Here at Treasured Locks, we were
selling shea butter and shea butter products long before shea butter
became cool. When we opened our doors in 2002, we started with Shea
Butter products from SheaMoisture and Nubian Heritage. Continuing
until today, we offer everything from
pure, raw shea butter to
shea butter in soaps, lotions, shampoos and hair conditioners.
Many manufacturers have jumped on the Shea Butter bandwagon. But,
before you go buying that latest Shea Butter product, you should know a
little more about this precious little nut from Africa.
What is Shea Butter?
How can I tell if something is good Shea Butter?
How should Shea Butter smell?
How do I store Shea Butter?
My Shea Butter melted. What do I do?
What color should Shea Butter be?
How can Shea Butter benefit me?
How does Shea Butter benefit my skin?
What does Shea Butter benefit my hair?
Is all Shea Butter the same?
What can I tell by looking at the label?
Where can I get good Shea Butter?
What's the difference between raw shea butter and
refined shea butter?
Do I want raw Shea Butter or refined Shea Butter?
What about East African Shea
It's possible that you may have only recently heard of Shea
Butter. But, its use is far from a new-fangled fad. African
have known the benefits of Shea Butter for centuries. Down
through the generations, native Africans have used Shea Butter to
soothe and rejuvenate their hair and skin. Shea
Butter is not only for those of us with dark skin though. Every
skin typs can benefit from the use of Shea Butter. Today, Shea
is available in pure form and as an ingredient in many products to help
with maintenance of the hair and skin and relief from many common
What is Shea
Shea Butter is extracted from the
nuts of a tree only found on the continent of Africa. Shea
Butter is extracted from the nuts of the Shea-Karite tree. This
tree only begins to produce nuts after about fifteen years and it can
take up to 30 years to get the first quality crop from a particular
tree. The producers are waiting for the nut to contain a high
concentration of irremovable fatty
It is this unique fatty acid that gives Shea Butter its unparalleled
properties and makes it much more sought after than other butters like
cocoa butter. For centuries, Shea Butter was produced by people
harvested the nuts, shelled them, grilled them and and then pounded
them. The karite nuts were
boiled in a vat of water for hours until the Shea Butter. The
butter would then be scooped up in gourds and allowed to return to a
soft solid state. Shea
is solid at room temperature. But one of the things that makes it
so great is that it liquifies right around body temperature. A
quick rub in the palm of your hands and it's a liquid. Shea
Butter extracted this way is called unrefined Shea
Butter or raw Shea Butter
Since Shea Butter is an all
product each batch will be slightly different. Shea Butter will vary
quite a bit in appearance and smell. It's important to be able to
tell what is good Shea Butter and what is not, in spite of these
Most Shea Butter comes from West Africa or Ghana. A few years ago a softer
smoother variety from Uganda in East Africa
started becoming more
popular. You can read more about it below.
How can I tell
if something is good Shea
Pure Shea Butter differs in the
methods of extraction used to get it from the nut. Also, Shea
Butter is often graded.
- Raw or unrefined- This Shea Butter will be extracted using only
water. The color will vary based on the nuts used. The
color will range from a cream color or slightly off-white to an
actual yellow or yellowish gray. This
is the original form of Shea Butter. It will also usually have a
distinct nutty aroma.
- Refined- is more highly processed. It may be filtered and
deodorized. Many of its natural components are still in
there. But, some of the natural coloring and aroma will have been
- Highly refined or processed- In this case something other than
water is used to increase the amount of butter that can be taken from a
bath. A solvent like hexane will be used. The color of this
product will be pure white.
Treasured Locks only sells raw or unrefined shea butter. We only
provide the highest quality available- certified as such. And, we
never sell shea butter that
has been extracted using solvents.
should Shea Butter smell?
Shea Butter in it natural state has an aroma which most people find
quite pleasant or at least not offensive. I think it's a smell
that actually grows on you over time. The smell of raw West
varies is typically a nutty smell. As Shea Butter ages, the aroma
will begin to decrease. If you purchase unrefined Shea Butter
with almost no smell, the chances are it's old. Shea Butter is
pretty stable when kept properly. But, it can go rancid.
Butter should not have a mildewed or rotten smell, not matter the
you happen to dislike the aroma of natural raw Shea Butter, you can
purchase more highly refined Shea that has been filtered through
clay to remove the natural aroma. But, before doing that, we'd
recommend buying the smoother variety from East Africa.
I store Shea Butter?
You don't have to keep Shea Butter refrigerated. In fact doing so
would make it very difficult to use. It will keep under normal
conditions for about two to three years. Over time it will be
less effective in terms of its healing properties. But, it will remain
a good moisturizer. Keep it in a cool place and keep the
container closed to keep out contamination.
My Shea Butter melted
is not at all unusual. In the summer months, a lot of Shea Butter
that is shipped will melt somewhere along the route to you. If
you happen to leave it in the car (we've done this many times)
and you come back and it's liquid, don't panic. Actually, one of
the wonderful properties of Shea Butter is the fact that it melts right
around body temperatures. When you apply it to your skin, it
quickly becomes liquid making it easy to apply and to be
asborbed. If your Shea Butter melts, just take the lid off the
container and set it in the refrigerator. Or just keep it in an air
conditioned room. As it begins to
cool, give it a stir every once in a while to bring the liquid parts
(which are called olein) back into uniform distribution with the solid
parts (called stearin).
color should my Shea Butter be?
The color of Shea Butter will vary more than you might expect.
The ultimate color of the butter will depend on the karite nuts used.
Shea nuts will differ in color from almost white to
yellow. There is no way to determine the quality of the Shea
Butter based solely on its color.
There is even a
naturally almost saffron (golden yellow) colored Shea Butter.
But, Shea Butter shouldn't be green or very hard. We prefer ivory
or beige Shea Butter which indicates it hasn't been too highly
refined. Shea Butter that is too white was probably pretty
highly refined and may not be as good at healing.
How can Shea
Butter benefit me?
Over the years we've found that Shea Butter can help so many problems
that a joke around our house is it's like Windex in the movie "My Big
Fat Greek Wedding". Tywana's always saying "Put a little Shea
Butter on it." Shea Butter
can provide relief from everything from just dry
skin to many minor dermatological diseases (if you have a serious skin
condition, you should see a doctor). It has been clinically shown
to provide benefits. Here are some of the benefits of Shea Butter
for the skin:
- Great for daily moisturizing of the face and body (face and
- Relieving dry skin
- Moisturizing a dry scalp
- Soothing minor rashes, including diaper rash
- Minimize skin peeling after sunburn
- Healing blemishes and wrinkles
- Relieving itching due to dryness
- Soothing sunburn
- Can be used prior to shaving to minimize razor burn
- Treat small skin wounds
- Soften and heal cracking skin
- Soften callouses on feet, especially heels
- Prevent stretch marks from pregnancy
- Healing minor burns
- Treating mild to moderate eczema
- Protect the skin (especially lips) from sun and wind
- Smooth out skin tone
- Prevent or minimize blemishes and scarring
- Stop scalp irritation due to dryness or chemical
processing such as dying or relaxers
- Preventing bumps after shaving
- Treating acne (especially when used with African Black
- Easily absorbed (non-comedogenic). Absorbs without
- Maintains and restroes skin's natural elasticity
- Brings shine luster to hair
How does Shea
Butter benefit my skin?
Shea Butter is like food for the skin
containing Vitamins A, E and F. Vitamins
A and E help the skin keep itself healthy.
These vitamins are especially important when it comes to helping sun
damaged skin heal. Vitamins A, E and F assist in staving off
premature wrinkles and facial lines. Vitamin F serves to protect
the skin as well as help it heal. It soothes rough, dry or
chapped skin and helps soften
dry or damaged hair. Shea Butter is high in unsaponifiables (a
type of fat). Shea Butter will contain somewhere between 7-12%
unsaponifiables. To put that in perspective, avocado oil, a well
conditioner, has between 2-6%. It is this amount of
unsaponifiables that is a contributing factor to Shea Butter being able
to treat so many conditions. Because Shea Butter
easily penetrates the skin allowing the skin to breathe and not
clogging pores it can deliver it's nutritional payload better than
other man-made moisturizers. Shea Butter also naturally contains
cinnamic acid, a
natural sun screen. It actually does provide some degree of
from the sun's harmful rays (still wear a sunblock though). Shea
Butter is a natural anti-inflammatory making it
useful in treating things like rheumatism.
We aren't making any medical claims about anyone's Shea Butter.
It's not a wonder drug. But, we have seen it help a lot of people
with a lot of condtions. And, we know people who think it has
worked better than many prescriptions. We have had several
customers and friends used Shea Butter to treat mild-to-moderate
eczema and/or psoriasis. Some have reported it has worked as well
for them as steroidal creams prescribed by their doctors. And,
it's a lot cheaper. One of our customers began using one of our
Shea Butter lotions (it wasn't even pure Shea Butter) and just happened
to notice that it stopped a sun allergy she normally got from even a
little exposure to the sun. It was totally unintentional and an
unexpected "side effect".
How does Shea
Butter benefit my hair?
Shea Butter provides moisture to dry
or damaged hair from the roots to
the very tips, repairing and protecting against weather damage, dryness
and brittleness. It also absorbs quickly and completely into the
scalp to rehydrate without clogging pores. It is particularly
beneficial for processed and heat-treated hair. It is an
excellent treatment for dry scalp. It restores luster to damaged hair.
For this reason, Shea Butter is an excellent ingredient in hair
moisturizers, shampoos and conditioners
Is all Shea
Butter the same?
All Shea Butter is not the
same. Shea Butter loses some of its
healing properties as it sits on the shelf, so very old Shea Butter is
not as beneficial. Refining techniques will vary. Highly
processed Shea Butter will not be as effective. Sometimes Shea
mixed with other ingredients that reduce its benefits. Then,
are those products that add very little Shea Butter but prominently
"Shea Butter" on the label. While Shea Butter is not very
you should be aware of products that claim to provide the benefits of
Butter and sell for very low prices. Many manufacturers are
advantage of the Shea Butter buzz by adding a little Shea Butter to a
inexpensive product implying you can get the benefits of Shea Butter in
Treasured Locks takes care to source our Shea Butter only from
reputable sources to ensure freshness, quality and the refining
technique to ensure there are no contaminants and that the "good stuff"
is left in.
What can I
tell by looking at the label?
Ingredients on the label should be
listed in the order from the
ingredient that is the most to the least. Therefore, you should
look for Shea Butter products that list Shea Butter early on the list
of ingredients. You should know the ingredients before you buy
any Shea Butter product and should buy from a reputable source.
The more Shea Butter in a product, the greater the likelihood,
you will receive the full benefits of Shea Butter.
Where can I
get good Shea Butter?
You can get quality Shea Butter
products right here at Treasured Locks. We carry a
wide variety of products from pure Shea Butter to Shea Butter lotions,
soaps and lip balm. All of the Shea Butter we
carry is of the highest quality. We are very selective about
where we obtain our Shea Butter and the extraction methods used.
We will not accept any Shea Butter that has been extracted using
solvents. As of June, 2004, we have found a source of Grade A
Shea Butter. This is certified to be of the highest quality by an
independent laboratory. You can find cheaper Shea Butter and Shea
Butter products. But, you will not find better ones. Our Shea
Butter products use copious amounts of Shea Butter. Some of
the major manufacturers are jumping on the Shea Butter bandwagon now by
adding small amounts of Shea Butter to their products. Don't be
fooled by this. Our pure Shea Butters are of the highest grade,
from our ultra pure refined shea butter to our 100% Pure Natural Shea
Butter to our East African Shea Butter from Uganda.
difference between raw Shea butter, refined Shea butter and highly
refined Shea Butter?
differences between raw, refined and highly refined Shea
Butter lie in how the Shea Butter is extracted from the nut and how it
is processed after that. Manual extraction processes leave more
of the raw ingredients in the Shea Butter. After it is extracted,
it can be further refined removing color and impurities that some
people don't like. This further refining can also remove some of
the smell. You can think of the difference between raw Shea
Butter and refined Shea Butter as being similar to the difference
between wheat bread and white bread. Truly raw Shea Butter can
even be unfiltered. That is one end of the spectrum. On the
other end, there is Shea Butter that is extracted using chemicals that
is pure white, has no smell and has lost a lot of its healing
properties in the process.
All of our Shea Butter is mechanically extracted. No chemicals
(other than water) are used in the process. Our raw Shea Butter
is lightly filtered. But, retains its natural color and
Do I want raw Shea Butter or Refined Shea Butter?
After years of experience with Shea Butter, we have to say we prefer
raw Shea Butter. The more Shea is refined, the more natural
goodness is removed. It's certain that none of Shea's healing
properties are improved by the process that is used to make it white
and odorless or to increase the yield from a batch. The only
possible drawback we can think of from raw Shea is the odor- which
quickly fades after you've put it on. If you really do not like the
odor, we recommend trying Shea from Uganda or East African Shea Butter.
It's more expensive. But, it has less of an aroma and is softer and
possibly slighly better at moisturizing.
What about East
African Shea Butter?
There are differing opinions as to whether West African
(Vitellaria Paradoxa) or East African (Vitellaria Nilotica) is
African Shea Butter
is different from that from West Africain the
balance between the olein and stearin (solid and liquid parts).
East African Shea has a higher liquid fraction. As a result, East
African Shea is softer at room temperature, sometimes being in a
semi-solid or almost liquid state. The East African Shea is more
expensive. But, it provides Ugandan women farmers several times
more money than is earned by West African Shea farmers. East
African or Ugandan
Shea Butter is more easily absorbed into the skin due to having less
acids. West African Shea Butter will have more vitamin A and more
sterols. If you're seeking a natural vitamin A cream or are using
Shea Butter to prevent stretch marks, you might want to use West
African Shea Butter.
If you are looking for something to be primarily a moisturizer,East
African Shea Butter would be preferable.
East African or Ugandan Shea Butter is less common than West African
Shea and can be difficult to find at times. When it is available
it oftens sells at the equivalent of up to $40 per two ounces. We are
pleased that we have found reliable, price competitive sources and
offer this super-premium quality
Shea Butter to you at very reasonable prices.
Ugandan Shea Butter is excellent for conditions where the skin is
dry. Knees, elbows, hands and scalp are areas that are typically
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