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Propriété nourrissante du beurre de karité.

Shea Butter, a Nourishing Treatment

Shea butter is used in many skin and hair care products. Its use brings many benefits. One of its interesting properties is its nourishing effect. It is particularly recommended for dry skin as well as damaged hair.

Shea Butter in a Few Words

Shea butter is made from the fat extracted from the nuts of the shea tree, a plant native to West Africa (almost all of the shea butter used today still comes from this region). Historically, it has been used by indigenous people for centuries, both as a topical application and as a cooking butter (food grade shea butter is still used for cooking today). Currently, it is best known for its use in the beauty industry.

Shea butter is rich in triglycerides, fatty acids and vitamins. Used topically, shea butter is an excellent emollient and can help the skin reduce its moisture loss. Shea butter is found in a plethora of lotions, creams and other products. It is found under the name I.N.C.I. 'Butyrospermum Parkii Butter (Extract)'.

Shea Butter To Nourish Dry and Dehydrated Skin

The most obvious benefit, of course, is its moisturizing and nourishing properties. Its qualities are related to its high fatty acid content – and thanks to the types of fatty acids it contains (namely linoleic acid and oleic acid), it tends to be non-greasy and easily absorbed.

In fact, the fatty acids in shea butter fall into 3 categories, including monounsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids and saturated fatty acids. These molecules contribute to hydration by reinforcing the skin's protective barrier, which is itself made up of fatty acids. As a reminder, skin hydration is maintained by the presence of the hydrolipidic film which prevents evaporation and maintains hygroscopic molecules in the cells.

It has been shown that this vegetable butter seals in moisture to the skin and protects the skin barrier. One study even suggests that it has topical effects similar to those of ceramides, the polar lipids naturally present in the epidermis and responsible for sealing the skin barrier. Shea butter and its components are also known as phytoceramides.

The Fatty Acids That Make Up Shea Butter

Here are the main fatty acids present in shea butter.

  • 40 to 50 % of oleic acid or omega-9.

This monounsaturated fatty acid is a lipid that enters the composition of sebum, a substance naturally secreted by the body to alleviate the dryness of the skin and hair. It stimulates the production of sebum by the sebaceous glands. The vegetable oil of sweet almond is thus remoisturizing. It is recommended to treat dry and dehydrated skin and hair.

  • 36 to 50% stearic acid.

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) defines stearic acid as a long chain saturated fatty acid. The long chain is composed of 18 carbon atoms. In skin care, stearic acid is known for its emollient, nourishing and protective (film forming) properties.

  • 4 to 8% linoleic acid or omega-6.

This category of fatty acids is said to be essential because it is not synthesized by the body. Omega 6 contributes to the process of cellular renewal. In cutaneous application, they thus make it possible to fight against the signs of age and support cicatrization. They also soothe inflammatory reactions and are beneficial for sensitive skin, suffering from tightness and irritation.

  • 3 to 8% palmitic acid.

Saturated fatty acids, such as palmitic acid, have emollient properties, which means that they promote the hydration of skin and hair cells. They thus provide suppleness and softness.

In Which Typology Care Products Can You Find Shea Butter?

The 9-ingredient nourishing lip balm has been designed using only the ingredients essential to its function. Shea butter helps protect the lips from dryness.

Our nourishing face cream with hyaluronic acid also contains shea butter. Thanks to its content of hydrating and revitalizing ingredients, this product brings suppleness to the skin. Moreover, it decreases the feelings of tightness. It is adapted to skin with normal, mixed and dry textures.

You can also find this plant butter in the firming night mask based on prickly pear oil, an enveloping balm to nourish and regenerate weakened skin, and firm tissues.

The nourishing body cream also contains shea butter alongside squalane and plum oil to restore the skin's lipid barrier, reduce feelings of tightness and protect the skin from external aggressions.

Shea butter is also present in the stretch mark oil-gel 

with baobab oil to prevent and visibly reduce the appearance of stretch marks, while providing suppleness and elasticity to the skin.

Finally, our two 100% natural cold saponified solid cleansing products are enriched with shea butter.

Sources :

  • LEUNG T. F. & al. Patient acceptability, efficacy, and skin biophysiology of a cream and cleanser containing lipid complex with shea butter extract versus a ceramide product for eczema. Hong Kong Medical Journal (2015).

  • SANTIAGO J. L. & al. Anti-inflammatory and skin barrier repair effects of topical application of some plant oils. International Journal of Molecular Sciences (2018).


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