Shea Butter is extracted from the nut that grows on the African Shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa). It is a triglyceride (i.e. fat) that contains oleic acid and is off-white or ivory in colour. Shea Butter is an excellent moisturiser with healing and anti-inflammatory qualities. Its saturated fatty acids are similar to skin’s sebum making it beneficial for the scalp and skin. It has been a favourite in cosmetics such as creams and lotions, and has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands for years.
It is great for moisturising and softening the hair and can prevent breakage caused by dry and brittle hair. Raw Shea Butter can be used to treat a number of scalp and skin complaints such as dandruff, eczema and psoriasis. It recent years it has become a popular butter in the black hair community, particularly for those that are natural. This has most likely attributed to an increase in hair care products with this butter. It works as a great sealant and can be used as a hair styler for Wash and Goes and twist or braid outs.Raw Shea Butter can be either refined or unrefined. Refined Shea Butter is processed to speed up the separation of the fat from the seed. This process can also remove its nutty aroma and give the butter a white colour. Unrefined Shea Butter allows it to retain much of its nutrients and anti-inflammatory properties. It usually has a beige or yellowish colour.