Just like natural oils have their own unique properties, natural butters do also. As I mentioned in the previous post, I am a little OCD. So on my computer right now, I have a nice *little* spreadsheet that contain 57 natural oils and 8 natural butters along with their unique properties.
Today we are going to look at 4 butters: Cocoa, Kokum, Shea, and Sal.
Cocoa butter, also called theobroma oil or theobroma cacao, is a pale-yellow, pure, edible vegetable fat extracted from the cocoa bean.
Cocoa butter is widely noted to help reduce stretch marks. Many of you probably used one form or another, when you were pregnant. But besides reducing stretch marks, cocoa butter is often recommended for treatment of skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis. It is also a great moisturizer for sensitive skin and provides a barrier between your sensitive skin and the environment while retaining needed moisture. It is high in fatty acids and hydrates skin deeply.
Cocoa butter is also high in antioxidants which help fight off free radicals. Free radicals have destructive capabilities and can do a number on your skin causing it to age more quickly.
Cocoa butter has a very distinct smell. Some find it very pleasing, some do not. It also is a rather hard natural butter. It does melt at skin temperature, but when measuring it out for uses such as body butter, it takes some chipping away at it with a sharp object to get it broken apart. Body butters made with cocoa butter tend to be more firm due to the nature of it at room temperature.
Shea butter is extracted from the nuts of the Shea tree (Butyrospermum parkii).
Shea butter is known to be a skin superfood. It is high in antioxidants which fight free radicals that damage your skin. It is contains nutrients such as essential fatty acids, vitamin E and D, provitamin A, phytosterols and allantoin. These nutrients have been known to aid in eczema, dermatitis, blemishes, wrinkles, burns and stretch marks. Shea butter is also known to be anti-inflammatory, ultra hydrating, deep moisturizing and extremely protective. Because of these characteristics, shea is a perfect moisturizer for sensitive skin.
Shea butter has even been known to help with common muscle aches and pains from working out or playing hard.
It protects and moisturizes skin from weather conditions, from harsh winter winds to summer sun exposure.
Shea has a distinct, mild, nutty scent if you get it unrefined. And depending on personal preference some may say it has a greasy feel while rubbing it in.
Sal butter is extracted from the seeds of the Sal tree (Shorea robusta). It contains high levels of stearic, oleic fatty acids and uniform triglycerides; therefore, has excellent emollient properties and softens skin. It aids in relieving dry, itchy, chapped skin (and lips), eczema and dermatitis. It is great to use on rough patches such as the bottoms of you feet or calluses on your hands. It provides a natural skin barrier, which aids in decreasing moisture loss. Sal butter also aids in relief of sunburned skin.
Similar to cocoa butter, it does melt at skin temperature, but when measuring it out for uses such as body butter, it takes some chipping away at it with a sharp object to get it broken apart. Body butters made with sal butter tend to be more firm due to the nature of it at room temperature. It works well in salves and chapstick.
Kokum butter is derived from the seeds of the Kokum tree (Garcinia indica) in India. It is also known as the wild mangosten tree or the red mangosten tree. It contains oleic, palmitic and stearic acid along with other beneficial compounds that have wonderful emollient and regenerative properties, perfect for damaged and inflamed skin. It also provides a healing barrier for dry and chapped skin. It softens skin and restores elasticity and is an excellent balm for dry, cracked, rough, and calloused skin.
Kokum butter is an extremely hard butter. Just like cocoa and sal, it does take a little bit of elbow grease to get it broken apart to use. Because of this, it is perfect for balms and salves. Blend with a softer butter for body butter applications.
When you are looking for and purchasing natural butters, I recommend organic and unrefined when available to assure you are getting all of the wonderful benefits nature has to offer.
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