With the wintery weather nipping at our fingertips, we're settling in for a long, cold season - and worrying that our skin might not be too happy with the harsh conditions! We've been reaching for products packed full of organic shea butter: find out why this moisturising marvel is a nourishing treatment for skin year-round.
This silky, moisturising butter comes from the nuts of the karite tree, and is most potent in its raw, organic form, which we use for our products. The kernels are extracted from the ripe fruit, and once clean are crushed and roasted, which softens them enough to make extracting the precious oil easier. It’s quite a labour intensive process as it is, with the crushed nuts then mixed into a paste and kneaded, before being boiled and strained to extract the butter. It’s a solid at room temperature, which means it’s great to add additional soothing ingredients to, as the mixture doesn’t end up too liquidy.
So, why has this magic ingredient been dubbed a skin superfood? It has been used around the world for years as a nourishing, hydrating layer, and is full of unsaturated fats which sink easily into the skin as it melts from the heat of your body. Not only is it a fab emollient, it’s also a humectant, meaning that it will trap moisture in your skin. This makes it great to use post-shower on damp skin, and in conjunction with other moisturising ingredients: our Daily Renew Facial Cream combines shea butter with lower weight hyaluronic acid, which holds up to one thousand times its weight in water, and penetrates deeply into the skin. It also contains argan oil, which is high in both vitamin E and fatty acids, and helps to repair damaged skin and prevent further damage. The impressive antioxidants improve skin’s elasticity, lending you a plump, glowy face. Both these key ingredients are blended with shea butter precisely because it helps to keep their wonderful properties in the skin, letting you feel the most benefit from the product. It’s used in slightly lower quantities in the face cream than in our body products, as it can leave a thick, almost waxy residue on skin if overused, which is harder to rub into delicate facial skin without pulling at it.
Thankfully, shea butter is also entirely non-comedogenic, so you can rest assured that your pores won’t end up clogged! In fact, it’s a great ingredient to reach for if you frequently suffer from breakouts: it’s both healing and anti-inflammatory, so it will help to calm angry skin and lead to a sunny complexion. Conversely, the high levels of vitamins A and E, alongside the high antioxidant content, can help to prevent premature wrinkles. The antioxidants help to fight off free radicals accumulated through things like UV damage, though of course it’s not a substitute for a good SPF! Shea butter also promotes collagen production, so your skin can retain its plump youthfullness for a while.
Because of its humectant properties, shea butter tends to strengthen the properties of any ingredients it is used in conjunction with, and so can be used in a number of products, which end up with various textures to suit your preference. Our Tropical Blossom Organic Body Butter, for example, combines the thick butter with Tahitian Manoi coconut oil, which lends a slick hydration that sinks into skin, whilst restoring thanks to its antioxidant properties. It also has a delicious tropical scent, so you can uplift your mood and dream of sunnier days whilst ensuring your skin stays nourished through the winter.
Meanwhile, our Sunless Glow Lotion, which also contains a gradual self tanner. It utilises shea butter alongside erythrulose berries, which react with the keratin in skin to provide a natural, subtle glow and papaya, which exfoliates dead skin cells thanks to the vitamin A cells and Papain. The shea adds a layer of hydration, meaning your arms, legs, and even face stay silky soft and glowing - perfect for showing off! If you’re not bothered about the bronze factor, reach for one of our deliciously scented body lotions instead: available in Citrus Blend or African Orange Aromatic, both contain shea butter for sustained hydration and skin repair. They’re great options to reach for after shaving, as the shea butter soothes and calms irritated skin, leaving you razor-bump free!
So, maybe we’ve convinced you that shea butter is a skin superfood, and great in moisturisers. But can you use it in other ways too? The answer is yes: our Superfood Shine Natural Conditioner makes use of the nourishing ingredient to great effect. The butter coats strands, repairing damage from UV rays and heat and chemical treatments and protecting from future damage. It contains a mild SPF itself, and locks in the baobab proteins which boost shine and softness as well as giving intense protection from UV and heat damage.
It’s also present in our Cotton Fresh Natural Deodorant, where it nourishes underarms whilst the other ingredients work to keep you feeling fresh, and our vegan Lip Treat: as it’s an edible butter, there’s no danger having it on your lips, and it locks in moisture for a soft, pillowy pout.