Shea for Sensitive Skin

What is shea?

Shea butter is the nut oil of a Karite tree, with the Latin name of Vitellaria paradoxa but in East and West Africa, it is known by many names. In my native Sierra Leone, we call it Ori and it is used as a fat that we both eat and use for beauty.

What types of shea are there?

There are three main types of shea the first is the creamy firm one that we are all familiar with called Shea Paradoxa and that comes from West Africa. It is firm but softens once pressure is applied, it also melts into the skin easily and can be spread with relative ease.

The second was a revelation that comes from East Africa and is known as Shea Nilotica. It is softer in comparison to West African shea. It has a powdery feel that also melts with ease into the skin leaving it with the characteristic powdery feel.

The third and final type of shea is shea oil, which is the natural by-product of shea butter processing. As the shea nuts are boiled to release the fats within, shea oil is produced and skimmed off. All three forms of shea are rich in vitamins and minerals that are suitable for use on sensitive types.

What is shea used?

We (West Africans) traditionally use it as a food source and as a cheap and easily accessible moisturiser, especially by people ‘up country.’ I will be honest, most of us city folk see it as the poor man’s moisturiser, abandoning nature gold for Western cosmetics that are far less effective and far removed from nature. That is very much the human condition not to appreciate what we have direct and easy access to, but to admire and covert shiny new things wrapped in plastic, but I digress…

In commercial cosmetics, refined (processed to remove scent) shea butter is a favourite for baby and sensitive skin care and is used in all manner of products. It is extremely popular due to its versatility, it can be used on sensitive skin, mature skin, hair care products and everything in between. Shea butter is truly a golden product.

What is shea butter good for?

Keeping skin moisturised and protected from environmental damage. It is one of nature’s best emollients, meaning it locks in moisture on the skin, slowing down water loss and preventing dryness. For sensitive acne-prone types, shea oil is best as it too has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that calm redness and irritation, soothing flareups.

How does using shea benefit sensitive skin?

Rich in vitamins A and K it is excellent at aiding skin repair which is useful for sensitive skin which can sometimes be broken or damaged. Abundant in vitamin E, shea also helps skin maintain and retain smoothness and elasticity. On top of that, Shea also has natural UVA protection from the sun, making it useful against sun damage, premature ageing and post-inflammatory inflammation.

Shea for sensitive skin.

If you have sensitive skin shea is one of the most gentle and calming moisturisers you can use. We have a selection of unscented and untextured shea butter bars that are safe to use on babies and children of all ages, because they are so gentle and non-reactive.

bar soap for sensitive skin
Unscented Shea Butter Bar for sensitive skin

How to use shea on sensitive skin.

  1. Use a moisturising shea butter bar from our sensitive collection.
  2. Use a sapo sponge or your hands to build a rich lather and apply all over your body from your face to your toes.
  3. Wash off with warm water (avoid hot water)
  4. Pat dry, remaining a little moist.
  5. Apply your lotion to your damp skin.
  6. Immediately after, apply a generous amount of our Shea Magnifique Body Oil (be careful not to slip)
  7. If required, follow with our whipped butter for extra protection and moisture.

Concerns about Shea for sensitive skin.

You can be sensitive to shea butter as with all oils and fats. Always do a patch test before committing a product to your entire body. Shea butter has a protein in it that is similar to proteins found in latex so if you have a latex allergy, it is best to avoid it. Other than that, be generous.


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