Shea butter is the underdog of all body butters. Truly. Cocoa, olive and almond butters always get a good rep. Coconut butter is the top dog, the kingpin, of skin spreads, of course, and don't you dare say otherwise. But everyone forgets about shea, the true body butter underdog. If you're curious about what makes it so great, we've got ten reasons why you need to keep a stash of it in your bathroom, bedroom and handbag at all times, but first we need to talk about what shea butter actually is.
Get ready for your shea-ducation: Shea butter is a natural fat that comes from the nut of the African shea tree. It is in fact edible (although we wouldn't advise snacking on your body lotion) and is occasionally used in chocolate. It's perfect to use on your bod because of its restorative properties: vitamins A, D, E and F mean it's deeply hydrating and will soften even the driest of skin. It usually comes in the form of a body butter - hence the name 'shea butter' - but also comes as an oil, which is quite often used on hair, and you'll often find it in moisturising soaps.
But the most important thing of all, is how can its buttery goodness benefit you. Here's our top ten uses for The vert humble Shea:
1. In the bath
This is the perfect remedy for winter skin. When you're fighting against all the elements winter has to throw at you, you're skin could use a a bit of TLC. And because shea is oh-so good for dry skin, putting a drop or two in your bath is going to be an instant moisture injection.
2. In a massage
As an intense moisture boost, shea butter also works as a massage oil. It smells dreamy and sinks right into the skin, which means it's great in helping to relax tense muscles.
3. After waxing
We, as ladies all know and can recall with a shudder that waxing is a horrific ordeal. It hurts really bad. So what you need after experiencing all that pain is something to soothe the affliction. And that something should be shea butter, guys. It has been proved to have anti-inflammatory properties when applied to skin, which is just what you need when you've had a wax.
4. For stretch marks
For those of us with stretch marks, shea butter could be the product we've been missing in our lives for all this time. Shea helps to promote the skin's natural collagen production, and collagen is known to help reduce the appearance of stretch marks. It also works as preventative to stop stretch marks occurring by keeping the skin soft.
5. For your hands
Our hands are often the part of our bodies that take the most flack when it comes to the weather. Dry paws are a common and annoying problem, but pop a little pot of shea butter in your bag and it'll help your hands to stay silky soft whenever you're on the go.
6. For your hair
Newsflash, guys: shea isn't just good for your skin. It can go errrrywhere. Just like you do with coconut oil, you simply apply the shea butter to your hair and leave it to sink in overnight. Then just wash it out with your shampoo and conditioner and your hair will look and feel so damn soft, don't be surprised if strangers start touching it on the bus.
7. For your face
Your face, like your hands, is susceptible to all different kinds of weather, which can be why the skin on your face is temperamental. Shea butter is the t*ts when it comes to making your face baby soft. Not only has it got the moisturising bit down, but also its ability to help stimulate collagen means it'll help plump out the skin, reducing fine lines and wrinkles. Take that crows feet.
8. For your lips
In cold weather, when your lips get chapped and your nose gets dry, shea butter is your saviour. Rub it all over your schnozz, and not only will it smell nice, but it'll calm any irritation caused by winter colds or spring allergies.
9. For your man
Due to its soothing nature, shea also makes a great post-shave balm for men. Shaving doesn't always treat the skin kindly, so it's perf to rub on after a facial tidy-up to avoid signs of irritation.
10. For errrything
Whether your skin is ravaged by winter winds or damaged from the summer sun, shea butter's got your back - literally in the case of the latter. If you've caught a bit too much sun, shea will help to soothe it. If you've got cracked skin from January throwing everything it's got at you, then shea will do its best to repair and protect. Honestly. There's nothing you can't do with this nutty butter.
What's your favourite way to use shea butter? Let us know! @sofeminineUK
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