Shea butter is an edible substance extracted from the seeds of shea (“Vitellaria paradoxa”), a tree that grows in savannas, from East Africa to the Nile River area.
Shea fruits are harvested between mid-June and mid-September. The stone is freed from the pulp by fermentation or manually: it can then be worked following different processes to remove the woody shell. In the traditional process, the stone is dried in the sun after a previous boiling, roasting or fumigation. It is then fragmented, pounded and ground to produce a thick paste. Water is added to this paste and everything is brought to a boil temperature and then filtered to eliminate impurities.
The unrefined butter obtained in this way ranges from ivory-white to a fairly intense yellow depending on the carotenoids contained. The smell can be reminiscent of chocolate or depending on the roasting process it can be smoky. In addition to the traditional method, which is essentially manual, the oil can be extracted either mechanically by cold compression or with solvents.
Each year, a tree produces an average of 20 kg.
A curiosity related to shea tree is that its name comes from the Scottish explorer Mungo Park, who discovered the tree towards the end of the eighteenth century, during his explorations in West Africa. In all likelihood, the name derives from the African Bambara language in which 'sii' means sacred. This is why the scientific name is still Butyrospermum parkii (Latin: butyro = butter, spermum = seed).
In Africa it is considered a natural remedy, but also a real economic resource. Women, in particular, are involved in fruit harvesting and selection of seeds, crushing them and finally extracting the butter from the plant.
In the African tradition this substance is used not only in cosmetics but also as food, especially as a condiment.
There are different types of Shea butter, and what distinguishes them is the degree of purity of the dough.
Specifically, these levels of purity are 4:
-raw (or raw)
-pure (or unrefined)
In other words:
-Premium grade corresponds to raw or raw butter.
-grade A refers to pure butter.
-grade B is the refined one.
-successive degrees (C, D and E) indicate instead the more or less massive presence of contaminating elements and chemical solvents, and in almost all cases they are devoid of any beneficial effect.
For our products, we only ever use pure grade A butter from Ghana.
This butter is definitely our favorite ingredient. Here are some of its infinite properties and uses:
-Contains vitamin E, which fights free radicals and facilitates the micro-circulation of the blood on the surface of the epidermis,
-Rich in vitamin A, which prevents and fights wrinkles,
-Fights eczema, dermatitis and helps heal skin marks.
-Skin care. Contains cinnamic acid which protects against the negative effects of ultraviolet rays, has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and protective properties. It gives elasticity and tone and can be used for its effect against stretch marks.
-For your baby. Perfect for nappy redness and irritation.
-For eye and face contours. It nourishes the skin, moisturizes it, makes it elastic and promotes the production of collagen, making it moisturised and toned.
-For your hair. It is especially suitable for dry and dull straight hair, because it is able to revitalize it and make it shiny and healthy. But it's also perfect for taming curly hair.CHEZ-NOUS RECIPE
-2 tbsp shea butter
-1 tbsp coconut oil
-6 drops of lavender essential oil
Mix the ingredients in a bowl and apply this mask on the lengths of your hair. Wrap it in a warm towel. Leave it on for at least 5 hours, then rinse and apply shampoo and conditioner. A great trick for shiny, strong, and healthy hair! It may be necessary to repeat this 2 times a week for a month.
PS: this mask is also perfect for face care routine!