How Can Shea Butter Be Used On My Skin And Hair?
Shea butter is a natural product derived from the seeds of the plant Saponaria officinalis. It is used in cosmetics and personal care products such as soaps, shampoos, conditioners, shaving creams and body washes. It is also used as a food additive in many foods such as breads, pastas and cakes. It is widely available in health food stores and supermarkets.
The main active ingredient in shea butter is lauric acid which is one of the fatty acids found naturally in olive oil. Lauric acid acts as a humectant (wetting agent) on the skin and hair, keeping them hydrated. Other ingredients include stearyl alcohol, glycerin, potassium sorbate, sodium lauryl sulfate and fragrance.
There are two types of shea butter: cold pressed and hot pressed. Cold pressing means that the plant material is extracted from the seed without any heat treatment or other chemical processes. Hot pressing means that the plant matter is heated to extract its oils, but not at high temperatures like those required for extracting lauric acid. Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages. Cold pressed shea butter contains less saturated fat than hot pressed shea butter.
This means it is softer at room temperature and a more effective emollient. The disadvantage of cold pressed shea butter is that it contains more unsaponifiables which can sometimes cause irritation and reddening of the skin (although this is not a problem for most people). Hot pressed shea butter also contains more unsaponifiables than cold pressed shea butter. It is also softer at room temperature and can be used in much the same way as cold pressed shea butter.
Shea butter can be used on the skin and hair to moisturize, soften and smooth. It is particularly effective on dry or cracked skin such as that of the heels and hands. It is a good base for making your own cosmetics and can be used as an ingredient in homemade massage oils.
Is There Any Warnings For How Can Shea Butter Be Used On My Skin And Hair?
There are no recognized side effects from the use of shea butter.
Before Applying How Can Shea Butter Be Used On My Skin And Hair?
Apply to affected area and ensure your skin is clean and dry before application.
Apply shea butter after a bath or shower when the skin is warm and more likely to absorb the ingredients in the shea butter.
You can mix equal parts shea butter with carrier oils such as sweet almond, apricot, grapeseed or coconut oil to create a blend suitable for your skin type. Oily or acne prone skin may prefer a blend with less shea butter or no shea butter at all. Allergies to nuts should be taken into consideration if you choose to use a blend with carrier oils.
You can also add your own choice of fragrance oil, essential oil or other additives to create your own blends. Just ensure the resultant product is suitable for the skin and do not use it in the eye area.
Common Recipes Using This Ingredient:
Homemade Massage Oil:
Combine one part carrier oil with one part shea butter (equal parts by volume or by weight) in a heat proof bowl. Place the bowl over a saucepan of boiling water and heat until both ingredients have liquefied. Remove from the heat and allow to cool before adding your choice of essential oils. Store in a glass jar or other container such as an aluminum tin.
Homemade Skin Lotion:
Combine two parts shea butter with one part carrier oil and store in a jar or other container. Add a few drops of essential oil such as lavender or rose before use.
Homemade Hand Cream:
Combine one part shea butter with one part carrier oil and store in a jar or other container. Apply as required.
Shea butter can also be used in the home. It can be used as a cooking oil, in candles, soaps and for lubricating door hinges.
Where Can I Find Recipes Using These Ingredients?
You can find tons of recipes on the web. Just type the ingredient name into a search engine and add the word recipe. Try (LINK REMOVED) for starters.
More Information and Reference Sites:
What is the Shelf Life Of This Product?
The shelf life of shea butter is about two years. You can tell it is starting to go bad if it develops an off smell. If you are using a blend with carrier oils you should replace the blend every six months. Store in a cool dark place such as a cupboard.
Where Can I Buy This Product?
You can buy most of these ingredients at specialty stores or online. I have included some links for you below. You can buy shea butter from many sources but if you are looking for a quality product I recommend (LINK REMOVED). It’s the same one I use and I find it to be of excellent quality.
I hope you have found this report useful. Please leave any comments or questions below. Thanks!
Buy Shea Butter:
Buy Carrier Oils:
Buy Essential Oils:
Buy Plastic Jars:
Buy Aluminum Tins:
By glena44 from Aurora, CO
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Sources & references used in this article:
Shea butter: the nourishing properties of Africa’s best-kept natural beauty secret by WG Goreja – 2004 – books.google.com
Shea butter republic: State power, global markets, and the making of an indigenous commodity by B Chalfin – 2004 – books.google.com
Quality characteristics of West African shea butter (Vitellaria paradoxa) and approaches to extend shelf-life by HS Nahm – 2011 – rucore.libraries.rutgers.edu