* Prices may differ from that shown
Having fallen in love with Lush's "King of skin" I decided that I would make up a batch of my own as I could see King of skin becoming an expensive habit... King of skin contains a fair amount of cocoa and shea butters so these were sourced on Amazon.
For a total of £30 I managed to grab all of the raw ingredients (I already had a fair few of the required essential oils) one of which was this good sized pot of raw organic Shea butter from Naissance on Amazon. I had bought from the company before when replacing the organic base oils and essentials so already knew that they sold decent quality products.
I have used Shea before and loved it so I bought a large 1kg tub knowing that I could find a hundred uses for it and still want to buy more. A lot of products contain Shea, especially skin products but it is usually in negligible amounts. I prefer the real thing in its raw creamy state.
Shea butter is a very pale yellow fatty substance which is extracted from the nut of the African shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa). It is widely used in the cosmetics industry as a moisturiser and salve. It is also edible and has a sweet taste.
The extraction of Shea is a laborious process which begins with the outer pulp being removed from the nut. In Africa this is generally a very jovial and social activity and traditionally performed by women. The nut shells are cracked open using rocks and then the inner nut is crushed. The nut is then roasted in massive pots over open fires which is another laborious part of the process due to the fact that the shea needs to be constantly stirred to avoid burning and spoiling. This is hard work but this process contributes to the unique scent that shea possesses. This process has stayed the same for hundreds of years.
This was delivered very quickly by the company along with some other bits that I ordered at the same time. The butter came to me in the pot illustrated- it is white and plastic with a snap on lid. Inside the pot the butter is raw and unprocessed so expect to see big fat delicious chunks of shea butter rather than a bland cream like consistency. If you sniff the pot at this point you will witness the exotic and unique scent that shea is known for. Some people do not care much for it but I find it rather intoxicating so the first thing that I did was to grab a little bit and sniff it :)
The shea melts very easily at body temperature, in a similar way to pure cocoa butter. It leaves a very delicate scented nutty film of moisture which to my nose smells far more "chocolatey" than even cocoa butter for some reason. If I were to describe the scent then I would say it is a mixture of brazil nuts, a tiny nip of vanilla and a little creaminess. It is very delicious and can be used " as is" ie straight onto the skin like I use it.
Shea is safe and effective as a moisturiser on all skin types and is especially gentle enough for babies and children. If the smell gets too much for you then you can always lick it (which I did) and you will taste a nutty sweetness. In parts of Africa folks cook with this stuff and it tastes good.
The pot that this came in is deep enough to access the shea and the closure is tight and fast to keep the butter clean and safe. When I used it on my skin it melted in quickly and the scent lasted for ages. This is nature's scent though so is far superior to man-made rubbish.
Shea is used in all manner of salves, lotions, creams and soap. It will also be found in lip glosses and hair conditioners. I usually use shea as a base for other ingredients. Some of the chemical constituents of shea have been reported as having anti-inflammatory qualities as well as the standard emollient qualities. In Africa shea is used for candle making, for cooking and for medicinal topical treatment of aching muscles. It is also used to condition and waterproof wood (such as in Djembe drums), as hair wax and to make leather supple. Shea butter is traditionally also used as a sunblock.
Although shea is a fantastic product to have in the home for all manner of skincare, one of the other ways I use it is to shove a small inch square chunk of it in a hot bath which turns a standard bath into a very moisturising experience. The bath is always a bit slippery afterwards though so will need a clean.
I will be using my shea to make the solid body butter bars that I have fallen in love with. This will involve melting shea and cocoa butter together before adding avocado oil, sweet almond, hemp and a variety of essential oils. The liquid will be poured into moulds and set resulting in a solid body butter bar which will melt upon contact with the skin. I have enough ingredients to make around 20 big bars for £30.... a big saving on the Lush prices. I will be giving a lot away and stinking of shea for probably a year....
Shea has so many wonderful qualities and this one is excellent quality in its raw form.
Shea can be used for:
* Healing ulcerated skin, stretch marks, dryness and other skin conditions.
* It contains vegetable fats that encourage regeneration and circulation.
* General moisturisation of face, hair and body
* Shea is very high in Vitamins A, E & F.
Raw organic shea is pure and unadulterated and this one from Naissance is very high quality.
Naissance shea butter is 100% certified organic (soil association) and contains no colours, fragrances, parabens or sulphates.
I paid £17.49 for a huge 1kg tub of this on Amazon but smaller sizes are also available starting at £3.49 for 100g. I recommend this particular brand (and am not affiliated to them in any way!) for the quality of ingredients and fast turnover.
Delicious and top quality shea with a hundred uses.