Shea butter is a wonderful creamy substance extracted from the nut of shea tree, widely found in West of Africa. When originally extracted from the nut, the colour of the butter is most commonly yellow. Refined, unrefined and ultra refined butter is usually white or in ivory shades.
The butter is a fat that mostly consists of oleic and stearic acids. The percentage of the fats will determine the consistency of the butter, it can be found in either more solid for or a liquid form. Shea butter is a rich substance widely used across the world in many products such as soaps, skin care products, food and much more. Popular use for shea butter in Africa is as a food preparation aid and also in their medicinal ointments. Because of the healing properties it has been used for skin protection during the dry and harsh seasons of the continent, for thousands of years.
The history of this multi purpose ingredient dates as far back as Ancient Egypt. Shea butter was considered highly valuable and accounts as early as 1st century BCE (the Cleopatra’s era) talk about the use of shea butter in cosmetic products. Shea tree itself was a big part of Egyptian culture as the early kings funeral beds were carefully carved from the wood of the tree.