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5 Benefits Of Shea Butter Soap

Posted on January 23 2016

Shea Butter Soap

Why Is Shea Butter So Good For Your Skin?

Naturally nourishing, shea butter soap has been used for centuries to moisturize and replenish the skin. Reputedly made popular by Egyptian queen Nefertiti, who is thought to credit her beauty to regular use of the plant butter, shea butter is an African treasure with fascinating origins.

Derived from the nut of the karite tree native to Western Africa, shea butter is a natural product rich in fatty acids and vitamins. Karite, or shea, trees are known to grow up to 60ft tall and can live for around 200 years. African women have been harvesting the tree’s nuts, crushing and boiling the contents to extract the butter since ancient times.

The rich, ivory-colored fatty butter derived from the nuts is easily absorbed by the human body, enriching skin and hair naturally without the need for artificial chemicals. 

The 6 Benefits of Shea Butter Soap:

1. Weather protection

It’s not known for sure but suggestions have been made that shea butter was first used in African nations to protect the skin against sun damage. It’s unique compounds, including vitamins A and E, help protect the skin from environmental damage. Also containing cinnamic acid, which provides some protection against UV radiation – it has an SPF of six and helps the skin retain moisture, preventing it from drying out.

Shea butter also has some effectiveness as an after-sun treatment – its anti-inflammatory qualities and antioxidants help reduce swelling on the surface and speed up skin recovery. At the opposite end of the weather spectrum, It can also provide a little protection from frostbite, forming a barrier over the skin.

2. Maximum moisture

Shea butter is renowned as one of the world’s best natural moisturizers. Rich in skin-loving vitamins A and E, the plant-derived butter also contains Vitamin F and essential fatty acids like linolenic acid, which can help the skin recover from conditions like eczema. The acids present in shea butter are easy to absorb because they’re similar in structure to the human body’s own ebum – or oil. Protecting the skin’s natural oil, it helps prevent dry, dehydrated complexions.

Useful for the face and body in general, shea butter can be applied to the lips, used as a remedy for dry or cracked skin and even used when shaving. Its applications don’t end there, though – It's also a great conditioner for the hair and scalp and can help users achieve shiny, revitalized locks.

3. Actively age-defying

Queen Nefertiti had cottoned on to a good thing when she discovered the beauty benefits of shea butter; the compounds in the plant-derived cream are in fact anti-aging, with the fatty acids stimulating collagen production for a more youthful, plumped up complexion and diminished wrinkles.

Additionally, it can enhance the skin’s elasticity, which can help keep cellulite at bay and improve the skin tone, banishing the orange peel effect.

4. Holistically healing

Rich in fatty acids and plant sterols, shea butter can help heal all manner of wounds and burns, as well as improving the appearance of scars. Vitamin A helps the skin heal while Vitamin F is soothing and replenishing for sensitive skin.

Shea butter is also useful in guarding against insect bites, stings, rashes, allergic reactions and stretch marks. Because of this, it can be a great moisturizing choice in pregnancy, keeping the skin supple and boosting elasticity over the nine-month period. The cinnamic acid in shea butter also contributes to skin healing and calming, especially in conditions like acne. It’s also helpful in soothing muscle fatigue after exercise.

5. Gentle for everyone

Shea butter is an excellent moisturizer for everyone, young or old. The natural extract is gentle and even suitable for babies’ sensitive skin and for people who suffer from conditions like eczema. Apply after a bath for an effective diaper rash or dry skin treatment.

A versatile extract, shea butter can be found in many health and beauty products. The combination of fatty acids and vitamins means it deals with a number of common issues, from reducing the appearance of wrinkles to healing wounds. Check out our, or try whipping up your own batch of shea butter soap – your skin will thank you.

Sweet & Spicy Shea Butter Soap Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 30.2 oz water
  • 24 oz shea butter 
  • 24 oz coconut oil
  • 16 oz almond oil
  • 11.17 oz lye
  • 8 oz castor oil 
  • 8 oz wheat germ oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • fragrance/essential oils (optional)

Equipment

  • Rubber gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Plastic/wooden soap mold
  • Stainless steel/enamel pot
  • Weighing scales
  • Stick blender
  • Two large pitchers
  • Two thermometers
  • Two wooden spoons
  • Large measure cup
  • An old blanket
  • Cardboard mold lid 
  • Freezer paper

Method:

1) With your protective gloves and goggles on, weight out the water into one of the pitchers and pour the lye to the other. Slowly add the lye to the water and stir continuously.

2) Let the mixture heat up, which can take a few hours. While you wait, place the oils, butter, salt and sugar in your pot on the stove, melt and mix.

3) Once the ingredients are mixed well, let the mixture cool to approximately 100 degrees F.

4) While the mixture cools, line your soap mold with freezer paper.

5) When the lye mixture has also heated to 100 degrees F, add it carefully to the oils and butter. Stir well or use a hand stick blender to speed things up.

6) Once the mixture shows tracks, known as ‘tracing’, pour in the spices, fragrance and essential oils, and continue to stir.

7) When the soap batter leaves deep tracks it is reaching a medium to heavy trace, at which point you should pour it into your soap mold.

8) Place the cardboard lid over the mold, cover with the blanket and leave it to set for at least 18 hours.

9) At this stage, remove the coverings, allowing the handmade soap to air.

10) You can cut the soaps to size at this stage and leave them to cure on a drying rack for at least two weeks. The longer you leave the soap, the better quality it will be.

We’d love to know how your soaps turned out – leave us a comment below! Don’t forget to visit the Soap.Club blog again for more great natural soap recipes, tips and tricks or visit The Scent Store for your favorite handmade natural soap.

Please note: Soap.Club receives a high volume of recipes from our members; we are unable to test every recipe so please use for guidance only. Working with lye can be dangerous – please take care. We cannot guarantee the results and we strongly recommend that you stick to small batches at first. 

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