Where To Find The Best And Purest Shea Butter
Shea butter is a substance extracted from fruits of the tree through the process of crushing and boiling. The name 'Shea Butter' is short for 'Sheanut Butter'. The tree is also called "The Karite tree", which means 'the tree of life'. It is called this name because of the numerous healing characteristics it possesses. The tree grows mostly in Africa. In the dry savannah belt of West Africa, the tree is found growing wild.
Shea butter is used for a lot of activities ranging from edible activities to ritual activities. In West Africa, especially Ghana, Nigeria and Togo, it is used as cooking oil. In some parts of Africa, it is rubbed on the body believing it can stop bullets. It is used for a lot of things in Africa and the world generally, but the commonest of its uses is against skin infections and irritations. It treats skin disorders like eczema, burns, rashes, stretch marks, acne, wrinkles, skin discolorations, itching and other skin problems. It also provides natural protection from the sun's UV rays. It is also an excellent agent for softening skin. It can also be used to maintain hair moisturization especially in dry hair.
Shea butter is an excellent natural product for maintaining both body and hair vitality. But one of the greatest problems of shea butter is the availability of the pure one. Most of the shea butter marketed worldwide are mixed with one product or the other and once this is done, its effectiveness and quality drops. This is the reason why some people use shea butter over a long period of time and notice little or no change.
Shea butter contains an ingredient called Cinnamic Acid. This cinnamic acid is an acid bound to other ingredients and once this shea butter loses its purity, the natural bounded acid decreases which results in the overall ineffectiveness of the shea butter. Irrespective of the quality of the shea butter, it does one thing; it helps in skin moisturization. Once shea butter has been adulterated, it is very unlikely that it would give the results of pure shea butter.
Nigeria produces one of the highest quality shea butter in Africa and the world in general. In Nigeria, pure shea butter is available at the cost of almost nothing. It is used mostly by women for hair and skin treatment. A few use it for cooking. In the Northern part of the country, it is called Kadanya and in the southern part is commonly known as Ori. The purest shea butter is sold locally by market women. Even though it can be found in shops at a higher price, the quality is lower than that of the ones locally sold.
Now what are the characteristics of good shea butter? Shea butter is soft, creamy and beige in color. At room temperature, it is the texture of butter but once heated slightly, it melts. The smell is not exactly nice. Sometimes, you may come across shea butter that has a perfumed smell; that is the kind that has been adulterated and no matter what has been written on it, be it '100% shea butter', it is not pure. Also, once shea butter has any color apart from beige, it is not pure. Sometimes, you may come across brown or white shea butter, it has been adulterated and if you go ahead and buy this kind, do not expect the results pure shea butter produces. Another way of knowing pure shea butter is that it immediately relieves itching. If it does not do this, then it is fake. Even though shea butter does not have a pleasant smell, once it is rubbed on the skin, it is immediately absorbed by the skin and does not have any smell. Sometimes, your skin may feel greasy after you rub shea butter; this is not supposed to be so.
All the characteristics of shea butter are found in Nigerian shea butter. Shea butter is produced in numerous places but what matters is the quality. This is because the source of the shea butter determines the strength of its healing. So the most important thing you should know about shea butter if you are looking for the pure one is the source.