Shea butter is awesome at sealing in moisture, making it great for dry or rough skin. If you’ve seen the bottom of my runner’s feet, you’d know I need this BAD. Now Foods’ natural shea butter has a rich, luxurious texture. Shea butter is a fat extracted from the nut of the African shea tree. Another one of the most popular and well known body butters, shea butter is high in vitamins a, e and f, provides collagen (to assist prevention of skin aging & wrinkles), and contains essential fatty acids. Unrefined shea butter will have a noticeable nutty aroma with a creamy faintly yellowish color. You can apply this directly to your skin, or choose to combine it with other ingredients in a skincare recipe, such as a DIY deodorant with great results.
This is an “intense” moisturizer, and I was blown away to discover you can even use this on your scalp for dry skin! (2) Another awesome fact about shea butter is that is has a natural SPF factor (of about 6) so it is a natural choice to incorporate into homemade sunscreen recipe. And, like other butters, it forms a natural barrier on the skin to keep moisture in, so it’s a great choice to apply either before or after sun exposure to keep your skin moisturized.
I have found that I really like to apply straight shea butter to the sides and soles of my feet in the summertime, especially after a trip to the beach. Sand and water have an extremely drying effect on my feet, to the point they will start to peel from dryness if I let it get to that point. So, I just don’t let that happen anymore. I slather on the shea butter and put socks on for a little while (or sometimes overnight), and it keeps my feet soft and moisturized. Shelf life: 1 year
Cocoa butter is another awesome moisturizer. It’s great for sensitive skin and can even improve the appearance of blemishes. Now Foods’ pure cocoa butter comes in its natural state, which means it’s solid as a brick at room temperature. Give it a little heat, and it will soften up and blend. Cacao (or cocoa) butter is an edible fat obtained from the cacao bean pod. One of the most popular and well known body butters, it is naturally high in vitamin E to help hydrate and soothe skin, and contains natural antioxidants. Because it is a fantastic thickening agent you will often find cocoa butter in lipsticks, lip balms, soaps and creams.
The texture tends to be creamy and yellowish in color and it has a heavenly light chocolate scent (1) and feels delicious on your skin. As always be aware of where you are purchasing from, but a high quality cocoa butter will be suitable for both cosmetic and culinary uses. There will naturally be little pieces of sediment that will appear on the surface once melted. If that is something you do not want in the overall texture of your recipe, you’ll want to strain thoroughly prior to combining with your other ingredients.
Cocoa butter can help combat my stretch marks and scar relief. Shelf life: 2 years
Mango butter comes from the kernals of the tropical mango tree. The texture and composition resembles shea and cocoa butter yet it contains more fatty acids making it a more intense moisturizer. This butter provides skin softness, soothing and moisturizing properties, and is a natural emollient. Mango butter tends to be rich, white in color with a mildly sweet scent and is hard at room temperature. (3)
Due to it’s texture it’s best to combine it with other butters or oils to make it more pliable for use on the skin, or if you are choosing to use it by itself it is best to warm and melt it a bit. Of the butters that I have and use, this is one of my newer ones so I have not yet played around with it in recipes yet. But I will say that I was recently given a lip balm made from mango butter which has become one of my favorite lip moisturizers. I have also read that you can melt it down and add it to your favorite hair conditioner to get extra moisture (this is something I need living in a dry climate in the Northeast US), which I plan to experiment with soon. Eek! So exciting! I love experiments. For now, I have been pleased with using it on my legs after shaving as a moisturizer as-is (it goes on easy in a warm bathroom, on warm, and moist skin). Shelf life: 2 years
Coconut oil is very versatile. It can be used to remove makeup, in candles, to cook and in body products. Natural coconut oil is rich in skin-friendly saturated fats. It’s smooth and leaves skin feeling silky. Now, the only reason I bring this up here is simply because every time I have researched butters, coconut oil inevitably comes up on the list. Although coconut oil is not an butter, it is a carrier oil and I discuss it in this detailed article, which I highly suggest you read. This is a go-to oil that you will find yourself using in many DIY skincare recipes, combining it with various butters mentioned here.
Olive oil is another powerhouse ingredient. It’s delicious on food and moisturizing on skin.
“How many people had to die before we realized that smoking actually causes cancer?” Anyone who has ever glanced at a lotion or shampoo bottle has probably noticed a mystifying array of multi-syllabic chemicals. We assume they’re safe enough to put on our bodies – but how much do we really know about the products we slather on each day? Consumer health advocates and some researchers have for years warned that at least some of those are unsafe. And they are trying to connect the dots between these intimately used products and some worrying and unexplained disease trends – particularly in women. “Cancer, infertility, allergies, ADHD, autism, thyroid issues are on the rise, and people can’t figure out why,” Known or suspected carcinogens like formaldehyde – found in some keratin hair treatments, body soap and nail polish – and coal tar – found in some hair dyes and shampoo – are of top concern in beauty products. So are heavy metals, like lead found in lipsticks and clay-based products, and endocrine-disrupting chemicals like parabens and phthalates, among others. Women use an average of 12 products a day – nearly 200 chemicals – according to a 2004 study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit environment and health advocacy group. Data on real-world chemical exposure is limited, and most safety assessments look at one chemical and one source at a time. But we are not using just one product. Our daily exposure can greatly outweigh what one company claim is a low dose in their product, which is why we should be concerned. So here are some natural haircare products for you to try at home so you have one less thing to worry about every day for you and your family.