|DIY Whipped Shea Butter for Skin and Hair|
|Written by Jessica Reeder|
As natural beauty products go, few things can beat raw shea butter. Harvested from the nut of the karite tree and processed into a rich, crumbly hunk-o-antioxidants, shea butter moisturizes, helps skin heal and may slow down the aging process. That's due to its high levels of cinnamates and acetates with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It also contains UV protectant caffeic acid, along with vitamins A, E, F, and rich unsaponifiable fats that moisturize without clogging your skin.
Notice that I specified "raw" shea butter above. Shea degrades over time, and when it is refined, many of its active components degrade as well. The mass-produced shea products you see on drugstore shelves are all made with refined shea! Not sure about your favorite product? You can tell by the color. Shea is naturally ivory or grayish-yellow. Pure white creams have been refined.
To get the most skin-brightening benefit, buy raw, unrefined grade A shea butter directly from its African distributors. You'll receive a crumbly, waxy substance. Here's how to turn it into your own homemade moisturizer -- a lovely luxury for yourself, and a wonderful gift too. This is my personal recipe, which I've used almost exclusively as a moisturizer -- face, hands, elbows, everything -- for over a year. Sadly, it has not yet reversed the aging process -- but my skin is noticeably healthier. That's good enough for me.
*If you're a curly girl like me, make a hair cream by halving the amount of shea and adding 4 ounces of coconut oil.
Image: Jessica Reeder