Raw (Unrefined) Shea Butter in Hand-Crafted Soaps


January 23, 2018

by Jini Li

          Raw unrefined shea butter in soap is magical. Made from the nuts of the Vitellaria paradoxa (updated from the old species name, Butyrospermum parkii”, also called Shea tree, Karite tree or Mangifolia tree) trees, raw unrefined shea butter gives you all the cleansing action desired in a soap along with the superior moisturizing properties of its rich unsapponifiable compounds (compounds that do not turn into soap during the soap crafting process) (Hemat, 2003). Soap hand-crafted using raw unrefined shea butter disinfects the skin without stripping away moisture and leaves the skin nourished and supple.

          The effective moisture-retaining properties of soap made using buttery, rich raw unrefined shea butter deliver a gentle soap that provides antioxidants known to stop the effects of free radicals. Raw unrefined shea butter helps fill out wrinkles and improves skin elasticity by stimulating the production of collagen. It assists the skin’s natural healing functions (Akihisa, et all., 2010), making it the perfect soap to use on areas that are irritated or inflamed, but in need of some tender loving care.

Some Raw Unrefined Shea Butter Facts:

  • Contains the following fatty acids: 40-60% oleic acid, 20-50% stearic acid, 3-11% linoleic acid, 2-9% palmitic acid, <1% linolenic acid, and <1% arachidic acid (Davrieux et. all., 2010).
  • Vitamins A and E help repair skin damage and strengthen the skin.
  • Fungicidal properties of raw unrefined shea butter due to caffeic acid (an antioxidant) content (Bruce and Jong, 2006).
  • Triterpene ascetates and cinnamates in shea butter helps repel inflammation and tumors (Akihisa, et all., 2010).
  • Antimicrobial, antibacterial, and fungicidal properties of shea butter help fight off infection.
  • Shea butter does not clog pores.

References

Akihisa, T.; Kojima, N.; Kikuchi, T.; Yasukawa, K.; Tokuda, H.; Masters, E. T.; Manosroi, A.; Manosroi, J. (2010). Anti-inflammatory and chemopreventive effects of triterpene cinnamates and acetates from shea fat. Journal of Oleo Science. 59 (6): 273–80. doi:10.5650/jos.59.273PMID 20484832. Retrieved from: https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jos/59/6/59_6_273/_article

Bruce, C.C., Jong, H.K., (2006). Nuts’ New Alfatoxin Fighter: Caffeic Acid?. USDA AgResearch Magazine, 54 (10). Retrieved from: https://agresearchmag.ars.usda.gov/2006/oct/nuts

Davrieux, F., Allal, F., Piombo, G., Kelly, B., Okulo, J. B., Thiam, M., Diallo, O. B. & Bouvet, J.-M. (2010). Near Infrared Spectroscopy for High-Throughput Characterization of Shea Tree (Vitellaria paradoxa) Nut Fat Profiles. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 58, 7811-7819. Retrieved from: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf100409v

Hemat, R. A. S. (2003). Principles of Orthomolecularism. Urotext. p. 160. ISBN 9781903737057. Retrieved from: https://books.google.com/books?id=ED_xI-CEzFYC&lpg=PA160&dq=shea%20butter&pg=PA160#v=onepage&q=shea%20butter&f=false