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Le beurre de karité, une solution naturelle contre les cernes.

Shea butter, a natural solution against dark circles

Dark circles are a common cosmetic concern. They appear in the morning upon waking and persist throughout the day. Often synonymous with fatigue, dark circles weigh down the gaze and age the face. Natural solutions based on shea butter have been designed to treat them. Here are some tips to reduce them.

Published July 11, 2023, updated on January 31, 2024, by Manon, Scientific Editor — 6 min read

Dark circles: origins, causes and definition.

Dark circles are the dark or purplish marks under the eyes. They are often considered a sign of fatigue or lack of sleep. The purplish, or blue-coloured dark circles, are also referred to as vascular dark circles. This type of dark circle is caused by a dysfunction in the blood circulation and lymphatic tissues.

The blood naturally rids itself of pigment residues present in the skin. When there is a malfunction in the blood circulation, pigment residues are spared and accumulate to form a mass around the eye contour. This blood circulation disorder can be due to stress or skin ageing. This disruption is visible because the skin under the eyes is four times thinner than the rest of the epidermis.

For dark circles, they are also known as pigmented circles. They are caused by a natural overproduction of melanin. This overproduction is accentuated when the skin is exposed to sunlight. It is the melanins that protect the skin from UV rays and give it a brown tint. As the skin is thin around the eye contours, the brown pigments are easily noticeable there.

There exists a third type of dark circles: the hollow dark circles. As we age, the thin layer of subcutaneous fat located under the eye melts away and accentuates the natural hollow effect. This type of dark circles can have a genetic origin or develop over time.

Diminishing dark circles with shea butter.

The shea butter is extracted from the fruits of the plant of the same name. Originating from Africa, it offers numerous benefits to all skin types depending on its use. Here, shea butter is used as a treatment to reduce the appearance of under-eye circles.

  • Decongesting massage.

    Shea butter can be used as a massage oil to improve blood circulation under the eyes. To do this, the butter must first be rubbed between the hands to give it an oily texture. It is in its oil form that it will be applied to the eye contour while making circular movements until the product is fully absorbed. The blood circulation will be stimulated and the dark circles will fade.

  • Moisturising.

    The skin around the eyes is a particularly sensitive and delicate area. The skin is thin and has few sebaceous glands, which are responsible for sebum production. The skin is covered with a thin hydrolipidic film and is more susceptible to external aggressions. Shea butter is recognised for its moisturising properties when applied to the skin. It helps to hydrate the skin and regenerate the hydrolipidic film.

    A clinical study was conducted on 10 volunteers who applied a shea butter cream. Cutaneous conductimetry measurements demonstrated that hydration is observed in the short term. It reaches its peak one hour after application and then persists for 8 hours.

    The application of shea butter around the eye area is recommended for its care and to reduce dark circles. It is suitable for all skin types and is particularly recommended for dry and dehydrated skin.

  • Effects on melanogenesis.

    A study was conducted on a mouse cell line stimulated by a melanotrope hormone, which triggers the synthesis of melanin. The results showed that certain triterpenic compounds in shea butter have an inhibitory activity on melanogenesis. In the case of pigmented dark circles, shea butter could be a solution to the natural overproduction of melanin.

  • Against skin ageing.

    Skin ageing can also manifest itself through the appearance of dark circles under the eyes. Shea butter is rich in vitamins A and E, which possess antioxidant properties. Vitamin E is capable of donating an electron to a free radical without becoming unstable. The free radical is stabilised and less reactive. This is beneficial in preventing oxidative stress, which is at the root of skin ageing. When applied to the skin, shea butter will combat the production of free radicals, one of the factors responsible for skin ageing.

Incorporation of shea butter to treat under-eye circles.

To reap the benefits of shea butter, it is important to opt for the one that has been naturally extracted. Pure shea butter can be used on its own or as an ingredient in skincare products. Its gentle nature allows it to be used on facial skin and around the eye area.

Shea butter is included in the composition of our nourishing face cream. This treatment is made up of natural ingredients that are appreciated for facial care. Combined with squalane, it provides lipids that help combat skin dryness and repair the skin's hydrolipidic film. This cream is suitable for dry, normal and combination skin types.

Our high-coverage concealer allows for the unification of the eye contour while moisturising the skin. Its use helps to reduce the appearance of dark circles and bags. It is suitable for all skin types.


AKIHISA T. &al. Triterpene glycosides and other polar constituents of shea (Vitellaria paradoxa) kernels and their bioactivities. Phytochemistry (2014).


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