Shea butter is used throughout West Africa as a moisturizing natural treatment for skin and hair. It is solid at room temperature and melts, like cocoa butter, on contact with the skin. It can be mixed with essential oils, other carrier oils like baobab or jojoba.
Shea can also be used as a cooking fat, although this is much less common. We’ve heard of some African and international food companies looking into this, though, so don’t be surprised if shea butter shows up in your supermarket soon! After all, coconut oil (and olive oil) makes a great body lotion and can be used for cooking too.
Nutritionally, shea butter is rich in beta carotene, a type of vitamin A that is particularly useful for dry skin. Shea also has antioxidants and compounds that reduce inflammation and even protect against skin damage and premature aging.
Shea can be used on its own or in any combination of natural beauty and healing remedies.