So much attention has been played to coconut oil in the last few years.
It’s been labeled as the dry skin wonder solution – able to cure all your issues quickly and easily. Come to find out, it actually doesn’t really agree with my skin. Whenever I’ve tried to use coconut oil, I’ve ended up itchy, red splotches. And I’ve never liked the greasy feeling that coconut oil leaves behind. While I do keep a jar of coconut oil nearby for use in the kitchen, Shea butter has much more benefits for my dry skin.
For some reason, shea butter just doesn’t get the press that coconut oil does. It’s not hard to find, and its natural form is bursting with happy-skin fats and nutrients.
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Made from the nut inside the fruit of the African karite tree, shea butter has been used for centuries for skin and hair health. It can be used in combination with other botanical ingredients or alone.
Shea butter does have a texture to get used to. It’s almost like crumbly clay. But it softens quickly, absorbs well, and isn’t nearly as greasy as coconut oil.
It does have a distinct smoky scent. Don’t let that make you nervous. The scent doesn’t last long and if you use shea for DIY skin products, it mixes nicely with essential oils.
Shea butter really can be a skin superfood with some incredible uses for your health and body.
I’ve listed my 15 of the most useful benefits below.
Shea butter is a major ingredient in loads of commercial moisturizers and lotions. And there’s a good reason! Shea naturally includes Vitamins A and E, plus loads of good fatty acids and emollients. On its own, it helps soften skin without an oily feeling. I sometimes use it under makeup if I’m having a super dry day, but I usually apply a light layer at bedtime to work it’s magic as I sleep.
Cocoa butter has been recommended for years to diminish stretch marks. Applying shea butter can help too!
Aids in acne fighting
Shea is non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog pores. It also does have some antibacterial properties, so it’s ideal to solve minor acne flare ups.
Reduces skin inflammation
The anti-inflammatory agents and super moisturizers in shea butter have helped calm my eczema, without having to reach to other lotions with unknown ingredients.
Studies have shown that the collagen in shea can plump up facial skin, smoothing out fine lines and wrinkles. Who wouldn’t love that?!?
Shea naturally has a UV protection of SPF 6, with makes it a great addition to use alongside your other sunscreens. And if you happen to get too much sun, shea can help ease the burn, too.
Curing skin rashes
Even the most sensitive baby skin can handle shea butter, as it’s a natural source with no added chemicals. Try it to calm diaper rash!
The moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties of shea butter can soothe mild skin itches, especially when it’s a result of dry skin.
Reduce razor bumps
Shea can be used as part of your shaving routine for a super close shave, without irritating your skin.
The vitamins in shea can calm even the roughest of chapped lips. If you’re looking to make your own shea lip balm, there are quite a few recipes out there.
Repairs damaged hair
Shea butter can be melted to create a rich hair mask to help reverse all that heat-damage we put our hair through.
Soothes dry scalp
Just like the rest of your body, the skin on your scalp get super dry. Mine is the worst in the winter with all the warm, dry air in our home. Shea butter gives my scalp so much relief!
The vitamins A and E that are so great for your skin do wonders for your hair, too. It can even tame flyaways and smooth curls.
Soothes muscle aches
Add a few drops of lavender essential oil to your shea butter and you’ve got a relaxing massage lotion.
Could help with stiff joints
Unrefined shea butter has been known to loosen stiff and painful joints because of the anti-inflammatory properties. I’m going to give this tip a try the next time
When purchasing shea butter, look for the unrefined kind, since the refining process can cause the shea to lose some of its much-desired nutritional value. You may also see a grading system on your shea butter, from grade A to F. Grade A will be the best quality. Here is my very favorite brand!
One more note: It is recommended that those with nut allergies steer clear of shea butter, as it does come from a nut. And, of course, talk to your doctor or dermatologist if you have any questions or concerns about how shea can work for your skin.
Bear in mind, as with pretty much anything, what works for your neighbor or sister or best friend might not work for you. But there are so many amazing benefits to shea butter, there’s really no reason not to try it if you think it might be right for you!