Introduction to Shea Butter
Shea Butter's creamy texture, moisturizing properties and its exotic allure have made it an increasingly sought after ingredient for natural skin care today. You will find it in a wide array of soothing and nourishing hair and skin care products ranging from lip, skin and hair moisturizers to exfoliating creams.
Shea Butter is highly emollient, is rich in antioxidants, includes vitamins A & E and it helps to reduce the appearance of scars, stretch marks and skin discolorations. Shea Butter also offers some protection against damage from UV rays.
Most Shea Butter is sourced from West Africa. West African Shea Butter is traditionally available in unrefined (raw) and refined forms. The type of butter used can impact the final product, and there is debate over whether refined or raw Shea Butter is superior. Unrefined Shea Butter has a distinctive color and aroma that can sometimes be difficult for artisans to work with. The aroma of unrefined shea butter can clash with the desired aroma of their final product. Refined Shea Butter has been bleached and deodorized so that it is virtually odorless and has a clean, white appearance. Unrefined Shea Butter is superior to refined Shea Butter in vitamin and nutritive content because the refinement process can strip some of the valuable nutrients from the Shea Butter.
Another variety of Shea Butter, typically referred to as Nilotica Shea Butter, is sourced from Northern Uganda. Nilotica Shea Butter (Vitellaria nilotica) is far superior in texture, nutritive value and aroma than the refined or unrefined Shea Butter produced in West Africa. Depending on the source, Nilotica Shea Butter is produced in a way that uses no chemicals and is softer and creamier than West African Shea Butter. It is more readily absorbed into the skin and hair. This butter also possesses a lighter, more pleasant aroma than West African Shea Butter.
Shea Butter can be tricky for artisans to work with because warm storage conditions and traditional butter melting techniques can cause the Shea Butter to crystallize once it is brought back to room temperature.
One of our favorite ways to enjoy using Shea Butter on our thirsty skin is in the form of Whipped Shea Butter. Artisans carefully go through an array of steps ranging from melting Shea Butter to quickly and precisely cooling and whipping it while incorporating other nutritive ingredients and optional natural colorants and aromatics. The results lead to a luscious butter that looks and feels like whipped cream.
Look for Shea Butter as is or as a nutritive ingredient found in the products sold by the artisans that showcase their products on Beauty By the Batch.
Shopping for Shea Butter Personal Care Products
Beauty By the Batch is a practical resource for assisting you in finding artisans that include shea butter within their products. Begin your search by visiting the Beauty By the Batch Artisan Directory. Not only do the artisans that appear within the Artisan Directory support the efforts of Beauty By the Batch, but they have all agreed to adhere to Beauty By the Batch's Artisan Code of Conduct. By agreeing to our Artisan Code of Conduct, artisans promise to abide by truthful and accurate marketing and a number of other practices that are in the best interest of consumers.