Recently, I was inspired to cover a variety of natural products that aid in my beauty regimen. It’s easy for all of us, especially me, to get distracted by the expensive glitz and glam of the beauty industry. Not to take away from the products I discuss on a regular basis, natural products are a cheaper and at times more effective option. To kickstart this series we will be focusing on Shea butter and all it has to offer.
Shea Butter is extracted from the nut of the African Shea Tree. It is an all natural Vitamin A cream that aids in many skin care concerns including blemishes, wrinkles, eczema and dermatitis. Shea Butter also contains the sebaceous gland, which makes it one of the best natural resources for our skin. When purchasing Shea Butter it is important to understand the different levels of this product. Extreme altering or “filtering” of Shea Butter can take away its natural health benefits.
Level One: Raw Shea Butter
- Has not been filtered
- Comes as a paste
- Deep yellow color
Level Two: Unrefined Shea Butter
- Has been filtered as long as health qualifies aren’t affected
- Easier to handle; can be poured into molds
Level Three: Refined Shea Butter
- Has undergone some form of processing
- Odor has been removed
- Properties have been changed
- Common for perfumes/preservatives to be added
- Very smooth; white color
- Refinement process destroys some of the natural nutrients
Level Four: Ultra Refined Shea Butter
- At least two filtering systems that change composition
- Used for mass-produced cosmetics
- Contains the least health benefits
- Consistency can vary
- Chemicals used in refinement can be unhealthy
To gain the full benefits of Shea Butter, its better to use either “raw” or “unrefined.” Some beauty supply stores are known for selling raw Shea Butter and you can also shop online. When doing so, be specific with your search as some companies tend to market refined or ultra refined Shea Butter as raw Shea Butter. One of the pros of using this product are for the cost. A large amount of Shea Butter is inexpensive and will last you much longer than any moisturizer you would typically purchase. A little goes a long way and you will able to feel and see the difference quickly. It is also amazing for pregnancies to prevent stretch marks.
The most common con of Shea Butter is the smell. Upon first use of this product, I was not a fan of the scent. But the more I used it, the less it bothered me (once applied the scent doesn’t linger). Another con is the pasty texture. If you are familiar with how to handle raw Shea Butter then this is a minor issue. For me personally, I break off however much I need and knead the product in the palm of my hand with my thumb. This softens the product and it’s much easier to apply.
Incorporating natural products into your beauty regimen is a great way to save money. As much as I love my $85 night cream, it isn’t always pocket friendly. It is also a great way to transition into a healthier lifestyle as your curiosity on other products grows. Stay tuned for the second installment of my natural series.