Wellness Encyclopedia: Why You Should Love Shea Butter + DIY Shea Butter Lip Balm

Learn why we’re seriously in love with shea…

Simple is often best when it comes to beauty, and it doesn’t get much better than one ingredient: shea butter. Often lumped into the same category as cocoa butter for it’s similar scent and properties, shea butter deserves a post of its own for the skin-soothing, wrinkle-reducing, anti-inflammatory magic it performs on those who swear by it. While cocoa butter is often hard as a rock before it’s processed, shea butter, which comes from the African shea tree, can be used as-is or mixed into a variety of treatments, making it an easy and deeply-nourishing choice for those pressed for time and looking to simplify their beauty routines. If you’re ready to get serious about shea, read on to learn more about this luxurious butter and to find out how to make your own DIY shea butter lip balm.

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What is it? Shea butter is the pale yellow fat extracted from the nut of the African shea tree. Used traditionally in its indigenous continent of Africa as a food-source — the shea nut is edible, as is the husk that surrounds it — shea butter has been used for centuries in cosmetics as well, dating as far back as Ancient Egypt, where it was used to protect hair and skin from the sun and wind. To make shea butter, the edible outer husk of the fruit must be removed, the nut crushed and roasted and ground into a paste, and the fat extracted using a water technique. Though shea butter is edible, it’s most often used to in skin and beauty treatments in North America.

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What are the benefits? Vitamin rich shea butter is a natural skin protectant, blocking UV rays with naturally-occurring SPF ~6. Because it can be used as-is, your skin can reap the benefits of vitamins A, E, and F, all of which contribute to healthy skin function, encouraging healing and regeneration. The oleic and stearic acids present in shea have also been shown to reduce wrinkles and the appearance of stretch marks by stimulating collagen production and neutralizing free radicals, which cause cellular damage. The cinnamic acid present in shea butter is also a powerful anti-inflammatory compound, aiding in the body’s ability to heal itself from sun damage, acne, cuts, burns, and other ailments.

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How do I use it? Shea butter is unique because it can be used as-is or can be incorporated as an ingredient. Use it plain as a lotion, ointment, or to heal minor cuts and scrapes, or whip it into your next DIY and use shea butter to condition hair, as a moisturizer, after sun exposure, or to lighten scars. Or, just make the recipe below…

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Ultra Moisturizing Shea Butter Lip Balm

{makes about 2 sticks}

Ingredients:

1/2 tsp raw shea butter

1/2 tsp raw cocoa butter

1/4 tsp coconut oil

1/8 tsp avocado oil

3-4 drops essential oil (I used peppermint and lavender)

2 empty lip balm vials

In a double boiler or a small bowl nested in a pot with water, combine all ingredients except essential oils and melt on low heat until combined.

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Add the essential oils and stir to combine. Allow to cool slightly before carefully pouring the oil mixture into the empty vial. Allow to cool completely before adding the cap.

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Use when lips are chapped or after sun exposure. Enjoy!

Photo Aug 23, 3 37 08 PM

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+ What’s your favorite way to use shea butter?

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