Made from the nut of the shea tree, shea butter has been proven to have a lot of great properties. It helps produce collagen, moisturizes, fights inflammation and is hypoallergenic. Knowing this, shea butter has become cosmetic companies' golden child.
You don't have to go pay a high price to get the benefits of shea butter, though. You can make your own great beauty products right at home. Check out these 8 great ways you can put shea butter to work for you.
1. Stretch mark cream. The anti-aging and collagen boosting properties of shea butter make it perfect for lightening stretch marks. Dr. Axe combines 3 ounces of coconut oil, 3/4 ounce cocoa butter, 3/4 ounce shea butter, 3 tablespoons almond oil and 6 tablespoons water in a double boiler on a stove. Melt the oils until they are liquid and stir until the water and oils are thoroughly mixed. Remove from the heat and continue to stir until the oils reach room temperature and are creamy. Add 2 teaspoons vitamin E oil, 20 drops lavender essential oil, 20 drops cypress essential oil, 10 drops grapefruit essential oil and 10 drops helichrysum essential oil. Stir until the cream is completely mixed and pour it into jars.
2. Body butter. Shea butter is a great moisturizer and has the added benefit of being hypoallergenic. To make your own body butter, Wellness Mama recommends combining 1/2 cup shea butter, 1/2 cup coconut oil and 1/2 cup olive oil in a double boiler on the stove. Heat over medium until all the oils melt. Remove and add 10 to 30 drops of your favorite essential oils. Mix thoroughly. Place in the refrigerator for one hour to let cool. Whip the mixture with a hand mixer to get it fluffy and then jar it.
3. Acne treatment. Part of treating acne is calming inflamed skin and giving it proper moisturizers. Shea butter is great for that. Beauty Munsta makes a facial moisturizer by combining 4 tablespoons shea butter, 1 teaspoon aloe vera gel, 1/2 teaspoon honey, 1 teaspoon rose water, 4 drops tea tree oil, 4 drops geranium oil and 4 drops lavender oil. Blend this together in a blender and apply it to your face after washing.
4. Pain relief bar. Proven to have anti-inflammatory properties, shea butter can be used to create a bar that will act like a lotion and can be rubbed onto the hands or other joints when needed. Wellness Mama combines 1/3 cup coconut oil, 1/3 cup shea butter and 1/3 cup bees wax in a double boiler and melts them together over medium heat. Stir together and add 1 tablespoon menthol crystals. Stir until the crystal are completely dissolved. Add 10 drops of peppermint oil and 1/2 teaspoon of arnica oil. Mix completely and pour into molds and let them harden.
5. Cracked heel treatment. Because shea butter is a great moisturizer, it helps heal deep cracks in the skin. Mother Nature Network recommends putting shea butter on your feet at night and covering them with socks. This will allow the butter to soak in and do its magic.
6. Hair mask. Shea butter moisturizes skin, but some like to also use it to moisturize the hair. Beauty Munsta makes a hair mask from 1 to 3 tablespoons shea butter and 1/2 to 1 tablespoon coconut oil melted in a double boiler. Once melted, add 2 to 3 drops of bergamot essential oil and whip with a beater until fluffy. Work it through your hair from the roots to tips and cover your hair with a shower cap for 30 minutes. When the time is up, wash and style your hair as normal.
7. Cuticle treatment. The hydrating effects of shea butter make it perfect for treating cuticles. You can simply apply shea butter straight to the cuticles at night before bed.
8. Lowers cholesterol. The American Journal of Life Science states that taken orally, shea butter does appear to lower cholesterol. Unfortunately, it also appears to "interfere with protein digestion," so taking it as a cholesterol treatment may not be the best idea.
With so many wonderful benefits, who wouldn't want to use shea butter? Have fun experimenting with what this natural ingredient can do for you.