When it comes to holy grail beauty ingredients, there are a few that we can wax poetic about for hours on end. Petroleum jelly makes the list. Aloe vera and vitamin C are amongst our top ten. And then there’s shea butter—one of those natural ingredients that made its way into everything but we didn’t hear much about until possibly a decade ago. Now, it’s boasted as the main ingredient in so many beloved beauty products for its moisture retaining, emollient properties. And for those who’ve sworn by shea butter since they could lather on their own moisturizer, there are myriad reasons that this skin care and hair care powerhouse will forever have a place in their beauty cabinet. Read on to find out seven of those reasons why shea butter is a must-have to keep stocked at all times.
1. It Smells Good While It Moisturizes
Extracted from the shea tree grown in West Africa, shea fruit has a sweet edible flesh, so it’s no wonder that shea butter (which is derived from the nut) has an enticingly sweet aroma. Moisturizers formulated with shea butter then take on the sweet fragrance of their main ingredient, offering a nice scent along with hydrating properties.
2. It Softens Rough and Textured Skin
Packed with fatty acids and vitamins A, D, E and F, shea butter is an emollient—meaning it softens and soothes—which is why you’ll find it in many lotions and creams. When used topically, shea butter and products formulated with shea have the ability to soften rough and textured skin. A study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information even found that shea butter could be a therapeutic agent against inflammation. Talk about the ultimate multitasker.
3. It Soothes Dry And Chapped Lips
Just as it can soothe dry skin, the NCBI also states that shea butter is amongst several plant oils and extracts that can repair the skin barrier. When the dry winter air begins to take a toll on the thin skin on your pout, reach for a lip balm that contains shea butter for quick relief.
4. It Plays Defense Against Stretch Marks
Expecting mothers have employed the help of natural ingredients such as cocoa butter and shea butter to ward off and improve the appearance of stretch marks for decades (likely centuries). Because it contains high levels of tocopherol, an antioxidant that helps to neutralize free radicals, shea butter can help reinforce the skin’s protective barrier and enhance the overall quality and appearance of the skin. It’s often turned to as a preemptive strike against unwanted stretch marks.
5. It’s Suitable For Sensitive Skin
According to a research study by the NCBI, moisturizers containing shea butter were found to be well tolerated by women with sensitive skin. In other words, there were no adverse reactions to the shea butter — deeming the ingredient suitable for their sensitive skin.
6. You Can Use It On Your Scalp
Shea butter’s aforementioned anti-inflammatory properties make it a go-to for scalp care too. While some find shea butter too greasy for their actual hair, it can have moisturizing and soothing properties for the skin on your head.
7. It’s An Easy To Use Natural Ingredient
If keeping a natural and sustainable beauty routine is top of mind for you, then shea butter should be at the top of your must-have list. Unlike some skin care and hair care ingredients, raw shea butter is soft and easy to spread. Just beware, if you have acne-prone skin, applying this fatty ingredient directly to your face could result in clogged pores. So if you’re going to DIY your shea butter products, consult with your dermatologist first.
Written by: Shalwah Evans, Photo Credit: Shutterstock
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