Shea butter: from its manufacture to body benefits

Shea butter: from its manufacture to body benefits
Shea butter isa vegetable oilExtracted from shea, a tree growing in Africa. Its manufacture requires artisanal know-how to produce excellent quality shea butter. It is used pure that shea butter reveals all its benefits. From its artisanal manufacture to its application on your skin, discover all the secrets of Shea Butter !
How is shea butter made?
Shea butter is a natural product that draws its raw material from shea. After harvesting fruit, a long handmade manufacturing process follows.

The tree, the shea

Shea is a tree that grows in the savannas of West and Central Africa. His botanical name is Vitellaria paradoxa or butyrospermum parkii. It is 15 meters in height. It was necessary to wait between 15 and 20 years for the tree to give its first fruits.

The shea produces a fruit of the same name that grows in a cluster. The fruit is ovoid, fleshy and dark green color. Each fruit contains a nut in which one or two almonds is extracted which enter into the manufacture of shea butter. The almond contains 50 % of its weight in fat.
Shea is fruitful between June and September. When the fruit is ripe, it falls from the tree. The harvest must be done quickly to avoid the rotting or germination of the fruits fallen to the ground. A tree produced on average between 15 to 20 kg of fruit which themselves provide 4 to 6 kg of almonds after the extraction phase.

Kighty butter Manufacturing nuts

The artisanal manufacturing of shea butter

Shea butter is made from almonds of shea and water. Nothing else ! It is the know-how of Africans that allows the transformation of raw materials into a butter used in daily care. The production of shea butter is cut into 5 steps.

1. Nuttalls peeling

The fruit is dissected to keep only the nut. The nuts are cooked for 2 hours then dried for several days in the sun. This step makes it easier to extract almond from the hull. The almonds are then rinsed in the water and then dried in turn in the sun.

2. Confection of the dough
Once the almonds are completely dry, they are crushed in a mortar. This step lasts between 3 and 7 hours, depending on the force deployed, until a powder is obtained. The powder is roasted in a pot for 20 minutes then is left in the open air so that it cools. Then the powder passed through a mill. A thick and dark paste emerges.

3. Extraction of foam

The dough obtained is plunged into a bowl filled with water. The mixture is beaten to make the dough finer. We add lukewarm water and the dough is beaten again. The foam, rich in fat, dissociates from the water by going up to the surface while the impurities descend in the bottom. The foam is recovered.

4. Oil refining
The foam is heated for 2 hours. She liquefies and becomes black. The liquid is stirred with a rod to hasten the evaporation of the water and bring down the impurities in the bottom. The liquid clears up and the oil appears on the surface. The oil is removed and cooled in the open air.

5. Oil transformation into butter
The next day, the oil is transferred to another container to eliminate the last waste that would have fallen into the bottom. The clean oil is touched with a rod for 30 minutes to thicken it. The maneuver takes like a mayonnaise and the oil turns into butter.

A women's cooperative around shea butter
According to the United Nations, the manufacture of shea butter is exclusively feminine and brings about 3 million women in Africa. There, women come together in cooperative or coop, which allows better structuring in the sector to sell their products through the fair trade market.

A fair premium is distributed to cooperatives to improve their infrastructure for better quality production and build training centers. Due to the great consumption of wood and water, certain cooperatives of shea butter have developed a more ecological means of production.

Cooperative Natural Kitre butter

What is the composition of shea butter?
Unrefined shea butter and handcrafted is rich in insaponifiable, fatty acids and vitamins.
Here is what shea butter contains:
  • 5 fatty acids: oleic acid (60-70 %), stearic acid (15-25 %), linoleic acid (5-15 %), palmitic acid (2-6 %) and linoleic acid (<1 %)
  • 4 vitamins: A, D, E and F
  • Latex
  • Selenium
What are the benefits of shea butter?
Shea butter has many virtues that make it essential in skin care. Shea butter:
  • hydrate
  • nourished
  • protected
  • repair
  • soothing
  • regenera
  • Falls.
Benefits of shea butter on the face
On a daily basis, shea butter hydrates and preserves the elasticity of the facial skin. It feeds dry areas and reduces small redness.
During the winter, shea butter protects the skin from the facial exposed to bad weather. It is used as a protective balm on the lips and repairs chapped lips. In summer, he created a protective barrier against ultraviolet rays and prolongs the tan.

Benefits of shea butter on the body
Shea butter is the friend of dry and damaged skin. A butter on the elbows and heels, and your calluses will disappear. Its natural active ingredients preserve the elasticity of the skin and slow down skin aging. Shea butter is an ally for pregnant women. It softens the skin and avoids the formation of stretch marks.

It protects the skin from the cold by avoiding the formation of crevices on the hands or by repairing them. An application of shea butter strengthens the nails and softens the cuticles. In summer, shea butter protects the skin from solar rays and soil sunburn.

Benefits of shea butter on the hair
Shea butter makes the happiness of dry and brittle hair which it feeds in depth. On dull hair, it brings shine and flexibility. Curly or frizzy hair will particularly appreciate shea butter that reduces frisotis and tame the curls. Shea butter also has the power to maintain the shine of colorful hair color.

How to use shea butter?
Shea butter has the appearance of avegetable buttermore or less hard. This way, how to apply it on the skin and hair?

Application of shea butter on the skin
Take a knob of butter from your hand and flicker your palms together. After a few seconds, shea butter turns into oil ready to be used on the skin. Massage the skin of your face or your body until the shea butter is total penetration.

Application of shea butter on hair
Slowly melt a larger quantity in a double boiler (if not return to the palms' friction stage, repeat several times!) And coat your hair. A scalp massage is possible. Surround your hair with a hot towel. The ideal is to penetrate the assets overnight. But if this is not possible, wait at least 1 hour. Then wash your hair with a shampoo.

Some usage precautions
Even if shea butter blocks part of the ultraviolet rays, it does not replace the action of a good sunscreen, especially on clear or fragile skin. Double shea butter with your sunscreen to increase the protection of your skin against the sun.

Shea butter contains latex. It is therefore not advised for people allergic to latex to coat the body with shea butter. If you tempt you anyway, try a tent in the hollow of your elbow.

How to choose shea butter?
Shea butter must have a firm consistency, a pale yellow color and must be clean, without apparent impurities. Its odor must be light and very characteristic of shea butter.

If shea butter is white and odorless, it is certainly a refined shea butter. Refining aims to whiten shea butter and remove its singular odor. The drawback is that refined shea butter has fewer active ingredients.

Choose pure and unrefined shea butter, produced through a fair trade sector.

To see the Côte d'Ivoire shea butter On our shop here.

How to keep shea butter?
Pure and unrefined shea butter is preserved between one and two years at room temperature and in its jar hermetically closed. Enjoy it from heat and light.

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  • Marie-Christine Vallières