Shea butter is a natural moisturiser made from the nuts of shea trees in Africa.
When extracted, it makes a base for many creams and lotions as well as medicinal ointments to heal chapped skin. Shea butter is often combined with cocoa butter, olive oil, jojoba oil or vitamin E oil to make a variety of skin-softening creams and lotions.
Shea butter has anti-ageing properties as well. It has shown to improve skin elasticity and helps diminish wrinkles.
Simple Shea butter recipe
3/4 Shea butter - eg 150g
1/4 carrier oil - eg 50g
Melt shea butter using in a bowl over a pan of boiling water method or on defrost setting on your microwave. Remove from heat when the shea butter softens and is easily stirred with a spoon. Do not be tempted to melt quicker in a microwave as this will cause the butter to adopt a grainy consistancy when set.
Add the carrier oil of your choice such as jojoba oil, avocado oil and almond oil etc. Chosing the right carrier oil for your skin can offer additional benefits and consistance, some oils are thicker than others but you can combine different oils. The addition of the oils keeps the shea butter from hardening when it cools.
You can add cosmetic fragrance oils or essential oils to the mix at this point remember a maximum of 5% of dilution (weigh the total mass of the mixture then divide by 100 for 1% then times this for required dilution of essential oil. If using the above example 200g mass = 2ml for 1% dilution therefore 2% recommended strength is 4ml. 1ml is equal to 20 drops approx.
You can pour the mixture into a pot and leave to set. Once set if you would prefer your moisturiser to be thicker then simply remelt and add more shea butter and then allow to reset. It is fine to place in a fridge to speed up the setting process.
Your final product will have the same shelf life as the carrier oil used. If you wish to increase this you can add a vitamin E capsule and this will double the shelf life.
For best results use at night and allow to soak into the skin.
If you are looking for a fluffy lighter body butter, allow the mixture to half set and whisk on the highest setting until the mixture resembles whipped cream and forms peaks similar to meringue, or about 10 minutes. If the mix is not thick enough leave the mixture to cool and thicken further before whisking again. You may need to do this a few times to achieve the right consistency.
£2.95 for 100g of Shea butter
100ml Carrier oils from £1.49