Shea butter is a substance that is widely popular for its use in beauty products. However, there are some distinct differences between unrefined and refined organic shea butter with regard to their uses. Here are the uses and benefits when it comes to shea butter that you should know about.
Extraction of Shea Butter
Shea butter is a substance that is extracted from the Karite (Shea) Nut tree, which is native to Africa. Unrefined shea butter can be extracted by hand using traditional West African methods or through the use of a mechanical process.
Both of these methods result in the production of shea butter and shea oil without the need for the introduction of chemicals or synthetic ingredients. This resulting product is what is known as unrefined organic shea butter, which is also known as raw or virgin shea butter.
Unrefined Versus Refined Organic Shea Butter
There are a multitude of differences between unrefined organic shea butter and refined organic shea butter. First, refined, or ultra refined shea butterhas been extracted as processed with high heat utilising natural solvents. This process results in a refined shea butter that is white in colour and has no odour. However, the majority of the healing benefits of shea butter that are found in unrefined shea butter are lost as a result of this process.
In contrast, unrefined shea butter is ivory to light yellowish in colour and has a natural odour that could be described as somewhat smoky or nutty. The unrefined shea butter also has the highest concentration of antioxidants. It offers some natural UV protection and is an excellent moisturiser.
Given the loss of the natural properties of shea butter in refinement, unrefined shea butter is generally preferred for uses related to natural care. However, unrefined shea butter has some drawbacks given that it does not last as long as refined shea butter and the odour can be a deterrent when considered for regular use.
Nearly all of the mainstream products that you'll find available on the market that are said to contain shea butter actually are made with refined shea butter thanks to the extended shelf life that processing provides. Refined shea butter is also easier to work with given the fact that it does not get grainy when reheated unlike unrefined shea butter.
Shea Butter Benefits
The main components of shea butter are oleic acid, stearic acid, and linoleic acid, all of which are quickly absorbed into the skin. Shea butter is effective for alleviating skin rashes, skin peeling after tanning and several other issues.
Shea butter is considered as a super food for the skin because it has both unsaturated fats and essential fatty acids. It also has vitamin E and D, phytosterols, provitamin A and allantoin. It also is considered to be one of the best anti-aging agents for the skin because it helps to stimulate the production of collagen.