Shea butter is incredibly rich. A panacea for dry-skin sufferers, a little shea little goes a very long way. With a natural SPF of 6, it also helps protect skin from damaging UV rays.
Indeed, unrefined shea is a wondrous ingredient, aside from moisturizing skin and helping protect it from the sun, shea butter stimulates collagen and restores skin’s elasticity—all without the use of synthetic chemicals. Shea butter is also non-comedogenic, meaning that it won’t clog your pores, so it’s safe to use on breakout-prone areas. In fact, it may help soothe them. Shea fruit grows on the Karite tree, which is found only in the Sahel region of Africa.
Shea Yeleen began as a Peace Corps project and grew into an international company that aims to empower women in sub-Saharan Africa via women-owned co-ops while providing customers with finely crafted shea products. Shea Yeleen harvests shea butter using traditional methods in order to preserve the healing properties of unrefined shea. Shea Yeleen is available online and at select Whole Foods Markets.
I was delighted to sample some of Shea Yeleen’s products. Although it’s been fairly warm and humid where I live, I’m always up to moisturize! Even though my skin hasn’t been particularly “thirsty” lately, the shea butter moisturizers absorbed easily into my skin, and I wasn’t left feeling too oily. Here’s a more in-depth look at some of the goodies Shea Yeleen has to offer:
Lavender Honeysuckle Body Butter: Made with a blend of skin-nourishing oils, Shea Yeleen’s body butter is ultra creamy—an ideal option for anyone with dry skin looking for an everyday moisturizer. Blended with shea butter, olive oil, and sunflower oil, this body butter is rich in fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins A (in the form of beta-carotene), E, and F. The scent is lightly floral and very uplifting.
Pro tip: After a soothing hot bath, pat skin dry and slowly massage body butter into skin, spending extra time on areas that feel tense (like shoulders and lower back). Take deep breaths, and allow the calming scent of lavender and honeysuckle to relax you.
A jar of pure shea butter is really a must in any natural beauty’s arsenal. It’s so versatile and can be used alone or mixed into any number of DIY recipes (shea butter & sugar lip scrub, anyone?). Shea Yeleen follows traditional shea nut farming practices to ensure that it’s shea butter retains its skin-loving properties. Aside from helping prevent pre-mature aging, shea butter may also soothe sore muscles and joint pain. Think of shea as a universal skin comforter.
Pro tip: Scoop a small amount of body balm onto fingertips and massage onto extra dry areas, like elbows and knees. For a spa experience, apply to feet then immediately put on soft cotton socks to lock in moisture. Wear socks for at least a few hours while you sip tea and read a good book.
In my book, you can never have enough natural, handmade soap. It makes an excellent gift and is a bathroom sink staple (at least in our apartment). Shea Yeleen’s shea butter soap is also made with coconut oil and sunflower oil. Both are rich in vitamin E and leave skin gently cleansed, not overly dry. The scent is floral, woodsy, and deeply calming.
Pro tip: Keep a bar of shea butter soap in your travel kit. It’s far, far healthier than any soap you’ll find in a hotel. When not in use, store in a dry place.
Shea Butter lip balm is crafted with a plethora of skin-softening ingredients, including cocoa butter, jojoba seed oil, olive oil, and raspberry seed oil. Unlike conventional lip products that contain alcohol (drying, hello!) and mysterious chemicals, a natural lip balm won’t give your lips the fake feeling of being moisturized only to leave them just as chapped as before. This lip balm is ultra silky and has made my lips pretty happy.
Pro tip: Keep shea butter lip balm in your purse for chapped lips or anytime you want to give your lips a pretty sheen. You can also use this balm to tame eyebrows!
Have you tried shea butter yet?
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Photos: Mary Hood