[dropcap custom_class=”normal”] Did you know Shea Butter is one of the world’s increasingly sought after ingredient for cosmetic products? And to think this goldmine is gotten from our beautiful Africa.
Oh yes it is! Shea butter is gotten majorly from the Western part of Africa. It has endless benefits for hair and skincare amongst other things.
What makes this natural substance so special and how will it cheer you up? Come along let’s find out… [/dropcap]
Shea butter is a product of the Shea tree. The Shea tree grows naturally in about 19 countries across the African continent, from dry Savannah belt of West Africa to Sudan in the East.
These countries are; Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Togo, Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Guinea.
Scientifically, it is known as Vitellaria Paradoxa (formerly called Butyrospermum Parkii) from the plant family of Sapotaceae.
Shea butter has been in existence for centuries and some considered it a sacred tree. There are some people that believe it was used by Cleopatra and the Queen of Sheba.
Shea butter is usually white or ivory in colour. The major component is fat, which is in the form of triglycerides. These triglyceride are derived mainly from stearic acid and oleic acid.
So how can this substance cheer us?
Let Shea Butter Cheer You Up
Many would give the world to see their skin glow without unnatural enhancements and have their hair thrive better than ever before. Well, guess what? You don’t have to give the world, just trust the rejuvenating power of the Shea and save the rest of the world for a rainy day 😉.
First, let’s get to know the types of Shea butter you can find around.
Types of Shea Butter
There are different types of Shea butter around. To get the optimum result from using this butter, it is important to buy the right type for the right reason.
The United States Agency for International Development and other companies for proper identification, have arrived at a globally accepted classification system. It has been classified into 5 different grades.
Grade A – Raw & Unrefined Shea Butter
Both raw and unrefined Shea butter are usually extracted using water. The raw Shea butter is when the butter is in it’s pure form, no filters, no form of refinery. Most producers of products containing Shea usually use this grade. You will find this grade of Shea to have colours ranging from cream (like whipped butter) to grayish yellow colour and smells like nuts. 
One thing to keep in mind is that it is common for the raw butter to have flecks of impurities in it. this is mostly because the raw form is not filtered. 
Unrefined Shea butter is usually confused as being exactly the same as the raw version. The reality though is that the unrefined Shea butter can be filtered. What just need to be kept in place is the qualities of the raw Shea itself.
Grade B – Refined Shea Butter
This is the type of Shea that has undergone one form of processing or the other. This type of butter also comes with the nutty aroma and the colour looks like whipped butter, but it is usually very smooth.
Due to the processes it has undergone, the refined Shea butter isn’t as healthy has it’s raw counterpart. This is mostly because some of the nutrients has been destroyed in the process of refining it.
Grade C – Highly Refined Shea Butter
This is usually very whitish in colour and has undergone several forms of processing. Butters marked as Highly refined or Ultra-Refined (Grade C) are usually extracted using solvents such as hexane.
Grade D – Lowest Uncontaminated Shea
This is the lowest grade of Shea you can find that has little/no contaminants. Also, this grade of butter has lost the nutty aroma property.
Grade E – Lowest Contaminated Shea
This grade of Shea has been stripped of so much nutrients that it now has contaminants in it.
Uses/Benefits of Shea Butter
As much as Shea butter is used for food preparation in many parts of the world, so also can it be used in the commercial or non-commercial production of cosmetics as a moisturizer, salve or lotion, lip balm etc.
It has also been known to have medicinal benefits. It is in all this wonderful ways the Shea can be used, that it will cheers us up.
Smooth & Glowing Skin: Shea butter is the key ingredient for natural skincare. You can use it in it’s raw form or as healthily processed body butters or crème. Also there are really interesting soap bars, shower gels etc. that are infused with Shea for optimum skin care.
Shea butter aids in the skin’s natural collagen production and contains oleic, stearic, palmitic and linolenic acids that protect and nourish the skin to prevent drying. With long term use, many people report skin softening and strengthening as well as wrinkle reduction. 
Natural Sun Screen: Applying Shea on you skin will help protect your skin from ultraviolet rays. It has also been found to protect the skin from harsh weather conditions such as harmattan, winter etc.
Forever Young: Ok, not exactly forever young but close. Using Shea based products or the Grade A butter itself has very good anti-aging properties.
Soothes and Heals Baby Diaper Rashes: I have experienced this first hand with my nephew. Buttocks rashes caused by reaction to diapers or excess heat can be soothed with the use of Shea butter.
Just apply the Shea (mixed or unmixed with other natural substances) on the baby’s buttocks and massage evenly.
Scalp Treatment: Massaging the scalp with Shea oil moisturises the scalp and prevent/reduce flaking (dandruff).
Stretch Marks Be Gone: It is a natural remedy for treating stretch marks. No need to worry about pregnancy stretch marks anymore, just apply a Grade A Shea butter to the affected area religiously to see results. Also good for stretch marks unrelated to pregnancy.
Medicinal Ointment: Shea butter is sometimes used as a base for medicinal ointments. Some of the isolated chemical constituents are reported to have anti-inflammatory, emollient and humectant properties.
While growing up, my mum usually massage our sprained ankles with Shea butter and we would be good as new again. According to Wikipedia, this butter is also used for the management of sinusitis and relief of nasal congestion in Nigeria. 
Where Can You Buy Quality Shea Butter?
You might be wondering, where can you buy quality Shea butter? Or need where you can get quality products that contain Shea butter. Here are some of the merchants/products I find really interesting;
1. Organic Life Plus (Beautifully Nappy)
Organic Life Plus sells 100% Raw Shea Butter (Grade A). If you want your butter untouched, unrefined etc. Organic Life Plus is your go to place for the best quality. You can find their products on Beautifully Nappy or simply call them to place your orders.
2. Mint Organic Care
Mint Organic Care produces bath soaps made with Shea, one of which is the Shea Butter and Oats bath bar. If you have a dehydrated skin, this is an excellent choice of soap for you. It has a calming and moisturizing effect on the skin. It is made from castor, palm kernel and grape seed oils alongside Shea and cocoa butter.
The bath bar is of a palm oil free recipe which is scented with Chamomile essential oil and Rice Petals Shea fragrance oil. It is further boosted with organic unprocessed oats for mild exfoliation. It is also good for skins with eczema. You can place your orders HERE now!
3. Aweni Organics
Aweni Organics produces and sell Shea butter products with the very best quality. They have products such as Shea Body Butter, Shea Moisturising Body Oil etc. You can see other products by Aweni Organics HERE
4. Inner Beautee
Inner Beautee sells 100% Organic Unrefined Shea butter (Grade A) and also works with a lot of Shea in the production of their skincare line. Some of their products containing Shea are; Shea Oil, 100% Organic Shea Olive, 100% Organic Shea Butter Lotion (Hand-Whipped), Coco Shea Lip butter etc.
If you are in Lagos or visiting, you can find them at, 18B, Emma Abimbola Cole Street off Fola Osibo Extension, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos, Nigeria. Or simply contact them here NOW
5. Midas Naturals
Midas Naturals Shea Bliss Shower gel, body butter and Shea oil are products centered around Shea butter. These combined bath, body and hair care regimen are made from premium quality Shea butter. They are moisturising, help keep your skin soft, hydrated and silky smooth.
You can see their products HERE or if you’re in Lagos or visiting you can find them at Shop S10B, The Shoppes On Market Road, Plot 7, Akiogun Road, New Oniru Market Lagos, Nigeria.
Do you want to experience the rejuvenating power of the Shea, buy from these merchants listed above.
Some may be wondering what the difference is between Shea butter and Shea oil. The major difference lies in their texture. So choosing to use the butter or the oil version basically depends on what you want to use your Shea for.
Do you need to buy other natural hair and skincare product CLICK HERE
- Dr. Axe – Repair Skin & Boost Collagen with Raw Shea Butter
- Wikipedia – Shea Butter
- eBay Buying Guides – What’s the Difference Between Raw Unrefined and Ultra-refined Shea Butter?
- Wellness Mama – 21 Shea Butter Benefits and Uses