Shea butter has been used for centuries to soften and soothe skin, and it’s even gentle enough to use on the face. Records trace shea butter back to around the 1st century BC, commonly being used by ancient Egyptians. Shea butter is still used to soften hair and skin today. Shea butter not only has skin-softening properties, but can also calm down extra oily skin, and soothe acne, eczema, and other troublesome skin conditions.
Shea butter is not only safe to use on the skin, it’s also edible, so you can feel confident that you’re using only safe and natural products on your body. You may use shea butter directly from the container, or make it into a skincare lotion recipe for additional healing properties.
What is Shea Butter?
Shea butter is more of an solid fat than butter, and is extracted from the seeds or nuts from the fruits of the shea tree that is commonly grown in Africa. These seeds are dark red or burgundy in colour, and in an oval shape. A good brand of shea butter will have a slightly nutty smell.
The oil is extracted from these seeds or nuts. The process is long and complicated, but the final result is worth it. To begin, the outer pulp is removed from the fruit of the tree. The nuts are removed from the fruit and dried. The outer shell of the nuts is removed and is often done by elder women and young girls in Africa, by breaking the shells with hard rocks.
The nuts are then collected and crushed and roasted. Next, the nuts are ground into a paste. Water is added, which helps to separate the oils from the seed bits. The oil floats to the top and is removed. The oil is then melted, in order to remove the last of the water. The resulting oil is yellow in colour, and is cooled and formed into balls.
After this is done, the shea butter is now ready to be added to cosmetics, moisturizers, and soap. It may also be refined. There are five different classifications of shea butter: A, B, C, D, and E. Their value is based on their purity and how much they have been refined.
What Effect Does Shea Butter Have on Your Skin?
Shea butter has beneficial effects on your facial skin and body, as it’s 100% natural, and contains many beneficial compounds, amino acids, and vitamins. Most people tolerate shea butter and experience few allergies. It also has a nice pleasant light nutty smell, unlike some of the other natural oils on the market that people may find offensive, such as castor oil.
What Are Some of the Benefits of Using Shea Butter?
There are many benefits for using shea butter on every surface of your skin. Shea butter contains vitamins A and E which can help to relieve and cure a bad acne condition. The moisturizing properties of shea butter can also help to decrease the appearance of scars from acne.
Because of these same vitamins and compounds, shea butter can also work at lightening the skin, decreasing the appearance of any type of scars, lightening up unnatural dark spots caused by sunburns and age spots. It’s also beneficial at smoothing out stretch marks caused by pregnancy or from losing weight too rapidly, and from natural skin aging.
Shea butter can lighten and even out your skin’s pigmentation. It’s important to use it on a regular basis. You can apply it to only the problematic areas of your skin.
Shea butter can also be used on inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. One of the compounds it contains is cinnamic acid, which works as an anti-inflammatory. And since shea butter is so safe for the human body, many people may prefer this natural remedy to taking harmful prescription steroidal medication.
One of the most common complaints for middle aged people are the fine lines and wrinkles that can occur on the forehead and around the eyes. Shea butter is also beneficial at smoothing these out, as it contains oleic, stearic, palmitic, and linolenic acids that can make skin look younger. It can also prevent skin from drying out and prematurely aging, and can soften dry cuticles and chapped lips.
Another benefit of using shea butter as an ingredient in homemade cosmetics is that you’re assured of its safety. You can use it to make bar soap, make soothing lip balms and lotions, homemade deodorants, and massage butter.
Can You Use Shea Butter on Oily Skin?
Many people with oily skin are hesitant to use an oil on their face, but that is often why their face is so oily in the first place—because the oil glands are producing oil for overly dry skin. The best way to treat oily skin is to ensure it is well-moisturized.
Shea butter is one of the only plant-based oils that has a non-comedogenic rating of zero. This means you can use the oil on your face and it won’t further clog up your pores, causing acne, blackheads, etc.
Shea butter can be used on every type of skin: extra-dry, dry, normal, oily, or combination. The shea butter will actually help help transform your skin to a more well-balanced oil production level. Soon your facial skin conditions will improve, and you’ll look more attractive.
Best Recipe for Shea Butter Facial Moisturizer
If you need some extra help for an annoying facial skin condition you can make up a recipe utilizing your shea butter. It’s also beneficial to make the shea butter into more of a lotion than the harder solid butter consistency it normally has. This way it’s much easier to tuck into your bag, then remove and apply a bit of cream to your skin throughout the day. It’s also beneficial to use in dry air offices throughout the day and can provide a bit of a refresher.
Ingredients List for Shea Butter Facial Moisturizer
Collect together the following ingredients and supplies to make a shea butter moisturizer for when you’re on the go.
- 1/8 cup shea butter.
- 1/16 cup carrier oil. Choose your favourite: sweet almond oil, jojoba, or grapeseed oil.
- 3 drops of peppermint essential oil or lavender essential oil.
- One small jar with lid, glass is best. (Remember to save your used containers rather than tossing them in the recycling bin.)
- Double boiler with water in the base pan.
- Metal spoon.
Simple Method to Make Shea Butter Facial Moisturizer
Follow these steps to create your soft and calming facial moisturizer.
- Measure out your shea butter into the top saucepan.
- Double check you’ve added an inch or two of water in the bottom pan.
- Place your saucepans on the stove and turn on medium heat.
- Stir your shea butter until it melts. DO NOT LET IT BOIL!
- Remove from the heat source and turn off the burner.
- Measure out the oil, pour in the pan, and stir to combine.
- Add the essential oil drops.
- Carefully pour the mixture into your container.
- Don’t add the lid until your mixture has cooled to the temperature of the container.
- Put on lid.
- Place into the fridge and let it harden.
- Remove from the fridge once it’s reached the consistency of skin cream.
- Store at room temperature.
- Mixture should last about 3 months until you need to make more.
How to Use Shea Butter on Your Face?
Before placing shea butter on your face be sure to wash your face with a gentle soap and water, and pat dry with a fresh dry towel.
One of the best and easiest ways to use shea butter on your skin is directly from the container. Simply collect a small amount on your fingertips and rub it all over. You don’t want so much that it leaves an oily finish all over your skin, but you want enough to provide softening and soothing benefits. If you think you put on too much, simply use a tissue to blot off the excess.
If you’re using your homemade shea butter moisturizer, it should have a better blending consistency. But it may be tricky to figure out what is the right amount to apply the first time round.
For people who wear cosmetics, you can go ahead and apply foundation and blush on top of your moisturizer, after you have let your shea butter moisturizer dry for a couple of minutes.
At bedtime, you can gently smooth some around your eyes to help avoid crows’ feet. You can use a bit more than normal. as it won’t matter if you go to sleep with a slightly-oily sheen on your face.
How to Choose the Best Type of Shea Butter for Your Face
Shea butter has five different classifications or grades for shea butter.
A — This is your purest form. It’s raw, unrefined, and has been extracted from the nut through the water technique. Its appearance can be like light yellow whipped butter to a greyish yellow.
B — This is shea butter that has been refined.
C — This grade is highly refined and extracted with gas solvents added, such as hexane, rather than through a hot water process. It’s often a pure white colour.
D — A low grade but free of contaminants.
E — The lowest grade that contains contaminants.
A, B, and C are common commercial grades. The other two grades may be used for other manufacturing purposes. Grade A also has that pleasant nutty flavour, while the other grades do not.
Since shea butter is natural, the A grade can be safely consumed or used on the skin. You should aim for buying this top grade, as shea butter is still within the budget of most people. The level of natural vitamins and compounds is also at the highest in the A grade. These items can be removed from refining, which decreases the chances it will have much benefit for your skin.
When you choose a high Grade A of shea butter, you’re ensuring it’s raw and unrefined, as well as unbleached. Organic is also another consideration, as you want it to be free of harmful pesticides.
Here are a few considerations when you are buying shea butter to soften and soothe your facial skin conditions.
- Grade A shea butter means it hasn’t been filtered, so it may still contain some trace particles of the shea nut. You may slowly heat your shea butter in a pan on the stove, or in a small bowl in the microwave, then pour it through clean cheesecloth or a fine strainer to remove these particles.
- When using shea butter for recipes, after you’ve done your filtering process, pour them into silicone molds in small pre-measured amounts (for example: 1 tablespoon/15 ml etc.) to save you time in the future.
- Test your shea butter or your skincare recipes on your inner wrist first before using on your face, especially if you have other nut allergies.
- Discontinue usage if there are irritants.
- Never use Grades D or E on your skin, as these are used for other manufacturing purposes. It’s unlikely you’ll see them for sale, but beware if you do see them for sale on untrustworthy sites.
Final Facial Softening & Soothing Thoughts
Many people are choosing natural skincare remedies such as shea butter, rather than expensive branded lotions and creams that are filled with questionable chemicals. If you can’t find exactly what you love, simply purchase your jar of shea butter and mix up exactly what you want. You can choose to add essential oils, or leave it unscented if you have allergies.
Shea butter not only softens your face, but every region of your body. It can also help to heal acne and other bad skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema. Begin by trying the butter directly from the container, then advance into making your own skincare recipes. Soon you’ll be feeling better about yourself as your skin looks smoother and healthier than ever!