Ingredient Spotlight: Shea Butter
You may have seen shea butter as an ingredient listed in your body cream, soap, or hair products, but what exactly IS Shea Butter?
Shea butter is made from the nut of the West African Karite (or Shea) tree. The nuts are harvested and boiled, and the rich fat in the kernel is extracted. The processing of this nut is typically done by women, has many steps, and is VERY physical work! Check out this video to watch the process from start to finish.
Shea butter has been used to moisturize and soothe itchy, dry, and sensitive skin for thousands of years. It protects and nourishes the top layers of the skin, making a barrier against dryness. Rich in vitamins A and E, shea butter is often used to combat winter dry skin, and is known to be non-irritating to sensitive skin.
Unrefined Shea Butter vs Refined Shea ButterYou may also have heard of unrefined and refined shea butter, and wondered what the differences are.
When a butter is unrefined, it means it has been minimally extracted and processed either by hand or mechanically. The product’s healing nutrients, fatty acids, color, and odor remain intact.
When a butter is refined, it means that after being initially being extracted and processed, it is then exposed to an extremely high heat and a chemical compound called Hexane. The high heat and hexane remove microscopic impurities, odor, and color, but also some of the butters healing properties.
Both unrefined and refined shea butter are excellent moisturizers; however, at LB Love Organics we choose to use unrefined shea butter in our products like body butter, hand + body sugar scrub, and baby care. We want the moisture plus allllll those healing nutrients, and prefer our ingredients to be processed as minimally and gently as possible.
Click on the product links above to learn more!
How about you? Have you used refined or unrefined shea butter?