Handmade Shea Butter Soap
Shea Butter Soap is made up of several components (Lupeol,beta-Amyrin, Vitamin A, and Cinnamic Acid) that have been shown to be effective in reducing the loss of skin elasticity through regular use.
A side note, Lupeol is being investigated as a potential agent used to fight pancreatic cancer as well (Saleem et al 2005, OxfordPress)
Shea Butter offers some UV protection but not much (spf 3-4). Good as a daily protection against incidental sun exposure. It is often used to treat a variety of conditions including skin cracks, dry skin, chapped lips, eczema, and dermatitis.
Now I’m no doctor, but I can attest to its healing effects for dry skin and chapped lips.
Warning: If you are allergic to latex, you will want to do a small patch test before you slather shea butter all over. Like all new products used on or in the body, Shea butter should be tested on a small area of skin before heavy use. Shea butter contains natural latex and while most people with a latex allergy can safely use Shea butter products, it is always best to use caution for your first time.
The Shea Tree grows on the savannahs of central Africa (see map below).
The Shea Fruit consists of a thin nutritious pulp that surrounds an oil rich seed from which the shea butter is extracted. If you are into scientific nomenclature like I am (since I'm a Biologist by degree), then the genus species name is: Vitellaria paradoxa. The Shea Tree species more common to the Eastern side of Africa is Vitellaria nilotica.
Shea butter is a favorite among soapmakers. It's typically used in small amounts (5-7% of the oils in the recipe). Shea butter is a complex fat that contains many non-saponifiable components (cannot be fully converted into soap.)
Therefore the Shea Butter leaves a small amount of oil in the soap, which seals moisture into the skin after washing.
Shea Butter soap stays good on the shelf for about 18 months.
You can by Shea Butter online (Search Google: Purchase shea butter) as well as at your local Nutrition and Health stores.
Here is a simple recipe to make wonderfully soothing
Shea Butter and Almond Soap
- 2 cups All-natural Castile soap
- 1 cup Distilled water
- 2 tbsp all-natural, unprocessed, raw shea butter
- 1 tbsp of finely grated almonds
- A double boiler, or a small pot that can be placed inside of a bigger pot
- Small plastic containers (these will serve as molds for the soap)
- Mixing spoon
- Drying rack
Begin by boiling some tap water in a double boiler or big pot. Grate 2 cups of castile soap and add to the double boiler with a cup of distilled water.
Melt this over medium-high heat, until the soap is completely stringy and melted when you pull it up with the spoon.
Note: For a faster melt time, use your microwave, however the double boiler is preferable as it avoids loss of the natural castile soap consistency.
Remove mixture from heat and add the shea butter and almonds. Stir until mixture is well blended, and then pour this into the plastic food containers. Let this harden and dry for several hours. Pop the Shea butter soap out of the plastic container and place on a drying rack. Allow the Shea butter soap to set for 3 weeks. Turn the bar throughout the day to prevent warping. Then preserve them by wrapping them in plastic wrap until your next bath.
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