27 APRIL 2018
Shea butter has a “powerful ability to bind moisture to the outer skin layer. This binding ability helps the skin to retain its suppleness and elasticity.” 
Shea Butter is a rich oil that comes from the shea tree found in West and Central Africa. It has been used for beauty and cooking by African’s since ancient times and in more recent years gained popularity in the West. Today, it is not uncommon to see beauty brands advertising body moisturisers and hand creams containing a percentage of shea butter. It’s a popular for beauty use as it contains components that make is a wonderful natural product for the skin, such as unsaponfiable fats. “Unsaponifiables are a large group of compounds called plant steroids or streolis. They soften the skin, provide superior moisture to the upper layers of the skin. Shea butter contains 11% unsaponifiable fats or oils compared to the 1.2% found in olive oil and 1.5 found in sesame oil.” 
Shea butter can be purchased in refined or unrefined form. This article will focus on the unrefined form that has gone through less in the production stage, ultimately retaining more of its natural goodness, however Livestrong.com goes into further detail behind the refining process. “It is important, according to the American Shea Butter Institute, to make sure unrefined shea butter is used. Raw shea butter maintains its therapeutic qualities and will keep your skin moist and supple, whereas refined, processed shea butter loses almost all of its healing properties. Dr. Robyn Tisdale Scott, a clinical pharmacist, concurs with the American Shea Butter Institute, supporting the claim that unrefined shea butter reverses dry skin in about three days.” 
The increase in availability of shea butter does not mean they are all of the equal quality, the shea butter sitting on the shelves of your local hair shop is not necessarily good quality.
This article will show you how to use shea butter and recommend a couple online shops where you can purchase pure, quality, unrefined shea buttery goodness
Unrefined shea butter sourced from cooperatives in Ghana. Shea Butter Cottage is a good place to shop if you already use and love shea butter as larger amounts are available, but also a good place to buy a small amount for you newbies to try out. Shea Butter Cottage sells unrefined shea butter at reasonable prices. Prices start at 3.99 for 50g. They also stock unrefined shea butter which is certified organic by Eco Cert and packaged in glass jars. Prices start at £6.75 for 100g
Akamuti sells 500g of unrefined shea butter starting at £10.62, making it a good place to buy from if you know shea butter works for you and you want large amounts. The shea butter is packaged in a large paper bag, with an inner plastic bag holding the blocks shea butter. Akamuti’s shea butter is fairtade, sourced from women’s cooperatives in Ghana.
Preferably after you have had a shower, break off a small piece and warm up between your hands so the product melts and massage into the skin. It’s a thick oil so you may have to wait a minute to allow it to absorb. It can also be used on nails, cuticles, lips, is a good alternative to petroleum jelly and also great for afro hair to seal in moisture.