What's Happening this Wednesday is that we are in the home stretch of the exotic oils series. So today we will be looking at Shea Oil.
Shea butter and shea oil both come from the seed of the African karite tree, better known as the shea tree. The shea oil is actually a byproduct of the butter production, where the fractionated oil is expressed as the seeds are pressed. The liquid oleins are separated from the thicker stearines, leaving a pretty thick oil.
While many are familiar with the butter, the oil seems to be less known, but it possesses all of the same beneficial properties of the butter, while having a lower melting point, which makes it easier to utilize in some formulations. In fact, shea oil is actually higher in fatty acids than the butter, which means that it is more moisturizing for our skin. And thanks to the higher oleic acid that it posesses, it also has more ant-inflammatory properties. It also has a higher level of linoleic acid, which allows it to repair the skin's barrier properties faster. It is high in vitamins A, E and F and presents with a deep golden color. Shea Oil provides skin with all the essential elements it needs for good balance, elasticity and tone. It penetrates the skin easily, and forms an environmental barrier, protecting the skin from harsh elements. Of course it also leaves the skin feeling soft and smooth. This oil is a proven skin re-generator. It improves the elasticity of the skin, and provides relief from dermatitis, eczema, burns, rashes, wrinkles, scars, psoriasis, and other skin irritations. It is also said to promote hair growth.
Shea oil stores well, lasting about one year, but extreme heat will lesson that time. Just as with the butter, this oil is great for superfatting your soaps, or you can use it as part of your base oils, up to 20%.