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How to use shea butter?

Shea butter is an ingredient found in many skincare products. Its richness in fatty acids and trace elements endows it with numerous benefits for the skin and hair. Let's explore together the various ways to incorporate it into your routine.

Summary
Published January 29, 2024, by Manon, Head of Scientific Communication — 5 min read

What are the active ingredients in shea butter?

Shea butter, derived from shea almonds, is a friend to both skin and hair. Brimming with fatty acids and trace elements, it is present in numerous treatments with hydrating, cleansing, softening effects, and so on.

It is primarily composed of nearly 45% essential monounsaturated fatty acids (omega 9) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega 6). It has a high content of unsaponifiables, at least 4%, which gives it great penetration properties. This includes:

  • Tocopherols: natural antioxidants that combat cellular oxidation.

  • Phytosterols and triterpenes: natural compounds found in plants.

  • Sterols: have an anti-inflammatory effect by acting as free radical scavengers.

When should one use shea butter?

Shea butter is suitable for all skin types, although it is primarily recommended for dry and mature skin.

  • When applied to the skin.

    Thanks to its action moisturising and emollient, shea butter can be used to hydrate and nourish the skin deeply. It also contributes to the formation of the hydrolipidic film to prevent skin dehydration. It also helps to nourish and protect the lips on a daily basis. Antioxidant and photoprotective, shea butter is beneficial for mature skin to combat skin ageing. Indeed, prolonged exposure to the sun's rays promotes oxidation reactions, leading to premature ageing of cells. This phenomenon is due to the decrease in collagen production in the body under the effect of free radicals. Shea butter counteracts this effect thanks to vitamin A, E and terpenic alcohols stimulating collagen production and absorbing some of the UVB rays. Moreover, its properties anti-inflammatory help to calm inflammations caused by skin diseases.

  • In hair care.

    When applied to hair, shea butter helps to treat dry and brittle hair by deeply nourishing it. Rich in essential fatty acids (stearic acid, palmitic acid and oleic acid), it strengthens the hair's resilience. These molecules have a structure similar to the lipids that make up the hair cuticle. They are thus able to integrate themselves where they act as an intercellular cement. It also helps to combat dandruff and oily hair by regulating sebum production. Acting as a softener, it is the ally of curly, coiled and kinky hair.

How to incorporate shea butter into your beauty routine?

Shea butter is present in many skin and hair care products. It can be found in hair masks and shampoos, as well as in lotions, creams, lip balms, and so on.

  • To ensure full absorption of the active ingredients, apply a small amount of shea butter to the area to be treated, then lightly massage. In some instances, a 10-minute pause may be required, otherwise, allow the treatment to work overnight.

    Shea butter can also be used pure on the lips. It forms a protective film on your lips to nourish and protect them.

    You can also incorporate into your routine the Nourishing face cream
    Hyaluronic Acid 1% + Shea Butter. It hydrates, nourishes the skin and restores the hydrolipidic film to limit skin dehydration. Apply a dab of cream morning and evening on the face previously cleaned and dried, after your usual serum. Massage gently making circular movements until the moisturising cream has fully penetrated the skin. It is particularly suitable for dry, normal and combination skin types.

    Our Organic Prickly Pear Oil Firming Night Mask is also enriched with shea butter. It nourishes and regenerates weakened skin. This mask can be applied in a semi-thick layer for 15 minutes or in a thin layer for enhanced action throughout the night.

  • To care for one's hair, it is recommended to use shea butter in the form of a mask. Mix a small amount of pure shea butter with a virgin oil, according to your need. Apply the mixture to the entire wet hair, focusing on the ends. Leave it on and then rinse.

    You can also apply a dollop of shea butter directly to your dry hair to protect it from UV rays. For fine hair, shea butter should be applied in small amounts, and in moderate amounts for thick hair.

Sources

PEKER K. & al. Medicinal and nutritional benefits from the shea tree. Journal of Biology, Agriculture and Healthcare (2017).

BABY A. R. &al. Butyrospermum parkii butter increased the photostability and in vivo SPF of a molded sunscreen system. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology (2020)

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