Ingredient Spotlight: Shea Butter
Shea butter has long been a hydrating hero in the skincare realm. You'll find it in everything from moisturizers to body lotions to everyday soaps and yes, even your favorite lip balms.
Dry skin and eczema sufferers in particular love shea butter's moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties. Its low melting point means that natural shea butter glides effortlessly and absorbs quickly into skin.
In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at shea butter and all of its benefits, including why it's a staple in your favorite skincare formulations.
First, What is Shea Butter?
Shea butter is a type of fat derived from the nuts of the African shea tree. Shea butter is rich in vitamins A and E, as well as essential fatty acids and other nutrients that are beneficial for the skin.
Organic shea butter is especially beneficial for the skin; it contains no chemicals or artificial ingredients that cause skin irritation. When used in skincare products, organic shea butter can do it all — we're talking deeply moisturize, reduce inflammation, AND protect against environmental damage. Talk about a multi-tasker.
Shea butter can be used on its own or as a base ingredient in lotions, creams, and lip balms, especially in natural skincare products.
Benefits of Shea Butter
Simply put, here’s what shea butter can do for skin and hair:
- Provide a quench of deep, nourishing moisture
- Packed with nutrients that help heal irritated skin
- Rich in Vitamins E and A, which combat inflammation, hyperpigmentation, and alleviate the effects of sun damage
- Soothes dry, chapped lips (just one reason why it’s a hero ingredient in Covey’s Seal the Deal Lip Balm!)
- Nourishes frizzy hair back to silky smoothness
What Kinds of Beauty Products Use Shea Butter?
You'll find shea in tons of formulations for:
- Facial moisturizers and creams
- Body lotions
- Lip balms
- Hair masks
- Body balms
- and more!
Shea butter is also commonly used as a hair treatment. When applied to the scalp, it nourishes the hair and scalp to alleviate conditions like dandruff. When applied to the hair itself, shea butter can help to soften hair and tame frizz.
In addition to its cosmetic uses, shea butter also has some therapeutic properties. It Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, shea can be applied to sunburns and peeling skin, cracked skin, or ease the effects of contact dermatitis. Shea butter can also help reduce the appearance of scars and stretch marks!
Shea butter vs. other moisturizing ingredients
Coconut oil or cocoa butter are two ingredients that get the same PR as shea. Let's dive into what makes shea butter unique.
To recap: shea butter is high in Vitamins A and E, which are both essential for healthy skin. It also contains fatty acids and antioxidants, and its anti-inflammatory properties can be helpful for those with skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis.
Shea Butter vs. Coconut Oil
While coconut oil is also a popular choice for moisturizing, it does have some drawbacks. Coconut oil is comedegenic (meaning it can clog pores) making it a tough ingredient for those with acne-prone skin. It can also be a hassle to wash off, which can leave skin feeling greasy.
Cocoa Butter vs. Shea Butter
Cocoa butter is another option. Like shea butter, cocoa butter is high in antioxidants and fatty acids. However, it does not contain as much Vitamin E as shea butter. Cocoa butter is also a solid at room temperature, which can make it difficult to apply to the skin.
FAQs about Shea Butter
1) How does shea butter compare to other moisturizing ingredients?
Shea butter is a popular choice for moisturizing and protecting the skin due to its high content of vitamins, fatty acids, and antioxidants. It’s also great for those with skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis. While coconut oil and cocoa butter are also effective ingredients, they have some drawbacks — for example, they can clog pores and be tricky to wash off.
2) Does shea butter clog pores?
While shea butter is classified as low on the comedogenic scale set by dermatologists, that doesn’t mean it can’t clog pores. Ultimately, it depends on your unique skin type. For dry skin types or those with rosacea and eczema, shea butter might be awesome. For oily skin types, ask your derm before you try products with a lot of unrefined shea.
3) Can I use topical shea butter if I have a nut allergy?
Since shea butter is made from tree nuts, those with allergies should consult their derm and do a patch test to make sure their skin won’t react to products with shea in it.
There you have it — a quick overview of the benefits of shea butter for skin, how it compares to other butters like coconut and cocoa, and why shea butter just might be the game changer for your dry skin woes.