The Science Behind Raw Shea Butter

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Via The Beauty Brains

The number 6 best selling beauty product on this week is 100% Pure Unrefined Organic Raw SHEA BUTTER. (The one pound size for $7.00!) How pure is this stuff? Let’s look at the label.

Shea butter ingredients

Here’s the ingredient list for Pure Unrefined Shea Butter:

Shea (Butyrospermum parkii) butter

That’s it. (Apparently the Shea tree is now officially called Vitellaria paradoxa but the cosmetic ingredient name is still Butyrospermum parkii as far as we know.)

Not much of a label to look at, is there? That’s because this is a pure natural material (or as close as you’re going to get) and therefore it doesn’t have any of the standard extra ingredients you might find like solvents, preservatives, etc. Since there aren’t any other ingredients to review, let’s take a quick look at the components of shea butter.

It’s primarily made up of fatty acids including palmitic, stearic, oleic, linoleic and arachidic. The stearic and oleic acids make up about 85–90% of the total fatty acids and their relative proportion controls the butter’s consistency. Higher stearic acid means it will be more solid than liquid and the higher the oleic acid, the harder that solid is. Both of these vary depending on the growing season and location.

Uses for shea butter

You can use shea butter on your skin and hair as it is and it will make a fine moisturizer. However, it won’t necessarily replace all your lotions and conditioners because it’s not as spreadable and it doesn’t contain other ingredients you would want in a skin lotion (like humectants) or in a conditioner (like anti-stat agents.) Still, if you want a natural product that will soften hair and skin, shea is a good way to go. And you can’t beat the price. Plus, it has a whole stadium named after it!

Ladies do you use raw shea butter? Why do you love it? If you don’t use it, why aren’t you feeling it?

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59 thoughts on “The Science Behind Raw Shea Butter

  1. shea butter is very nice to the xtent dat it even added more beauty to the skin and hair also.when i started applying shea butter on my scalp i discoved my hair grew longer,shinny and black,and even softer.Not to mince words shea butter brings out hair more faster…my hair is now longer and softer.

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    • I just bought some Shea butter. How do I use it to grow my hair do I need to melt it dwn to use in my hair? Do I need to melt it dwn to use on my skin? Please email me at plz anyone that can help me out with this.

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      • Hi, I believe you can add the shea butter to your hair naturally. I like to make a mixture of shea butter, beeswax and coconut oil. I put all of these in a double boiler, and let it melt down. Once everything melts down, you can pour the mixture into a glass jar and let it solidify. Once it gets solid, gently rub some of the balm into your scalp and through your hair. Also, if you serve the internet (youtube, in particular) you should be able to find some videos that will show you how to do it. Good luck. Tamara

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        • Thanks Tamara I have been looking up different techniques for it but thanks because I’ve tried it different ways. I appreciate it though if you have anymore ideas about it please let me know and again thanks.

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    • Simply apply to your hair after washing. I mix some with water in a spray bottle to moisturize when needed, but usually at night before I wrap my hair up. (I usually twist my hair out)

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    • Shea butter is too thick to be used on your scalp. It is best used as a sealant and should not touch your scalp at all. It can clog your pores and cause flaking or dandruff.

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    • Are you suppose to wash it out or leave it on until your next wash? Does it not cause build up on the scalp. I do know that coconut oil penetrates the scalp and does not leave any build up at all

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  2. Simply put–I love shea butter! I love it’s moisturizing qualities and as well as it’s sealing benefits. When I actually take my time during my moisturizing routine, after I seal with shea butter my hair stays moisturized for days at a time. Every other day (or as needed), I’ll just follow-up with honey water and seal in that moisture with an oil. I discuss various topics as such here:

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  4. I melted my shea butter down and added coconut oil, evoo, and glycerin. It makes my hair so much softer and really defines my curls. I love it.

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    So I’ve been doing lots of research as I’m trying to have healthier natural hair. I was very excited about Shea butter and I used the link you have shared multiple times linking to one of the Amazon sellers to purchase my Shea butter. Sadly this led me to “Gold Shea Butter” but the truth is that Shea butter is NOT gold so if a vendor is selling “Gold Shea Butter” it is either Kpangnan (a different butter) or it is dyed which could potentially effect the quality of the Shea. I discovered this by watching this video:

    Coupled with going to Naptural85′s preferred Shea butter source and reading this:

    And then finishing with the wikipedia article which talks about the coloring of unrefined Shea butter:

    All this leads me to believe that many people (including this site) are being dooped by some Amazon sellers. I think what’s ultimately happening is similar to how people in America think a Yam and a Sweet Potato are the same (they aren’t) but with shady implications as I think Kpangnan is cheaper to obtain but is being marked with Shea Butter prices. I even think that the photo above may be of Kpangnan but has been continually labeled as Shea butter. I believe this is a more accurate depiction of Shea butter

    Again this is just my own internet sleuthing I have done. Does anyone else have a different understanding or interpretation of my sources?

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    • I live in Switzerland and I got mine from, my friend told me to buy it from the website. It took a while before I got it though, like 2 weeks. But I needed Shea butter desperately so I waited. Besides, all the types I purchased from eBay were adulterated.
      You can whip it before using it, that’s what I do, cause my hair feels heavy when I apply it directly. I use it for my skin too, and a bunch of other things.

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  6. I usually keep my hair braided but I’m trying to get it more manageable but my ends feel like a Brillo pad and I’m not understanding why and what can I do to make it more softer

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  8. No matter what I mix & whip shea butter with my hair hates it, unless I use it on my edges for puffs. But my skin loves this stuff. My skin has never looked better.

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  9. Shea butter is AMAZING! I whipped mine with an oil mix(coconut oil,mustard seed oil,olive oil,JBCO and palm kernel oil)..I use it for taking down braids, hot oil treatment,pre poo( I mix it up with conditioner), for twisting and sealing in moisture! For my skin..I whipped shea butter with vaseline,olive oil,mustard oil and coconut oil. I apply this on my skin after shower while my skin is still damp and cold. It makes my skin so soft and gives me a healthy glow! No looking back

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  10. Since I live in Nigeria, Shea butter is readily available. Last year, I started mixing Shea, coconut oil, palm kernel oil and a bit of Vaseline lotion for skin and hair for me and baby girl.
    We both GLOW! Then our skin is soft to touch and smooth.
    I just melt the shea butter, add the liquid oils and the lotion ( which is there to provide moisture) and then freeze so it produces a consistent paste.
    I’m so impressed with the results that I’m thinking up more recipes for my Shea skincare.

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