The American Shea Butter Institute provides valuable information regarding raw shea butter. It comes from the shea tree fruit known as Vitellaria Paradoxa. These trees originated in Africa, particularly in northern and central Togo. The fruits contain seeds where growers extract oil. Shea butter comes in refined and unrefined varieties. The first goes through a manufacturing process and mixed with selected substances. Meanwhile, The second entails manual removal of seeds.
Three Primary Uses
One may ask how to apply raw shea butter to food? Basically, you can use it as cooking oil or making chocolate. At room temperature, it can be creamy so you can easily spread the butter on bread. However, it produces a peculiar nutty and smoke-filled odor. Colors appear somewhat yellow and beige. The unprocessed version has typical characteristics – all-natural and vegan-friendly mainly for baking purposes. You may also substitute it for dairy butter on pancakes, toast, and sandwiches. Or, dissolve in a frying pan for sweet dishes or sautéing meat and fresh veggies. It also tastes good mixed with other ingredients as a sauce for pasta.
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According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), raw shea butter contains fat (120g) and calories (14g). It does not have any carbohydrates, fiber, sugar, protein, starch, and sodium. All its calories come from fat. Moreover, researchers identified these as palmitic, linoleic, and stearic fatty acids and compounds. Consuming a single (1 tablespoon) serving means you get 14 grams of fat. Likewise, users and sellers of this product claim that it has Vitamin E content which the FDA disputes.
However, it contains both saturated and unsaturated fats. Saturated refer to non-healthy fats that lead to a higher level of bad cholesterol in the blood. Health experts suggest replacing these saturated fats with their monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats for optimum heart health. At the same time, remember that consumption of too much fat, no matter how healthy, contributes to unwelcome weight gain. You may get health benefits if you consume raw shea butter. The unsaturated variety is a factor in reducing LDL or bad cholesterol. Thus, it lowers the risk of stroke and heart conditions.
The second use is for the skin. You can reap health benefits by using the product topically. It functions as an emollient to soften and make the skin smooth. It may contain elements that can help reduce inflammation. According to research studies, shea butter produces the best results during the winter season when your skin tends to become dry. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, it can deal with the following issues:
- Dark Spots
- Stretch marks
- Skin Swelling
The high concentration of fatty acids makes raw shea butter a suitable cosmetic ingredient to unstiffen skin. In short, you may use it for the face or as a toner and conditioner. The emollient properties come from the abundant tree-nut oils that seal in skin moisture. It creates a soft barrier that lasts for several hours. Some people claim it also tones down aging. If factual, this could be associated with promoting the production of collagen or lessening the breakdown of this protein.
Application on the Face
You may combine shea butter with cream as part of your routine in skincare. Apply this on your face before going to sleep. Otherwise, come up with a facial mask using butter and other ingredients.
- 1 teaspoon of raw honey
- 1 teaspoon of shea butter
- 3 – 4 drops of grapeseed oil
Make sure to wash your face thoroughly with warm water or cream cleanser before applying the mask. Stir well and spread all over your face. Leave it on for 10 up to 12 minutes. Wash your face gently with warm water and a soft washcloth for positive results.
The American Academy of Dermatology says shea butter can block the pores and possibly cause acne. Yet, it remains an effective moisturizer. In fact, many skincare items contain this butter as one of their primary ingredients. Until now, experts considered this product as a topical ingredient with fewer risks. It may trigger allergies but this should not be considered serious. The use of this product has become widespread across North America.
You can use raw shea butter as a natural conditioner for your hair. The butter’s anti-swelling properties can help in reducing discomfort and scalp irritation without congesting the pores. It’s ideal for all hair types to be a natural product. It helps relieve dry and itchy scalp as well as remove dandruff. It can provide moisture from hair roots downwards. You won’t have to worry because it benefits relaxed, heat-treated, or colored hair.
This natural product contains moisture-sealing capability that can get rid of dandruff from your scalp. Regular use of shea butter protects the hair from pollution and dirt. It seals your hair without leaving it oily. As a result, your hair stays conditioned during unfavorable weather conditions. The use of this butter reinforces the hair follicles. It helps in preventing too much hair loss and results in thicker hair. In the meantime, it provides a cover for your hair against ultraviolet rays. The low amount of Sun Protection Factor or SPF protects the hair from these harmful UV rays.
Using oil and butter may cause unpleasant effects for women with fine hair. The butter may not be suitable for thin locks since it makes hair lackluster or greasy. It can be more appropriate for loose hair texture if used in limited amounts. To apply, heat the shea butter enough to soften your hair. Spread it completely through the scalp and hair. For the best results, leave it on the hair for at least half an hour. Wash and apply shampoo and conditioner according to your preference.
A Good Option
With several uses and accompanying benefits, you can always try the shea butter in unprocessed form. Read a few articles and reviews online to get additional information about this natural product.