Shea butter is a popular component of cosmetics, especially soaps. It is obtained from the nut of Shea tree’s fruits. It serves as a powerful anti-oxidant and has anti inflammatory properties too. As a result of this, It is widely used in manufacturing of Shea butter soaps.
Refined vs unrefined Shea butter:
Shea butter mainly occurs in its natural form, i.e. Unrefined or processed form i.e. Refined one. While the natural one is not subject to chemical processes and has many more health benefits, the same is not the case with the refined one.
In order to prepare refined Shea butter It is highly processed. This includes filtering the extract from the nut using cheesecloth and then later it involves a deodorizing process. This is done by airing or by using certain chemicals. Naturally occurring Shea butter is slightly yellowish or greenish in color, but the refined one is bleached to give it a pure white color. After this additive are added to the processed butter to give it a scent and to increase ours shelf life. During this entire process the natural butter becomes very smooth and white. At the same time it loses most of its nutritional value. Hence, although it may look attractive, it will have no benefits. So if you are buying Shea butter soaps make sure it is not manufactured using a refined version of the butter.
Some sellers refine the Shea butter even further, In order to make it more smooth and white. But these additional processes, reduces its nutritional value further. Most branded and commercial Shea butter soaps, cosmetics and skin care products use this highly processed form of Shea butter. The very little nutritional value remains in this so called ultra refined or highly refined version of Shea butter.
There are few brands that market their Shea butter as an organic product. Organic Shea butter is a natural and unrefined form of the product that is grown and harvested in a natural manner without use of pesticides. This version of Shea butter has high nutritional values and it has high moisturizing and healing properties. It is recommended to use cosmetics manufactured by using organic Shea butter.
Contents of Shea butter:
Shea butter is healthy as it contains triterpene esters such as tocopherols and cinnamic acid that can absorb UV-B rays. It also has a high proportion of triterpenes, phytosterols and hydrocarbons especially karitene. It is also a rich source of several fatty acids, phenolics, vitamin E or tocopherol, Vitamin A and F. This super food is rich in unsaturated fats and have large quantities of non-saponifiable components, Vitamin D, and allantoin. Hence it is widely used for baby care, skin care and even in cooking.