Where does shea butter come from?
Shea butter is a fat that comes from the seed of the shea/karité tree (Vitellaria paradoxa, Butyrospermum parki). This tree is found in East and West tropical Africa. The shea tree takes about 25 years to mature, bearing fruit once a year. The fruits resemble plums that take about four to six months to fully ripen.
My shea butter is too thick, what can I do?
Shea butter is considered to be a hard “oil” (all of the body butter are). This means it is solid at room temperature. Rubbing a pinch of it between your hands will warm it enough to make it spreadable. Also melting it in a double boiler (using two pots where one fits inside the other, where the water filled pot below creates steam that will melt the butter in the top pot) and mixing in a carrier oil (or blend of carrier oils) of your choice, then pour into a clean jar.
What does shea butter smell like?
Shea butter has a natural nutty and smokey scent. Over time this natural scent does diminish, and can be softened with essential oils (the butter itself can be soften by blending in a liquid carrier oil). If your shea butter has an unfavorable scent, that is usually due to poor quality shea nuts and/or extraction process. If the excess moisture isn’t removed properly, due to a poor extraction process, it can quickly go rancid, creating a foul smell.
Can I use shea butter on my hair?
Absolutely! Shea butter is a great conditioner for dry, brittle hair. The anti-inflammatory properties absorb into the scalp quite easily and penetrate the hair shaft with all of its fatty acids and vitamins. Be sure to use sparingly for finer hair types as it can be a wee bit heavy, and possibly suffocate the hair shaft and scalp if using too much. Thicker hair types, especially curly hair, can use it more lavishly in each treatment.
What are some benefits of unrefined shea butter for skin and hair?
Shea butter offers protection against sun and windburn, as well as dry skin. It is able to penetrate deep into the skin and hair shaft to lock in moisture while leaving a protective barrier. Shea butter is packed full of vitamins (A & E), antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. These give shea butter its anti-inflammatory, hydrating, regenerative properties.