Shea Butter is found in the tropics of Africa. It is made from the nuts of the Shea-Karite tree. The nuts are picked, cracked, pounded and then boiled in water for several hours. The Shea Butter then begins to rise to the surface. This is then scooped and then left to cool and set.
Shea Butter remains solid at room temperature and tends to turn liquid at body temperature, thus making it easy to apply. Natural Shea Butter has a nutty smell. Its color can vary from cream to grayish yellow.
Shea Butter has various benefits. They are:
- Moisturizing for the skin.
- Relief from Dry Skin.
- Moisturizing Dry Scalp.
- Restoring Luster to Hair.
- Relief from small skin wounds.
- Effective Relief from Eczema.
- Effective as a Sun Screen.
- Avoiding Skin Peeling after Tanning.
- Removal of Blemishes and Wrinkles.
- Preventing Stretch Marks during Pregnancy.
- Reducing Acne.
The best quality African Shea Butter comes from East Africa because it is high in liquid olein and therefore easily absorbed by the skin. However, the West African Shea Butter is rich in Vitamin A which can help with stretch mark reduction.
However, it is important to know that shea butter products begin to lose their effectiveness with the passage of time. Normally, they retain their healing properties for about 2 years. But it still retains the moisturizing properties.
If your shea butter begins to smell rancid, it is best to throw it away. There is no need to refrigerate it, but the bottle needs to be stored in a cool place otherwise the butter will melt. If that happens, though, just stir the butter to mix the liquid properly, and set it in a cool place so that it sets as before.
One can find a variety of shea butter products that use processed or refined shea butter. Refined shea butter often has had the smell removed. Do check what processes have been used for refining the shea butter to avoid allergies.