Shea butter – good for the soul and the skin

I really could wax lyrical about the wonders of shea butter (as my friends would no doubt agree!). To me, it’s proof that nature really has provided everything we need for our skin care. It nourishes dry skin, soothes sore, cracked patches and can help to treat a myriad of skin complaints, including eczema. Shea butter is also a natural anti-inflammatory, so can ease insect bites, sunburn and allergy-related rashes.

AfricaWomanOne of the reasons shea butter is such a miracle worker is that it’s packed with vitamins, including A, E and F. You can use it all over your body, including your lips, although it can be too rich for everyday face care. As well as healing damaged skin, shea butter can prevent damage in the first place; such as helping you to avoid stretch marks and deep wrinkles for example. And it’s not just great for your skin, shea butter makes an effective nappy cream. In 2011 our Baby Bottom Butter won Best Nappy Cream in the Green Parent Magazine Natural Beauty Awards (not that we like to boast!). Oh and it’s a great alternative to astringent shaving foam.

Shea butter is pretty well known for its skincare properties, but did you know that it can also be used as a hair conditioner? It’s particularly suited to afro-textured, or very damaged locks.

As with olive oil, shea butter is a very sustainable beauty ingredient, as the trees are not harmed when the nuts are harvested.
But not all shea butter is created equal. Some has sadly been processed to a shadow of its former glory. Some has come from less than ethical sources. And some is so diluted in body butters that it’s hardly worth including on the ingredients list. Our shea butter, on the other hand, is as pure as you would expect from us. It’s organic, and hasn’t been chemically processed, bleached or diluted. As with most of our products, it’s also fairly traded, so you get great results, and the suppliers get a fair price.

Did you know that in some parts of the world shea nuts are referred to as ‘women’s gold’? It’s usually women who gather them and often the nuts are their only source of income. We buy our shea butter direct from women’s co-operatives in Ghana. The women gather the nuts of the African karité tree, then extract the shea butter using age-old methods. The women receive a decent price for the butter, which means that they can choose to send their children to school, rather than out to work.

Along with selling Pure Shea Butter  (half price all week!) it’s also the star ingredient in several of our skin care products and soaps, including our African Black Soap and Organic Shea and Olive Body Butter.

What do you use shea butter for? Leave a comment below, or tweet us @akamuti.

(I did warn you that I could talk about shea butter for hours didn’t I?)

Comments 3

  1. Hello! I’m a mother of two teenage girls, both with dry skin. Living in the middle of Norway the winter is long, dark and cold. Paired with showering too much I would love to make them my own body butter/ body moisturizer with some of your oils mixed with the shea butter and cocoa butter. Do you have any advice for a DIY dry skin SOS?

    1. Post

      Hello Anniken 🙂 Thanks for your comment. Yes of course, shea butter moisturisers are fantastic for dry skin and you can easily make your own at home. I recommend using 75ml-100ml of cold pressed oil, mixed with 100g of shea butter. There are lots of oils that will be beneficial, we recommend using olive, avocado or hemp. They are good choices for nourishing dry skin but the choice really is yours! First you need to melt your shea butter. Please do this over a double-boiler (a bowl standing in a pan of hot water) this prevents the shea butter coming into contact with direct heat. Once the shea butter has melted, mix in your chosen oils. Melted shea butter takes a very long time to set, so we suggest (for home use) putting the covered bowl into the freezer for about ten minutes to speed up the process! The shea butter mixture should be starting to cloud and firm up after ten minutes but keep checking it as you don’t want it to get too firm at this stage. At this point, mix it through thoroughly for five minutes with a hand mixer until smooth. You can add your own essential oils too if you like.
      I recommend cocoa butter for massage bars – they are superb for dehydrated skin. We really like this recipe: You can make it with or without essential oils. I hope this is helpful to you, happy mixing!

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