Shea butter is a natural fat that comes from the nut of the African shea tree. It’s highly moisturizing and is used in many beauty products such as lotions, soaps, and hair conditioners. Surprisingly, it even offers UV protection.
Shea butter is rich in fatty acids that assist the skin in the production of collagen. It also naturally contains vitamins A, E, and F. It has been known to alleviate dry and cracked skin, heal blemishes and skin irritations, smooth wrinkles, and tame dry frizzy hair. Shea butter’s skin care and healing properties were first discovered thousands of years ago.
The earliest accounts of its use date all the way back to ancient Egypt. To this day, it continues to be a staple in Africa to protect the hair and skin against the extreme weather conditions.
Not all shea butter is created equally. High quality, raw, and unrefined shea butter has all of the moisturizing and medicinal properties stated above. It can be used for everything from fading scars and stretch marks to healing skin irritations. Poor quality, refined shea butter is basically only good to use as a moisturizer.
One of my favorite brands of shea butter is available as Collections – Eu’Genia Shea. The brand was inspired by a Ghanaian midwife’s (nicknamed Grandma Sunshine) best-kept secret. It’s raw and unrefined. Their products contain 95% shea content, which is far above the average 25% or less that most companies use.
Eu’Genia Shea offers a variety of potency shea butter tins depending on your need – one for everyday use, one for pregnancy use, and another that is a dermatological strength. The price runs from $12.50 to $17.50 depending on the product. If you would like purchase in bulk, the brand offers a gift pack that includes 4 shea butter tins for $40.
The founder, Naa-Sakle Akuete, decided she wanted to not only produce a high-quality product but to also help women in Northern Ghana in the process. It’s a “girl-power operation all the way down”, says Akuete. Eu’Genia Shea works with only female employees and offers job training. The workers harvest the shea nuts and earn above-average wages. Akuete says they are currently even helping Ma Sheitu, a mother of seven, pay for her children’s education.