Shea Butter (aka Butyrospermum Parkii Fruit) is obtained by pressing the seeds of the Karite Tree, which grows mainly in Africa. The process of extracting shea butter is labor intensive and involves separating, crushing, roasting, grinding, and collecting the butter from the seed and extracted oils. The color of shea butter varies depending on the region where the Karite trees were grown; it can range from yellow to beige in its unrefined state and is usually white if refined. Shea butter melts on contact with the skin, making it a great skin moisturizer.
I purchase unrefined shea butter from Bramble Berry. The shea butter is white and does not have a scent. It is cold pressed and physically decolorized using organic clays (diatomaceous earth) to remove color and impurities. The natural odor is removed using steam injection to blow off the volatile oils. They do not use any chemicals to process their shea butter. It absorbs well and has a thick smooth texture. I've used this in my lotion bars and whipped body cream recipes; I prefer the unrefined shea butter from Bramble Berry for my lotion bars because I use real unrefined beeswax and leave the bars unscented and the unrefined shea butter doesn't cover up the delicious sweet scent of the beeswax.
I received some unrefined organic shea butter from Cleopatra's Choice to review on my blog from Tomoson.com. It is an ivory color and has a unique nutty flavor. It is a fair trade product produced by woman farmers in Africa. It has a smooth creamy texture and absorbs into the skin quickly. Although I do not find the scent of the unrefined shea butter to be unpleasent, it is strong and hard to cover up if you want your body care products to smell only of the essential oils that you are using in the product. I do love that this shea butter is fully organic and I frequently just take some out of the tub and rub it on my skin. I love using Cleopatra's Choice shea butter because I know that it is fair trade, organic, and healthy for both the environment and my body.
I have used both types of shea butter in both my hard lotion bars and whipped body cream and the only different that I have noticed is the scent and the color of the finished products.
Shea Butter Recipe Round Up
Click on the photo to go to recipe
Note: I have not personally tried all these recipes. Pictures belong to the original posting blog.