It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and every time I’ve opened a magazine lately, there is a picture of a tin of 100% Shea Butter for sale from L’Occitane, who donates part of the proceeds to breast cancer organizations. It got me wondering what shea butter actually is (how do you milk a shea?) and why everybody says it’s the best skin-healer and moisturizer around. A little research convinced me: Everybody needs to know about this fabulous stuff!
Shea butter is a solid fatty oil made from the nuts of Karite Nut trees, also known as Mangifolia, that grow in the semi-arid savannah regions of West and Central Africa. Shea butter is sometimes called “women’s gold,” because extracting the butter from the nuts gives employment and income to hundreds of thousands of rural African village women. Shea butter is so non-toxic and beneficial that it is used in foods and cooking as well as soaps and beauty products. (One of my favorite lip balms is a vanilla-scented treat from La Natura made with shea butter. It is totally delicious!)
African healers and beauties have known about shea butter for thousands of years: the substance is almost magical in its healing effects on burns, skin conditions, ulcerated skin, stretch marks, and dryness.
It contains beneficial vegetable fats that promote cell regeneration and circulation, making it a wonderful healer and rejuvenator for troubled or aging skin. It also contains natural sun-protectants.
To buy a 150 ml tin of 100% pure shea butter for $35 from L’Occitane (proceeds to benefit breast cancer organizations), go to L’Occitane’s website.
Or, to buy pure shea butter for much less, go to Sun Rose Aromatics.