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Shea Butter And Shea Oil: Differences, Properties And Uses

A Precious Substance For The Face And Body

Authentic panaceas for skin and hair are highly appreciated in cosmetics; oil and shea butter are substances obtained by processing the seeds of Vitellaria paradoxa. This plant grows almost exclusively in sub-Saharan African areas. This tall woody Tree belongs to the Saponaceae family and is known as the “Tree of youth “because of the great virtues attributed to its seeds.

The Natural Properties Of Shea Butter

What characterizes shea butter is the high concentration of unsaponifiable substances (which can even reach 15%), far higher than that of olive and avocado oil. It is precisely this fraction, rich in provitamin A and E (with an antioxidant action), that gives the butter its renowned properties :

  1. antioxidants
  2. plasticizers
  3. emollients
  4. rejuvenating

Shea butter can also boast good UV – shielding properties and can be used as a natural sunscreen on naturally dark or already tanned skin accustomed to the sun.

And Those Of Shea Oil

Shea oil results from further processing of butter, fractionated by eliminating some triglycerides with the highest melting point. Following this procedure, the oil loses a small part of the valuable elements in the butter and, together with them, the “shielding” power while remaining a product with high nutritional properties. The properties of shea oil are mainly nourishing, regenerating, elasticizing and emollient for both skin and hair. Its consistency is also “denser” than that of other vegetable oils while being easily absorbed at the same time. 

These characteristics make it an excellent carrier for essential oils and, consequently, a perfect massage oil. Since oil and shea butter are very similar from a nutritional point of view, the choice between one and the other depends on the person’s habits or the type of skin to be treated. In general, the oil is more practical to spread and lends itself to a quick application on significant parts. On the other hand, butter is ideal for localized applications, to regenerate elbows, feet, chapped hands or lips, and around the eyes.

13 Ways To Use Shea Butter And Oil

As we have seen, shea butter and oil are vibrant and versatile natural substances that lend themselves to various cosmetic uses to regenerate, nourish, and protect the hair and skin of the face and body. Let’s see some of them.

Regenerating Face Mask

Shea butter can be used for a regenerating face mask on dehydrated skin. Heat the butter a little in a bain-marie, or work a quantity equal to a teaspoon in your hands, spread the butter all over your face, and leave it on for at least 15 minutes. If you like, add a couple drops of lavender essential oil to the shea.

Nourish Cuticles And Nails

Shea butter can be applied in small doses and massaged into dry cuticles or nails that tend to flake to regenerate them. Also, in this case, it is necessary to melt the shea in a bain-marie and then add a few drops of lemon essential oil.

Elasticizing Body And Anti-Stretch Marks

After a bath or shower, in the evening, it is possible to apply shea oil to still slightly damp skin, possibly flavored with an essential oil of your choice, to nourish it thoroughly. The constant application also favors the elasticity of the epidermis and can help prevent stretch marks.

For Very Soft Lips

Shea butter can be applied directly to the lips (like a natural lip balm ) to soften them or address any chapping. Alternatively, you can make a realistic “lip balm” by melting a teaspoon of shea in a bain-marie, adding very little olive oil, and half a teaspoon of honey. The cream obtained, once cooled, will be an excellent ally to have very soft lips.

Cracked Nose Relief

In case of cold, or due to intense cold or sunburn, it is possible to have a red nose or slightly cracked nostrils. To soothe the skin, apply a little shea butter to the point of irritation with your fingertips.

Hair Packs

Shea butter and oil are excellent pre-shampoo packs to restore vitality to damaged hair. With hair still dry, apply shea butter (melted in a bain-marie) or oil over the entire length, or if you prefer, only on the damaged ends. Leave for at least 20 minutes, then proceed with shampooing as usual.

Protect Your Hair On The Beach

Especially in the summer, when you spend a lot of time on the beach or in the pool, sun, chlorine, and saltiness can dry out your hair: shea oil, applied to the lengths, protects and nourishes your hair, thus keeping it healthy and shiny!

After Restorative Sun

Prolonged exposure to the sun dehydrates the skin and can promote premature aging. Shea butter, with its richness and nourishing properties, is ideal for restoring the epidermis after sunbathing or after a tanning lamp and preventing unsightly peeling.

Remedy For Dry Feet

Especially in the summer, when open shoes are worn more frequently, it is unsightly to have dry feet and cracked heels. To combat dry feet, and heels in particular, a small knob of shea butter can be massaged locally after softening it with your hands. To facilitate absorption, it is possible to pass an exfoliating product on the moistened feet to remove dead cells.

Exfoliator For Face And Body

Once a week, a natural exfoliating treatment can improve the skin’s luminosity: combine shea oil (or butter melted in a bain-marie) with a teaspoon of brown sugar, then apply it all over the cleansed skin of the face with gentle circular movements. For a slightly more intense effect, a little table salt can be used on the body instead of sugar.

Pampering Children’s Skin

Pure shea butter is delicate and can also be used to moisturize the skin of little ones. In particular, its emollient and regenerating properties are ideal for dealing with minor diaper rashes, dryness, and skin irritations.

Massages With Essential Oils

In addition to intensely nourishing the epidermis, shea oil is easily absorbed and can, therefore, also be used for body massages with essential oils. For an anti-cellulite massage, adding rosemary, cypress, or sage essential oils to the shea is possible.

Soothing Aftershave

The passage of the razor to shave can cause minor irritations on the skin. Also, in this case, shea butter can help: it is sufficient to apply a little of this substance locally to restore the skin, thanks to its soothing effect.

Also Read: Natural Cosmetics For Oily And Impure Skin

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