Shea butter: 6 effects, 4 uses + buying tips

It is beneficial, health-promoting and completely natural: shea butter. Applied as a cream, it works wonders on the skin. You can find out here which complaints you can use shea butter against and how to use it correctly.

Interesting facts about shea butter

The natural care product shea butter, which you probably know from drugstores, is actually already a processed product. Shea butter is extracted from the shea nuts that grow on the shea tree. The fruits actually belong to the berry family, but their appearance is very reminiscent of nuts. Although we mainly use it externally in western countries, shea butter is edible. The shea nuts consist of 50 percent fat and taste sweet, aromatic and nutty.


Shea trees are very rare and only grow at a certain latitude in tropical central Africa. Shea butter has been established there for centuries and is used both for cooking and for external use. Among the locals, it is not only considered a tasty ingredient, but also a miracle cure for joint pain, rheumatism and wounds .

Making Shea Butter

Shea butter has enormous healing powers against skin ailments and is used in cosmetics to reduce wrinkles for a reason . But in order to get the butter from the shea nuts in the first place, they first have to be painstakingly picked from the trees by hand. Then the nuts are peeled and freed from their pulp. First crushed with a mortar, the finely ground pieces are then mixed with water and kneaded into a brown paste. As a result of the process, the fat in the nuts separates out on the surface of the water over time and can then be sieved out. The shea butter you know from the store is just that secreted fat that has cooled and thereby hardened.

Unrefined vs. Refined

Whether you buy unrefined or refined shea butter makes a world of difference . Unrefined shea butter is created solely by the process described above and is therefore a natural product . Refined shea butter, on the other hand, is further processed industrially after production . This is done, for example, to make them last longer and to use them in cosmetics. The big disadvantage of the refined form, however, is that it contains significantly fewer nutrients and is therefore not as effective.

Unfortunately, the type of shea butter cannot be identified in cosmetics themselves. However, if you buy them pure, there is a simple trick to find out. You can recognize unrefined shea butter by its yellowish-white color and sweet, nutty smell. However, if the shea butter is refined, it has a pure white color because the color and active ingredient beta-carotene has been removed from it.

ingredients of shea butter

It is not surprising that the healing powers of shea butter are due to its ingredients. But there is a good reason why we mainly use it as a cream and very rarely just for cooking. Aside from the vitamins and nutrients, shea butter is made up of 11 percent unsaponifiables . The high concentration of these molecules is also responsible for most of the healing powers of shea butter. Unsaponifiable means that these molecules do not dissolve in contact with water. As a result, these substances penetrate particularly well into the deepest layers of the skinand supply the skin cells with valuable nutrients. The unsaponifiable components of shea butter include oleic acid, hydrocarbons, tocopherols and phytosterols. Shea butter also scores with the following active ingredients:

  • Allantoin : This uric acid substance is found in many cosmetics for good reason. Allantoin has an anti-inflammatory, wound-healing effect and supports cell regeneration. It reduces skin irritations and rashes, among other things.
  • Vitamin E : This valuable antioxidant is not only part of vital functions in our body. Vitamin E is also a so-called radical scavenger that protects cells from irreparable damage. In many ways, vitamin E can inhibit the formation of wrinkles and even fill out smaller wrinkles.
  • Beta-carotene : Beta-carotene is also an antioxidant and protects our cells from oxidative stress. In this way, the secondary plant substance protects our body from tumor formation and also forms a natural protection against cell damage caused by solar radiation. Only in refined shea butter is no beta-carotene present.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids : Omega 3 fatty acids are among the essential fats. They play a central role in regulating the hormone balance and also have an anti-inflammatory effect.
  • Linoleic acid : Linoleic acid is particularly valuable for our skin. It has a skin-soothing effect, ensures a stable skin barrier and thus improves the moisture balance. Linoleic acid is a component of numerous cosmetics: it keeps the skin healthy and beautiful.

Effects of Shea Butter

Applied externally, shea butter is effective against numerous ailments and diseases. For centuries it has been used primarily for rheumatism and joint pain. Numerous studies have repeatedly proven the effectiveness of shea butter for skin problems . In addition, the natural product is not only for adults: Small children and pets also benefit from the cream and do not have to fear any risks due to the natural composition .

Against wrinkles and dry skin

Dry skin is not only uncomfortable and causes feelings of tightness. It can also be to blame for the fact that wrinkles appear at a young age and become more pronounced over time. Shea butter naturally counteracts both problems thanks to its abundance of important nutrients.

Shea butter contains phytosterols . This substance is a natural part of our own fat layer and supports the skin barrier in its protection. As a result, phytosterols compensate for a lack of moisture and ensure that nutrients can be better absorbed by the skin. Shea butter keeps our skin so elastic and young . In addition, when used regularly, shea butter promotes blood circulation in the skin, which in turn supplies the outer layers of the skin with important nutrients.

Allantoin also has a positive effect on the skin: the substance stimulates cell renewal and can thus prevent premature skin aging. The antioxidants in shea butter prevent oxidative stress from attacking and destroying healthy cells. In addition, shea butter provides the skin with sufficient moisture and important nutrients. With this combination of effects, shea butter is not only a miracle cure for brittle and dry skin , but also for wrinkle formation . In fact, shea butter can even iron out minor wrinkles and smooth the face. But even if you don’t suffer from dry skin and wrinkles are not yet an issue for you, shea butter has a calming and healing effect on your skin. Because of its naturalness, people with sensitive and normal skin also benefit from the cream.

Against scars and stretch marks

Not only does shea butter provide the body with moisture and form a stable protective barrier . The butter also makes the tissue more elastic and stimulates blood circulation . These properties are particularly beneficial for people with fresh scars, stretch marks and pregnancy marks. Shea butter stimulates cell renewal and thus helps the skin to regenerate after cracks. Stretch marks can also be prevented in this way, since the skin remains elastic and does not tear as quickly.

You can intensify the positive effect by massaging the shea butter into the skin with circular, slightly pressing movements. This also stimulates blood circulation in the skin.

Against eczema and rashes

Shea butter promises to alleviate an enormous number of skin complaints. Because of its anti-inflammatory and healing active ingredients, it is a real asset for patients with eczema, neurodermatitis and rashes. Shea butter can relieve itching after just one application . Incidentally, this also helps wonderfully with sunburns – they heal faster and the itching subsides permanently.

Especially if your skin is very sensitive to cosmetics and commercial ointments, you should consider a treatment with shea butter. Because of its naturalness, there are almost no side effects.

For hair care

Shea butter is not only great for skin care. Used as a conditioner or treatment, the butter also makes hair soft and supple . It supplies both the hair roots and the hair itself with many valuable nutrients, giving it shine. It is true that shea butter cannot repair split ends because the hair is already damaged. But by using the cream regularly, you strengthen your hair and effectively prevent split ends.

By the way, shea butter is also very valuable for your scalp. Since it moisturizes, stimulates blood circulation and promotes cell regeneration, the butter is effective against dandruff and itchy scalp .

To get the most out of shea butter for your hair, all you have to do is massage the butter thoroughly into your damp hair – and of course don’t forget the scalp. Then you wrap a cloth around your head and let the whole thing soak in effectively overnight . Alternatively, you can also go to the sauna for 10 to 15 minutes. The heat allows hair and skin to absorb the nutrients even better. The next morning or after the sauna session, all you have to do is wash the treatment out of your hair thoroughly. It is enough if you use the cure once or twice a week .

For lip care

With all the effects of shea butter, it is hardly surprising that it is also an enrichment for your lip care. Especially in winter, when dry and cold air makes the lips chapped, shea butter provides an improved protective barrier and more moisture. The natural product ensures a natural shine and a pleasant feeling.

Shea butter is great to take with you in your handbag and can be applied like a balm in between .

For pets

Shea butter is not only a valuable enrichment for us humans – your pet also benefits from the care. On cold and icy days, dog and cat paws have to endure a lot of hardship. Ice, snow and road salt can irritate pets. Applied to their paws, shea butter forms a protective coat, has an anti-inflammatory effect on injuries and soothes the animal’s skin. Thanks to its naturalness, shea butter is completely harmless for four-legged friends and does not have a negative effect even if it is licked off by the animals.

Side Effects of Shea Butter

So far, side effects from shea butter have not been found in humans or in animals. On the contrary: numerous studies have repeatedly proven the health-promoting effects of the cream. So far, not a single scientist has observed a side effect.

The situation is different for commercially processed products. However, the problem here is not the shea butter itself, but the added additives in creams and cosmetics. Fragrances and preservatives can trigger allergies . A look at the list of ingredients is definitely worthwhile.

Application tips

There are countless uses for shea butter. The way depends entirely on what effect you want to achieve and what is most comfortable for you.

In the bath water

A particularly pleasant and relaxing option is to add unrefined shea butter to warm bath water. The heat allows the nutrients to penetrate the skin all over your body particularly well and your hair also gets a bit of the treatment. This relieves tension, itching and is good for the joints. It also makes the skin soft and supple all over the body .

Use pure

The simplest method is definitely the pure variant. To do this, simply massage unrefined shea butter carefully all over your body (or on the affected parts of the body). The cream works best if you massage it in early in the morning or just before bedtime. However, once a day is definitely sufficient. The butter is sometimes a bit grainy and difficult to cream. However, their melting temperature is only around 30° Celsius . That’s why you only have to rub the shea butter between your hands for a short time and then you can easily apply it to the skin.

Use in other products

Just as various cosmetics are combined with a wide variety of ingredients, you can also mix your shea butter. For example, in combination with sunscreen, it protects against UV radiation. You can also add them to your day cream or make your own cream .

Store correctly

While shea butter is a natural product, if stored properly, it can stay fresh for several years . It is important that you store them in a cool and dry place and always close them tightly . In this way, bacteria and germs have no chance. Shea butter keeps for a very long time, especially in the refrigerator .

buy shea butter

Shea butter is not just shea butter. As you now know, there is a difference between refined and unrefined products. If you have a choice, you should always buy the unrefined and therefore more natural shea butter. Unfortunately, there are often only the refined products in the drugstore, some of which even have other ingredients added. If you can’t find what you’re looking for in the store, you should look online .

Karité trees only grow in certain regions of Africa, where they are hand-picked and processed. If you find a 500 ml pack for 5 euros, then something must be wrong. In order to really pay every worker fairly , the products should be more expensive than that. So make sure that the shea butter is sealed. For example, you can use the NATURE certificate or a Fairtrade seal as a guide .

Make your own shea butter lotion

Applied pure, shea butter is already a valuable care for your skin. With the right recipe for your homemade lotion, you can maximize the effect . Of course, you can create more than just a lotion. Shea butter is just as suitable for a homemade deodorant, a hair treatment, as a lip balm or scrub.

For a particularly rich shea butter lotion, mix different oils together. Almond oil , olive oil or coconut oil are particularly suitable . Together with essential oils such as lavender or tea tree oil , the cream lasts longer and also smells particularly good. You can also mix this cream with honey , which makes the skin soft and shiny. For the cream, all you have to do is mix the ingredients with a hand blender and pour into an airtight container.

Read More  Blueberries: 6 Beneficial Effects of Blueberries

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.