What Makes Shea Butter So Popular?
Posted October 2022
Written by Jamie Barrows
If you haven’t noticed by now, shea butter has become pretty mainstream when it comes to skincare. About a decade ago, this impressive, all-natural ingredient began crossing over from a trend to a modern staple. Its beneficial vitamins and minerals make it ideal for soaps, lotions, facial masks, shampoos, and much more. One of our favorite brands, Shea Moisture, has even dedicated its entire name and line of products to the power of shea. So, what exactly is it about shea butter? Since it is in many of our favorite skincare products, we should know what makes it so popular – aside from its enticing aroma.
Helps Your Skin Retain Moisture
Shea butter is classified as an emollient, meaning it can trap moisture. Its oils act as a protective barrier, allowing your skin’s hydration levels to stay balanced. When you hear the word “oily,” you might picture a greasy substance. On the contrary, shea butter is called “butter” for a reason. Its texture is smooth, creamy, and highly concentrated. Although shea butter is excellent as an additive in skincare products, you can also buy 100% shea butter, packed with high levels of helpful fatty acids and vitamins E and A.
Eases Inflammation and is Great for Sensitive Skin
Frequently, a skincare ingredient can claim that it has some anti-inflammatory properties. Shea butter is on another level. There is undeniable evidence that shea butter is incredibly anti-inflammatory – far more effective than any run-of-the-mill additive. It can calm redness, irritation, and even some skin conditions like eczema.
Shea butter is also safe for those with sensitive skin. Rarely have allergic reactions been reported after use. Even though shea nuts belong to the tree nut family, researchers believe they don’t contain the same proteins that cause allergic reactions (Watson).
Can be Ethically Sourced
Shea trees are native to West Africa, thriving in the hot, dry savannah. Finding a sustainable and ethical source of this powerhouse ingredient is essential to manufacturers of skincare products (like us). Years ago, Bradford committed to buying our shea butter through the Global Shea Alliance (GSA). We didn’t realize at the time just how impactful that partnership would become. The women collaboratives that Bradford works with in Africa have made shea processing a profitable business through the Global Shea Alliance. They use a traditional hand-crafted method to get the most value out of their product. Not only does our commitment to sourcing through the GSA help us, but it also ensures that these communities receive additional income and empower the women who are central to the process.
Interested in how our shea butter is made? Watch the story of our trip to Ghana, and see how these amazing women support their families through shea. ●
Ferreira, Marta, et al. “Trends in the Use of Botanicals in Anti-Aging Cosmetics.” Molecules, vol. 26, no. 12, MDPI AG, June 2021, p. 3584. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26123584
Watson, Kathryn. “Shea Butter for Your Face: Benefits and Uses.” Healthline, 23 July 2019, www.healthline.com/health/shea-butter-for-face#side-effects-and-risks