The Scottish explorer Mungo Park introduced shea butter to Europe in the 1700s.
Native only to the savannahs of Sudan, shea trees do not tend to grow well in domestic plantations – instead, they grow best in rain forests and jungles, often reaching thirty to forty-five feet high.
Astoundingly, shea trees don’t reach full maturity and production capacity until they are fifty years old, and they can successfully produce fruit for another fifty years after that.
The shea tree is considered sacred in many African tribal cultures, and some tribes only allow women to touch the trees or fruit — men are strictly forbidden.
It has been frequently used as a heating oil, lamp oil, and soap-making oil, and is also a staple ingredient in African cuisine, where it’s used as a cooking fat.
shea butter can help treat:
- Itching/inflamed skin
- Insect bites
Shea butter compare to common butters
Cocoa butter is extracted from the cacao tree, and possesses many positive moisturizing qualities for skin.
It’s also a more solid butter, unlike its counterpart shea butter, it has no major healing properties aside from its moisturizing benefits.
High in both stearic and oleic acids, cocoa butter can tend to be pore clogging, especially on the face.
Obtained from the Indian Kokum tree, kokum butter is a fantastic addition to many cosmetic products; but has a much higher melting point than shea butter, making it difficult to melt into skin easily.
The seeds of this tropical fruit produce one of the most sought after butters in skincare, with a low comodegenic rating. Mango butter is high in oleic acid, provide good hydration and soothing elements without being too greasy.
This extremely moisturizing butter is high in antioxidants and one of the most effective and water retention and thus deep hydration due to high stearic acid content.
However, its also a “4” on the comodegenic scale making it unfriendly for face use.
In comparison, shea butter is considered suitable for most skin types with a low comodegenic rating and strong ability to moisturize.
Whereas most butters aside from mango tend to be greasy and occlusive; shea can be incorporated into both face and body formulations.
However, all have benefits and places in skincare!