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The skin superhero and its super powers


Shea butter becomes a necessity if you’re tired of applying chemicals, silicones, and parabens on your skin for short-lived results. It’s time to introduce yourself to the ultimate skin superfood that can replace your entire skincare routine, including your hydrants, moisturizers, cleansers, toners, and all those “anti” creams (anti-aging, anti-acne, antioxidant, antibiotic). Meet Shea Butter XO – the skin superhero with its extraordinary abilities. Let’s explore this skin superhero and its superpowers…


Shea butter comes from the nut of the Shea tree, also known as Karite, which grows in East and West Tropical Africa. It has earned the name “Tree of Life” due to its numerous benefits for skin, hair, and overall health. In this discussion, we’ll specifically focus on the various ways in which Shea butter can enhance and nourish the skin. What makes this natural fat remarkable is its versatility, as it can be used by people of all skin types (including sensitive and oily skin), all ages (gentle enough for children), and all genders.


Shea butter has earned several nicknames like “God’s gift to mankind” and “skin’s best friend” due to its chemical makeup. Its key components are Oleic Acid, Stearic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Linoleic Acid (Vitamin F), Cinnamic Acid Esters, Allantoin, Polyphenols (Vitamin E), and Beta-Carotene (Vitamin A).

Here are a few reasons why Shea butter can form a complete skincare routine on its own…

1.  It acts as the ideal moisturizer…

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Many people mistakenly think that humectants, occlusive agents, and emollients are all synonyms for moisturizers, but that’s not the case. Dermatologists explain that these three are the primary ingredient categories in any good moisturizer. Humectant ingredients attract and bind moisture, improving hydration in the outermost skin layer called the stratum corneum. Occlusive ingredients create a protective barrier to seal in the moisture on the stratum corneum. Emollients, on the other hand, soften the skin by filling in cracks and flakes, giving it a smooth and supple texture. Shea butter, with qualities of all three categories, serves as the perfect moisturizer. OMEGA 6 (Vitamin F) fatty acid and Allantoin help retain moisture in the skin, while Polyphenols (Vitamin E) prevent moisture loss. Allantoin and polyphenols also act as emollients, working alongside other fatty acids to soften the skin and soothe irritation caused by dry, flaky skin.

2. Relieves eczema-affected skin…

The exact cause of eczema remains unknown, and a complete cure has yet to be discovered. Typically, eczema treatments aim to alleviate its chronic symptoms, which include skin dryness, itchiness, and inflammation. Shea butter, as we’ve established, serves as the ideal moisturizer, deeply penetrating the skin to maintain hydration and alleviate dryness, cracked, and itchy skin. Additionally, Shea butter’s anti-inflammatory properties help address the issue of inflammation.

3. Has anti-ageing effects (Collagen boosting, cell regeneration and antioxidant properties)

To understand how anti-aging agents work, we must first comprehend collagen. Collagen is the skin’s natural protein responsible for firmness and elasticity, key factors in maintaining youthfulness. Anti-aging agents also promote cell regeneration, allowing the skin to repair and rejuvenate itself. Antioxidants play a vital role in countering skin aging. Various factors can produce free radicals in the body, causing collagen breakdown and hindering natural skin repair, leading to fine lines, sagging skin, and acne. Antioxidants neutralize these free radicals, protecting the skin from damage and slowing down the aging process. Shea Butter acts as a collagen booster, a stimulus for cell regeneration, and an antioxidant all in one. Vitamins A and E serve as collagen boosters, cell regeneration agents, and antioxidants, while Cinnamic Acid Esters double as cell regeneration accelerators and antioxidants. Other Shea butter components contributing to its anti-aging benefits include Allantoin, promoting cell regeneration, and Oleic Acid (Omega 9), with antioxidant properties.

4.  Reduces Acne…

Acne is a common result of clogged skin pores filled with sebum, pollutants, and dead skin, causing inflammation and redness. Surprisingly, Shea Butter can effectively prevent or significantly reduce acne, particularly in hormonal acne cases. Firstly, Shea butter is non-comedogenic, ensuring it doesn’t clog pores. Its components like Stearic Acid, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and Vitamin F act as natural cleansers, removing dirt, sweat, and excess sebum to keep pores clean and unclogged. Moreover, Vitamin A and Vitamin E regulate skin oil production, preventing pore blockage. Vitamin A’s antibacterial properties inhibit germ formation, reducing the risk of future acne breakouts. Lastly, Shea butter’s potent antioxidants combat free radicals contributing to acne, making it an ideal solution for acne-prone skin.

5. Scar, Mark and Blemish Reduction…

When skin damage from acne, wounds, surgery, or stretching reaches the dermal layer beyond the epidermis, excessive collagen production results in uneven, bumpy texture and darkened scars. Shea butter addresses these issues differently. Its fatty acids, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E, known for their anti-inflammatory properties, reduce inflammation and improve skin texture. These same components, along with Cinnamic Acid Esters and Allantoin, control scar tissue production, soften it, and promote healthy cell regeneration. Shea butter also retains moisture around scars and marks, aiding natural healing. With its skin-lightening properties, Vitamins A and E help even out scar, mark, and blemish color, diminishing their visibility.

6.     UV Protection…

Cinnamic Acid Esters, along with Vitamin A and Vitamin E, enable Shea butter to offer some protection against the harmful effects of UV rays. While it may not fully replace your all-day or strong summer SPF protection, Shea butter can serve as a natural alternative for milder sun exposure and shorter durations.


Contrary to common belief, the color of Shea butter is not a reliable indicator of its type or quality. Shea butter can exhibit various colors, ranging from ivory to grey, yellow, or green, depending on factors like the season, region, and nut maturity. What truly categorizes and defines the quality of Shea butter is the number of treatments and processes it undergoes. Depending on the extraction method and refinement processes, Shea butter can be categorized as Raw, Unrefined, Refined, or Ultra Refined. It’s essential to understand the extraction process as it determines whether the butter is organic or inorganic.

1. Traditional Extraction 

The process of obtaining Shea butter begins with drying the kernels from inside the Shea tree fruit and removing the outer shell. Next, the nuts are ground, roasted, and mixed with water to create a paste. This paste is boiled for several hours until the fresh Shea butter naturally rises to the surface. The floating butter is then carefully collected and set aside to settle. This authentic and ancient method of Shea butter extraction produces raw organic butter.

2.  Cold Press Extraction

An alternative to the traditional process is the relatively modern cold-press method, enabling mass production without compromising the quality of raw Shea butter. This method offers advantages such as reduced time and effort. The process involves using an expeller to crush the nuts, followed by roasting and pressing them against a metal press to extract the butter. Because no chemicals are involved in this extraction method, the resulting product is also organic raw butter.

3.  Chemical Extraction

To further speed up the extraction process, the paste of roasted nuts is mixed with a solvent such as n-hexane or ether. The mixture is left untouched for a few hours till the fat separates. The separated fat is then scooped out and allowed to set giving what we know as inorganic Shea butter. Even though this method requires the least time and effort, the Shea butter quality is affected in some ways based on the type of solvent used. 

Coming to the types of Shea butter…

1.  Raw Shea Butter…

The common misconception about Shea butter is that all raw butter is organic. However, this is not accurate. Whether Shea butter is organic or not is determined by the extraction process. Typically, butter produced using the traditional method and the cold-pressed method is organic, but sometimes certain chemicals are used to expedite the process, resulting in inorganic butter. Organic raw butter typically exhibits colors like ivory or yellow (though it can also have grey or green tones), possesses a strong smoky and nutty aroma, may contain a few impurities in the form of kernel peels, and is at its most beneficial state. It is usually more costly compared to inorganic or refined varieties.

2. Unrefined Shea Butter…

This is the same as raw butter in terms of the extractions process, healing capacity, odour and colour, just minus the impurities. The organic raw butter is melted and filtered using a cheesecloth to remove any remnants of the nut cover and shell. Given that the quality and authenticity of the butter is maintained, it ranges in the same price range as the organic raw butter. 

3.  Refined Shea Butter…

Refined Shea butter is what you get when the raw Shea butter (organic or inorganic) is bleached, deodourised and/or processed with other chemical treatments. Typically odourless and white in colour, refined Shea butter has often been filtered through at least one meshing system. Although, this kind still works as the perfect moisturiser, other healing properties are compromised due to loss of nutrients. Refined shea butter is also relatively cheaper. 

4. Ultra-Refined Shea Butter…

When raw Shea butter is put through more than one process of mesh filtering, the resulting butter is ultra-refined. Like refined butter, this one too is bleached and deodourised. The additional treatment, however, results in further loss of nutrients making this Shea butter fit to be a mere moisturizer. This is the most common form of Shea butter used in various cosmetic skin and hair care products and is by far, the cheapest variant. 

All Shea butter XO body and face butter blends are created with organic, unrefined Grade A (highest quality) Shea butter sourced ethically from a small-scale, fair trade supplier in Ghana, West Africa. However, if you have a strong dislike for the smokey, nutty odour, we do offer some blends with refined white butter too. 


Naturally, the raw Shea butter has a creamy texture but it is relatively hard. Even though it melts at body temperature, the firmness of the butter makes it difficult and time-consuming to rub it evenly into the skin. It is for this reason that Shea butter is often mixed with other oils to either improve its texture making application easy or optimise its healing effect based on specific skin conditions. Here’s where melting comes into the picture. Shea butter is first melted, then mixed with required oils, poured into containers and set aside to cool. Enriched with essential oils and/or other ingredients, your Shea body butter is now ready. 

Despite its relatively creamier texture, some people still find the hardness unflattering and prefer to have an airy, fluffy texture like any other moisturising cream. This is when another step is added to the process. Instead of pouring the melted blend into a jar, the liquid blend is whipped and then poured into jars to get the desired texture. The whipped butter, however, hardens over a couple of years due to certain external factors, temperature being the primary one. 

Given the additional time and effort that goes into making a whipped blend, it is often more expensive than the regular melted one.

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