dried, the nuts are crushed and pounded into a powder.
The powder is then boiled for four to five days to create the Shea butter. The process is the same that has been used and perfected through the centuries in Africa.
It is this irremovable fatty acid that gives Shea Butter its distinctive remedial qualities and makes it far advanced than cocoa butter and other vegetable butters. Conventionally,
The Shea Butter is then taken out of the nut by being cracked then grilled and then pounded. The Shea Butter is then boiled in water for hours until the Shea Butter rise’s to the surface. It is then scooped into gourds and left to cool and set. The Shea Butter becomes hard at room temperature although it rapidly liquefies right around body temperature. This Shea Butter is called unrefined Shea Butter or raw Shea Butter. Since Shea Butter is an all organic product, it can vary widely in quality, appearance and smell depending on where it is produced from and how it is developed or processed.
How can I tell if i have good Shea Butter?
Pure Shea Butter can be found generally in three types of groups -Shea Butter has begun to be graded. Raw or unrefined- extracted using water. The colour ranges from like cream (similar to whipped butter) to greyish yellow. This is the ingenious (original) form of Shea Butter. Developed Shea Butter- is more highly adapted some of its natural qualities are still together. Highly developed and processed- enhancers are used to increase the quantity (hexane is an example) The colour appears as a pure white.
How should Shea Butter smell?
Shea Butter has a natural smell, which is not unpleasant to most people. It can smell like mild nutty or some say like coconut or even woody in scent.
Over time the smell of the Shea Butter will diminish, If unrefined especially once it is used on the skin or if the Shea Butter is getting old. Shea Butter should not have an overbearing smell, even if it is really old.
If you do not like the smell of raw Shea Butter, you can purchase Shea Butter with essential oils of your choice which include extra healing properties such as lavender, ylang-ylang, jojoba and many more. Another option would be to use Shea Butter that has been filtered through clay. However, we would not suggest to purchase Shea Butter that has been cultivated with use of hexane or other solvents.
How do should I keep my Shea Butter?
Shea Butter does not need to be refrigerated. Bearing in mind, over a period of two or three years, the Shea Butter will begin to lose some of healing properties. As the natural ingredients begin to disappear, some of the healing benefits will be less; however the Shea Butter will continue to be an effective moisturizer. Keep Shea Butter in a cool (not necessarily cold) place. If you’re going to use it within a couple of years, which most people do they should have no problems.
What about if My Shea Butter melts?
A huge benefit of Shea Butter is its low melting peak when it is applied to the skin, it literally melts.
However, this can be a disadvantage in a hot room as your Shea Butter could start to disappear into liquid ! It If this does occur, don’t be alarmed. The Shea Butter is still useable. Just take the lid off of the container and set it in the refrigerator until it re- hardens again. As it begins to cool, you might want to give it a stir to bring the liquid parts back into contact with the hard parts so that the Shea Butter is the same throughout.
What colour should I expect my Shea Butter to be?
The colour of unprocessed Shea Butter depends on the Shea nuts used. Shea nuts will vary in colour from almost white to yellow. Meaning, processed Shea Butter will differ in colour. You will not be able to determine the genuineness or superiority of Shea Butter based soley on its appearance. There is even a naturally golden yellow colour Shea Butter. Shea Butter should never be green, extremely hard or greasy though. Most Shea Butters are creamy in colour. Shea Butter that is pure white is highly processed and could or could not have its healing qualities together dependent upon how it was refined.
What are the benefits of shea butter
Shea Butter replenishes the skin with Vitamins A, E and F. Vitamins A and E help maintain the skin and keep it clear and healthy. Shea Butter is really useful for sun injured skin. It helps prolong the appearance wrinkles and facial lines. Vitamin F acts as a skin protector and rejuvenator. It soothes coarse, dehydrated or chapped skin and helps reduce parched or broken hair. Shea Butter is high in unsaponifiables (a type of fat). Shea Butter has between 6-11% unsaponifiables. In compared to , avocado oil, a well established skin conditioner, has between 2-6%. This high level of unsaponifiables is one of the agents that make Shea Butter so resourceful in treating the conditions listed above. Also, Shea Butter easily sinks into the skin allowing it to breathe and not block the pores.
Shea Butter has a high level of cinnamic acid, and is a natural sun screen. So, it provides some degree of protection from the sun. Shea Butter is also anti-inflammatory making it useful for treating rheumatism.
While we make no medical claims about our Shea Butter, we do have subjective findings that it is very useful in treating minor skin conditions. We have had several customers who have used Shea Butter for eczema , psoriasis and other skin conditions and they told us it works as well as the prescription creams at a half of the cost and without the side effects.
How does Shea Butter benefit my hair?
Shea Butter provides moisture to dry or damaged hair from the roots to the very ends of your hair, repairing and guarding against weather conditions, dryness and fragility. It also absorbs quickly and completely into the scalp to nourish without blocking the pores. It is particularly helpful for processed and heat-treated hair. It is an excellent conditioner for dry scalp. It restores damaged hair.
Is all Shea Butter the same?
All Shea Butter is not the same. Shea Butter loses some of its healing properties as it sits on the shelf, so very old Shea Butter is not as beneficial. Refining techniques will vary. Highly processed Shea Butter will not be as effective. Sometimes Shea Butter is mixed with other ingredients that reduce its benefits. Then, there are those products that add very little Shea Butter but prominently display “Shea Butter” on the label. While Shea Butter is not very expensive, you should be aware of products that claim to provide the benefits of Shea Butter and sell for very low prices. Many companies are taking advantage of the Shea Butter trend by adding a little Shea Butter to a very low-cost products implying you can get the benefits of Shea Butter in their product.
What can I tell by looking at the label?
Ingredients on the label should be stated early on in the list. You should know the ingredients before purchasing the products and make sure it is from a reliable source.
Where can I get good Shea Butter?
You can get quality Shea Butter products right here. We carry a wide variety of products from pure Shea Butter to Shea Butter lotions, soaps, and shower gel and lip balms to name a few. All of the Shea Butter we carry is of premier quality, We have carefully sourced our Shea Butter from family farms in Mali, Senegal and Ghana. We will not extract any Shea Butter that has been processed using solvents. From June, 2010, we cultivated Grade (A) Shea Butter. This is authorised to be of the best quality by a self-governing laboratory. Our Shea Butter products are 100% organically natural unpolluted.
What’s the difference between raw Shea butter, refined Shea butter and highly refined Shea Butter?
The differences between raw, refined and highly refined Shea Butter lie in how the Shea Butter is extracted from the nut and how it is processed after that. Manual extraction processes leave more of the raw ingredients in the Shea Butter. After it is extracted, it can be further refined removing colour and impurities that some people don’t like. This further refining can also remove some of the smell. You can think of the difference between raw Shea Butter and refined Shea Butter as being similar to the difference between wheat flour and white flour.
Raw Shea Butter can even be unfiltered. That is one end of the spectrum. On the other end, there is Shea Butter
that is extracted using chemicals that is pure white, has no smell and has lost a lot of its healing properties in the process.
We use traditional methods to extract our Shea butter that have been used for centuries.
What’s better Shea Butter or Refined Shea Butter for my skin?
This is really a matter of choice. We prefer to use and educate on raw Shea Butter. As long as the smell doesn’t bother you Shea Butter, we recommend you go with raw. The more the Shea Butter is refined the higher the chance some of the “best stuff” is going to be lost
What s the best way to store my Shea Butter?
Shea Butter does not need to be kept in the fridge. However, over a period of two or three years, the Shea Butter will begin to lose some of its value As the natural ingredients begin to lose its benefits, some of the healing attributes will be reduced, but the Shea Butter will continue to be an effective moisturiser. Store Shea Butter is a cool (not essentially a cold environment) place. If you’re going to use it within a couple of years, you should have no problems.