Shea butter – Africa’s sacred gift
Shea butter is a raw material that consists of the seeds of the shea nut tree. Nowadays it is an important ingredient of many cosmetic products. The tree with the scientific name Vitellaria paradoxa is known under a variety of different names. Besides shea nut, it is also called shea butter or African butter tree.
The plants occur exclusively in Africa in the tropical climate south of the Sahara. But even there they grow rather slowly: It usually takes 20 years before they bear their first fruit. It can even take up to 50 years for a tree to produce full yields.
There are currently no modern shea plantations. Rather, the harvest is done from wild trees. Since these are considered sacred, they are traditionally not cleared when planting fields. The increasing demand for shea butter is therefore not easy to meet and makes the high-quality fat a valuable ingredient.
How shea butter is made
Strictly speaking, the fruits of the shea tree are berries. They grow close together on the branches and are about five to seven centimeters long. As they ripen, they turn from green to yellow to brown.
After harvesting, the pulp is first peeled off to expose the inner kernel, the shea nut. The solid kernel consists of about 50 percent of the valuable fat of the shea nut tree. To release it, the nuts are first dried and then crushed. Only then is the oil ready to be used as an ingredient in cosmetics. Often, all steps are carried out by hand. However, machines are also used in some cases.
Fair and sustainable organic shea butter for a better world
Harvesting and collecting the fruits of the shea nut tree is traditional women’s work in most African countries. Accordingly, sustainable trade and fair working conditions can improve the situation of this often less privileged population group in particular. Through their work, the women gain their own income and become independent from husbands and families.
We at naturmädchen obtain the shea butter for our vegan natural cosmetics exclusively from controlled organic fair trade cultivation. In this way, we ensure that the women who extract this raw material for us receive fair working conditions and a fair wage. At the same time, we ensure that the ecological balance is maintained and that no unnecessary monocultures of shea nut trees are created. In this way, we make the world a little bit better for everyone involved with natural cosmetics made from fair ecological shea butter.
Shea butter as a versatile helper in vegan natural cosmetics
Shea butter and the pulp of the berries of the shea nut tree used to serve primarily as food. However, the fat of the nuts was also used in traditional African medicine. This model was subsequently adopted by manufacturers of cosmetics. And for good reason: It is not only rich in caring and nourishing fatty acids, but also contains vitamins and secondary plant substances. This makes it ideal for skin and hair care.
At the same time, shea butter feels simply fantastic on the skin: The melting point of the fat is between 28 and 32 degrees. Vegan natural cosmetics with shea butter can therefore be portioned well. When massaging it into the skin, however, it becomes a little softer and you can distribute it effortlessly.
Shea butter: Valuable ingredients and nourishing ingredients
Shea butter contains numerous ingredients whose positive and caring effect on the skin has been proven in many studies. Among the most important, from which our vegan natural cosmetics particularly benefit:
- Vitamin E reduces premature skin aging due to free radicals as an antioxidant.
- Beta carotene acts as an antioxidant and strengthens the immune system
- Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for the human body and relieve inflammation
- Linoleic acid is part of the natural acid mantle and strengthens the natural resistance of the skin.
- Allantoin is an anti-inflammatory agent that supports wound healing
- Triterpenes have an anti-inflammatory effect and promote natural regeneration
- Triterpene alcohol kills bacteria and helps relieve swelling
Just like cocoa and mango butter or avocado oil, shea butter consists largely of fatty acids. The composition of different fats in shea nuts is particularly advantageous for the production of vegan natural cosmetics for several reasons: The high content of oleic acid ensures that shea butter and other ingredients can easily enter the cells of the skin. Creams are thus absorbed more quickly and leave less residue.
The special features of the all-round talent shea butter
Shea butter is one of the non-comedogenic vegetable fats used for vegan natural cosmetics. This means that it does not settle in the pores, which could lead to blockages and inflammation. Since it does not promote the development of skin blemishes and acne, it is suitable for dry and normal as well as combination and blemished skin. Due to the many anti-inflammatory components, creams with shea butter can even improve the appearance of the skin.
At the same time, shea butter protects the skin from drying out due to its high fat content. It covers the skin like a breathable protective layer and ensures that less moisture evaporates. Last but not least, shea butter provides the skin with additional moisture and can thus relieve feelings of tension and itching caused by excessively dry skin.
Shea butter in the highly effective naturmädchen sunscreen
Shea butter is an important ingredient that supports the effect of our naturmädchen sun cream with SPF 20 based on zinc oxide. While the latter absorbs UV light and thus reliably protects the skin, shea butter gives the cream a pleasant texture. The antioxidants contained also protect the skin from other harmful environmental influences that could accelerate the aging of the skin.
Unlike many other sun creams, our vegan natural cosmetics are not greasy and clog pores thanks to the contained shea butter, but wear pleasantly light. The active ingredients of the high-quality plant oil also support the skin’s own regeneration and have an anti-inflammatory effect. With such a caring sunscreen, sunbathing is twice as much fun.