The Best Quality Unrefined Shea Butter on the Market.
Unrefined Shea Butter means raw, unprocessed, natural state, pure
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What Happens to Shea Butter after it has been extracted. Four main things happen to shea butter after it has been extracted. Refining, Bleaching, Deodorization & Degumming.
Refining: Sodium Hydroxide is mixed with the shea butter. Sometimes Sodium Hydroxide and Sodium Carbonate are mixed and added to the shea butter. This removes the free fatty acids from the shea butter. The phospholipids, proteins and minerals are removed by this process. Refining temperature is about 74 degrees.
Bleaching: In this process, important minerals are removed. The shea butter goes through an acid treated filter. Natural components and natural smells are removed. Bleaching temperature is about 110 degrees.
Deodorization: The natural smell and the natural minerals and vitamins of the shea butter are removed using steam and the exclusion of air during this process. Deodorization is at temperatures of 240-270 degrees. The shea butter which is now vitamin and mineral deficient as a result of this process is sometimes passed off as unrefined. Some justify this by saying that no external heat was applied to the shea butter.
Degumming: This removes protein compounds, complex carbohydrates if any, and the natural gums of the shea butter. Degumming also removes calcium, magnesium, iron and copper from the shea butter. This process is done at 60 degrees.
So understanding the difference between Unrefined Shea Butter and processed shea butter is very important for individuals interested in natural shea butter. Ask for samples especially if you are new to shea butter. As time goes on you will understand shea butter and will be able to tell the differences.
Shea Butter Today
Today, shea butter is acknowledged all over the world for its nourishing, enriching and toning properties for skin & hair. Like every good product, traditional African shea butter has been dissected into refined, processed, industrialized, extra refined, ultra refined and a muddle of other names.
The commercial method of extracting shea butter has also added to the perplexity of shea butter. In most circles, shea butter is used as an ingredient in soaps, shampoos, conditioners, hair relaxers, lotions, hand & body creams etc. There is nothing wrong with using shea butter as an ingredient. As long as it is unrefined shea butter and the portions in the product is generous. It is important to preserve the ancient methods of shea butter. Shea Butter is nature's wonder.
The Shea Tree
The Shea Tree cannot be cultivated. It blooms from June to July and bears dark green fruits which fall to the ground when ripe. Each fruit contains a nut with a hard white kernel which is the source of the Shea Butter. Before the Shea Nuts are collected to prepare shea butter, a prayer is said. This has been the practice for centuries in Ghana. The prayer is simply to thank mother nature for providing the shea tree. And also to show respect for collecting the shea tree's fruit.
Shea Butter Traditionally
Extracting Shea Butter by Pressing
This method is used by many African women these days because it helps them organize and produce more shea butter in less time. It does not involve any chemicals. It is simply a faster way of extracting without compromising the pure unrefined shea butter. This process cuts at least 3-5 hours off the traditional extraction time.
Extracting Shea Butter using Solvent
Traditional uses of Shea
Despite its popularity today, traditional uses of shea butter are being preserved because a vast number of people in Africa and elsewhere around the world are using African shea butter for its intended purposes. In some households, shea butter is used to prepare dishes. Many people from all walks of life have used unrefined African shea butter for their skin & hair. They have experienced the benefits of shea butter first hand.
The Bottom Line
UNREFINED SHEA BUTTER:
Hard, green or some awkward color, smells bad, mixed with various
TYPES OF SHEA BUTTER: UNREFINED: Pure, straight from nature. REFINED: bleached but has some of it's original components intact. PROCESSED/INDUSTRIALIZED: Stripped of its natural components. Non natural components like hexane is added to yield more shea butter.
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Please Note:Information on this website is not a diagnosis for any disease, condition or disorder. All information is solely for general skin & hair uses. All advice and information about our natural products are based on centuries of history and the experiences of many groups of people in Ghana, United States & around the world who have used these natural products for decades.