Organic Pure Unrefined Raw Shea ButterShea butter has been in use as a beauty product for thousands of years. Its popularity has skyrocketed largely due to its versatility.

Shea butter has the most diverse variety of uses and if I had to have just one beauty product in my possession, would no doubt be my first choice.

 

What is shea butter?

 Shea butter is harvested from the nut of the African shea tree. In its purest form, which is raw and unrefined, it is rich in vitamins A & E, which are highly beneficial to the skin and hair.

 The typical shea butter you will find in your local chain retail stores is the processed or refined form of shea butter. It is often refined with synthetic ingredients and fragrances to create a creamy, aromatic cream that can be applied to the body. Unfortunately this refining process can strip up to 95% of its valuable nutrients.

 The most beneficial form of shea butter is raw or unrefined, and is nearly impossible to find in retail stores. Raw shea butter is firmer than the processed creamy versions, but lasts much longer as a little bit goes a long way.

 It is rich in fatty acids and plant sterols and works as an excellent moisturizer among other things, as it maintains hydration much more effectively than the refined versions and retains its rich vitamin and nutrient content.

 

What are the uses and benefits of shea butter?

 There are far too many uses for raw shea butter to list here. Our customers are constantly surprising me with new ideas, but I’ll share some of the most common.

  • Skin Moisturizing – Raw or unrefined shea butter is an excellent skin moisturizer. It is commonly used on rough dry feet, hands and all over the body. Because it is completely pure, allergic reactions almost never occur. It is often used as a facial moisturizer as well as it does not clog the pores and is rich in vitamins A and E. Shea butter can be applied directly to the skin or it is often melted and mixed with essential oils like jojoba and many others to enhance its value. If you desire a creamy consistency instead of the firmness of its natural state, it can be whipped to create that type of mixture. A simple search on YouTube can provide a wealth of tutorials on these methods.

  • Hair Treatments – Shea butter is commonly applied either directly to damp hair or added to a conditioner to soften and detangle hair and is often used for ethnic hair care.

  •  Healing Treatment – The third most common use is to treat dry skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis. It also works great for treating burns, especially sunburned skin.

 

What to look for when shopping for raw shea butter

 There are a wide variety of choices when shopping for unrefined shea butter. It can be quite confusing when trying to make the right choice so here are a few key things to look for.

  1.  Stay away from local chain retail stores. Your best choices will be online since nearly all of the shea butter that is sold in local stores is the low quality refined versions. Refined shea butter can lose up to 95% of its vitamin content.

  2.  Don’t be fooled by shea butter labeled as Grade A. All raw or unrefined shea butter is considered Grade A. Shea butter is often labeled Grade A as a marketing trick to get you to pay higher prices or to make the product stand out among competitors. As long as you choose raw or unrefined shea butter, you are getting Grade A.

  3.  Look for certified organic shea butter. This means that the harvesting and packaging process is free of harmful contaminants. Many shea butters are labeled organic but few are actually certified to ensure that. Ideally, look for the USDA certified organic seal to ensure you are getting truly organic shea butter.

  4.  Pay attention to the packaging. Raw shea butter is often packaged in plastic bags or plastic lined bags. If the plastic isn’t BPA free, it can possibly leech harmful chemicals into your shea butter and subsequently wind up on your skin.

  5.  Be sure to buy from a company that is socially responsible. What exactly does that mean? Shea butter is sourced from Africa and primarily harvested by women. Unfortunately when a natural resource that is in high demand like shea butter is found in a less privileged area, the local women that harvest it are often taken advantage of by being paid low or unfair wages. Be sure to look for shea butter that is either sourced from local co-ops or is fair trade certified.

 

Raw or unrefined shea butter that meets these criteria will cost you a few dollars more, but will ensure you get the purest, highest quality possible and I’m sure you will agree, it’s the right thing to do.